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The Robert Minter Collection: A Handlist of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Trumpet Repertory

Trevor Herbert

Some background to the collection

The principal aims in compiling the handlist have been to identify the sources of the works that Minter compiled and to provide enough information about them to facilitate easy access to the primary sources. Minter’s approach was not entirely systematic – it was, to a large extent, expedient: he accumulated facsimiles of manuscripts in places where his travels took him, and because he travelled widely in Europe he encountered sources not just in the large national libraries and archives but also in less prominent places.

Though Minter was something of a dilettante (in the literal sense), he had close relationships with most of the leading performers and other experts who were interested in what became known as ‘historically informed performance’ (HIP) of music of the baroque and classical periods.  Indeed, there is more than a little anecdotal evidence that before he was out of his twenties Minter was regarded as an expert on trumpet repertoire, and his advice was sought by the very experts who had provided him with the grounding of his knowledge. By the time of his death he had already contributed to the understanding of the repertoires in which he specialised, and it is possible that his collection of facsimiles of trumpet music was as large as any. The information contained in the present handlist continues to be an important secondary source for all who are interested in the trumpet in the earlier part of its history as an instrument of western art music.

Two related background themes probably conditioned Minter’s approach: the history of the trumpet as it was then understood from the mid-1960s until the time of his death; and the various issues and motivations that were generated by the so-called ‘early music revival’.


Eighteenth century trumpeter   transcription by Robert Minter