AAM SpotifySundays | with David Blackadder

A weekly ‘concert’ taken from the finest recordings in the extensive Academy of Ancient Music catalogue: join us each Sunday at 3pm on Spotify as we unveil a new playlist of music, personally chosen by AAM players, directors, soloists and guests.

Internationally-acclaimed soloist and AAM Principal Trumpet David Blackadder joined us Sunday 15 November 2020 to share his #SpotifySundays playlist.

David took up the trumpet aged nine following in the footsteps of his grandfather who was a bandmaster in the North East. After study at the Royal College of Music with Michael Laird and a season as guest principal trumpet with Scottish Opera, he joined the English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique as principal trumpet under Sir John Eliot Gardiner and also became principal trumpet with the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood.

In high demand as a soloist in concert venues around the world, David has performed and recorded many of the great trumpet masterpieces with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Jurowski, Trevor Pinnock, Franz Brüggen and Stephen Cleobury. He has also played and recorded new works specially composed for him by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir John Tavener, and recorded critically-acclaimed Handel arias with Reneé Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and Elin Manahan-Thomas.

David had the huge honour of performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018 to a live global audience of 1.9 billion viewers.

David’s most recent projects have been the formation of a new and unique group “The London Trumpet Choir” which will play choral music in four parts on SATB trumpets and as a music consultant, teacher and player for the latest album of royal music to be released by Alison Balsom.


When I first played for AAM back in 1988, Tony Halstead was the Principal Horn and I can remember feeling completely in awe of his playing. He made the most utterly beautiful sound, played with such character and frankly made the instrument sing with incredible lyricism and wit. Tony was also one of the most friendly and encouraging people you could ever wish to meet as a young professional and I simply love these recordings of the Mozart Horn Concertos he made with AAM and Chris Hogwood back in the 1990s.  I’ve chosen the fourth concerto as it really shows off the full range of character available on the Natural Horn using hand stopping to create colours which you simply just can’t get on a modern instrument. 

I’ve chosen this piece as it always sends shivers down my spine. It’s the most incredible piece of writing for a group of four flatt trumpets, an English instrument that was little used and is so called because it could play flattened harmonics using a backward double slide (a bit like a sackbutt or trombone in reverse)

On the day of this recording in King’s College Chapel with Stephen Cleobury I had a morning appointment with my solicitor to look at the deeds of a property that I was buying at the time. I couldn’t believe it when there in the folder was a deed of sale for an orchard where the property now stands from 1695, the very year that Purcell composed the Funeral Music for Queen Mary and also the year he died. The recording felt very special that day. 

Handel: Rinaldo, HWV7a/ Act 2: ‘Lascia ch’io pianga – Cecilia Bartoli, Christopher Hogwood

I remember talking to Cecila backstage during a rehearsal and she revealed that she had originally studied the trumpet and said that it had helped her with her breathing. That was a nice surprise! We were all totally in awe of her singing and her rendition of this famous aria is simply spine tingling. 

I love this recording of Handel’s Rinaldo, the first opera he wrote after arriving in London in 1711. He obviously wanted to impress King George and used four trumpets for the only time in his career. The singers are incredible and it was fantastic to play alongside Gerry Finley, David Daniels, Cecilia Bartoli and all the rest of the wonderful cast. 

JS Bach: Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV1047 – Richard Egarr

The Second Brandenburg Concerto is renowned as perhaps the most difficult piece in the trumpet repertoire  (a trumpeter’s graveyard some might say), but recording it with AAM and Richard Egarr was a very exciting prospect. The pitch was to be A392 which makes a huge difference to the trumpeter, making it easier to play delicately in the high register and with Richard’s usual unique and extremely encouraging approach it actually felt very enjoyable! 

Mozart: Serenade in D Major, K.320, ‘Posthorn’ – Christopher Hogwood

I’ve chosen Mozart’s ‘Posthorn’ Serenade as it reminds me of the birth of my daughter Florence who was born during the recording in 1995. It gives me a feeling of elation every time I hear it.

Chris Hogwood encouraged me not to be too refined in my posthorn playing and try to make it sound as rustic as I could. I think it must of worked as it was very nice to subsequently receive a call from him to let me know that the recording had won an award and to congratulate me on my rustic posthorn style. 

ENCORE: Duke Ellington: Cottontail

This track simply sums up the complete mastery of rhythm, ensemble and outrageous virtuosity. The lead trumpet player is the legendary Cat Anderson and I think only dogs can hear some of the notes he hits in this up-tempo version of this piece.