There’s more than one way to blow a trumpet, and the (figuratively) innumerable players at Roulette in Brooklyn accounted for many of them Wednesday night. While Tuesday’s performance at the same venue was the first in the 2013 Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT), this second concert was much more frank in its orientation, putting the instrument and its idiomatic style directly in the spotlight.

The final piece on the program was the uncontested star of the evening. Henry Brant’s Flight Over a Global Map, a truly massive work for 52 trumpets, piano and percussion, was premièred in a new “chamber” arrangement (!) that evening – the original piece is scored for 100. While probing the limits of what brass timbre can accomplish, the music never strayed too far, or lingered too long, from the emphatic phrases and gestures of fanfare that one might probably expect from such an overwhelming force.

On the subject of sensational groupings of identical instruments, heavily subdivided ensembles are not a new thing – though they are fairly uncommon for brass instruments. The 20th-century Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, for instance, famously used string parts divisi down to the level of the individual player. Brant drew enough sonic variety out of the small groupings of trumpets placed throughout the stage, floor, and balcony to keep any “experimental” orientation from sapping the energy of the piece.

The formal outlines of Flight, including straightforward episodic interjections by orchestral bells and piano, were often more salient and audible than the emotional force of the music, unfortunately. However, the vicarious joy of watching a horde of trumpet players blast their hearts out was more than enough to cover any disappointment at not hearing Beethovenian pathos or Webernian subtlety. Indeed, the sheer massiveness of the music gave a kind of fun that one suspects would be cast as a gimmick by uncharitable listeners. Luckily, that was not the attitude of the full crowd Wednesday – excitement, not cool judgment, was the theme of the experience.

The role of the conductor, prominent in both the improvisations in Tribute to Lawrence D “Butch” Morris as well as Flight Over a Global Map, wound up being an object of contemplation with very different ramifications for the two major pieces. The conductor often acts most prominently as a performative listener, a model to guide the audience’s experience of music. This is in addition to his/her typical role in leading the ensemble by marking time and guiding the musicians with visual cues. Flight required two conductors (Neely Bruce and Amanda Weber) to get into the visual fields of all 52 players; Ms Weber was effectively out of sight in the center section of the balcony. The effect of this was to give the audience some surprises – some calls originated unexpectedly, and some responses went on longer than I thought they would. An interesting experiment in the outer limits of antiphonal labyrinths, this aspect echoed John Zorn’s Antiphonal Fanfare for the Great Hall, which began the evening with a six-part fanfare cascading in a ring around the balcony.

J.A. Deane, in performing what he has dubbed his Conductions for the Tribute, gave an almost completely different impression of the act of conducting. He performed with a large chamber ensemble consisting of four trumpet players (including Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet and Stephanie Richards doubling on flugelhorn), and made it a point to bring himself fully about to address each player as he gave them hand signals for how to proceed. He was using a baton that must have been at least 16 inches long, which only added to his estimable presence on stage for both the performers and the audience. The improvisational dimension of the piece, in particular, visually centered Tribute on the power dynamic between performers and conductor. In this case, it almost made more sense to close one’s eyes than to try and follow the communication process between the three guitars, four trumpets, and drum kit.

As the FONT series continues, the question of timbre will linger, as it does over new music for wind instruments in general. The longevity and strength of this particular festival bodes well for the future of such questions.