Warming Up

Warming Up

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Happy 420, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let’s celebrate with our good friend, Russian virtuoso Sergei Nakariakov. Fellow Philly trumpet player Stan Slotter kept talking to me one day about Nakariakov: “Man, you gotta get some Nakariakov.” Stan kindly burned a CD for me (Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme), and now I’m on a Nakariakov kick. The guy is a monster trumpet player. And he has been for years – and yet he is only 33 years old!

There are a bunch of Nakariakov videos on YouTube. Most of the repertoire that Nakariakov has recorded is of the Haydn, Mozart, Hummel, Artunian variety. He has recorded some pieces that were originally written for other instruments (cello, violin, bassoon). Performing these on trumpet/flugelhorn is obviously quite difficult because of the limitations of the trumpet. But the trumpet is clearly limitless for Nakariakov. His tonguing, flexibility, and finger dexterity are frightening. But that technical stuff, while impressive in its sheer brilliance, doesn’t really impress me in and of itself. What I enjoy most about Nakariakov is his interpretations, how he makes music and emotion out of the technical stuff. His use of air through the horn is just amazing. Check out how he shifts his air on the insane passage at the 6:38 mark in his version of Arban’s Carnival of Venice. The alternating low notes pop out at a completely different volume and attack than the turns an octave above. But these changes are occurring at a staggering quick pace. And they are perfect. This is so hard to do. I don’t generally like this piece all that much, but Nakariakov makes music out of all of those notes. Talk about a downstream player! That bell is almost in the ground!

Dig Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin in D Minor
(Check out 2:50!!!):

And here is Nakariakov playing flugelhorn on Haydn’s Cello Concerto – what a sound he gets on the flugel. Perfect intonation and such lyricism.

And here’s a somewhat bizarre effort by his record label (probably) to make Nakariakov seem like a well-adjusted, healthy, heterosexual young man, not some freakish and socially screwed up Wunderkind:

Check out Sergei Nakariakov: http://www.nakariakov.com/

Mr. Nakariakov, please do a tour in the US!