A brilliant musician in uniform

Whoever knows how to move as a trumpeter in the three-dashed octave is considered a rarity in the industry for this reason alone.

With Jonny Hartl even more abilities were added. He was widely regarded as a sought-after arranger for brass music, who also knew how to compose impressively himself. The archives of many brass bands are full of Hartl’s works, who was also a specialist for big bands.

It wasn’t easy for musicians when Jonny was their conductor, after all, he was distinguished by an absolute ear that located the wrong notes at the outset. The trumpet was Hartl’s instrument from childhood without ever having learned it in school. “He taught himself most of it,” says son Gerald Hartl, who has never heard of his father’s basic musical education.

Of course, music has always been a topic in the Hartls family. “Jonny already played in the Schleißheim chapel at the age of 13”, says the current chairman of the Musikverein, Hans-Peter Huber, “at the age of 15 he was the first trumpeter, at 17 he played all solos, 16 years later he was our bandmaster”.

Hartl trained as a tiler, but he did not practise this profession for long. He was fascinated by military music and stayed with the army. His last rank was that of the vice lieutenant. 318 arrangements for wind orchestra and various ensembles are officially registered, and Jonny often worked night after night to produce them, “without asking what overtime or money he would get for them,” says his colleague Lieutenant Josef Strasser.

After 40 years of dedicated work, Hartl had to leave military music in 2015 due to structural measures. This is a fact that may also have had an adverse effect on his health. When military music was on the rise again politically, Hartl couldn’t go back, his health was too bad in the meantime. Joint problems and a severe visual impairment severely restricted his ability to cope, most recently serious lung problems affected his life.

“He was bedridden the last time, there he liked to listen to the pieces he had arranged,” says his wife Christa. There are lots of recordings of them. Alois Hummer, a sought-after ORF sound engineer, confirms Hartl’s professionalism: “He was cozy, unagitated and certainly beaten below his value.”

Jonny’s modesty and humanity remain in many of his friends’ memories alongside his works. He leaves behind his wife Christa, his sons Gerald and Mario, as well as seven grandchildren.

Source: Bert Brandstetter, Upper Austria News

catalogue of works

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