This is the third of what Linn describe as a “series of works
‘re-imagined’ for solo trumpet – an imaginative and thrilling interpretation
of Baroque works.” As SFV says, in his review
of the second of them, La Trompette Retrouvée (CKD294),
“Your feelings about the program may well depend simply on how
you like this sort of transcription.” I must admit that I approached
the idea of trumpet and piano in seventeenth-century music – the
antithesis of modern period performance – with some trepidation.
The cover shot features a pixellated photo of a trumpet – would
the performances be similarly distorted by the use of the piano?
In the event most of my fears were allayed by the sheer exuberance
and quality of the playing.
The music on the second volume ranged over the
centuries from Rameau (b.1683) to Reynaldo Hahn (d.1947). The
works on this third disc are much less diverse, being confined
to the seventeenth century.
Some may prefer the diversity of the earlier recording
but I welcome the narrower confines here – though, as JF-A points
out in the very detailed notes, there is much diversity within
this period: Catholic and Protestant voices, regional dialects,
etc. To this I add that there is a wide variety of moods here
– it’s not all jolly japes. The final piece, Muffat’s Sonata
no.5, by far the longest piece, encompasses almost the full
gamut of those moods within the movements of the one piece.
There is also a great deal of ‘borrowing’ of styles, too, between
the Catholic Gabrielli and Monteverdi and the Protestant Schütz
The six different trumpets employed for this recording
add to that variety, ensuring that each piece is played in an
Most of the music is transcribed from organ pieces
and these, as expected, sound well in their new dress. Louis
Marchand and François Couperin get the programme off to an excellent
start, in breath-taking performances that typify the whole recording.
The Iberian organs of the period were renowned for their cornetto
stops, so the Cabanilles and Arauxo pieces work especially well.
The Gabriellis were, of course, renowned for their wind canzone,
which means that the canzon by Giovanni also works very
Surprisingly, the arrangement of vocal music also
works well – I particularly enjoyed the realization of Monteverdi’s
Laudate Dominum. I almost called this a transcription,
but it is much more, hence my choice of the word ‘realisation’.
Like everything here it’s played with a consummate skill that
few vocal interpreters could match.
Sweelinck’s well-known variations on Onder een
linde groen are themselves an arrangement of a folk song,
so there can be no possible objection to the foot-tapping realisation
of that piece here. On the other hand, you might be hard put
to recognise Luther’s Ein feste Burg as underlying the
I’ve already described the notes as very detailed
– no need for me to chase up dates of the pieces included here,
they’re all included. Those notes are very generously reproduced
on Linn’s website, so you can check them out before buying.
The recording sounds excellent as a CD, but audiophiles
will welcome the SACD layer. Real connoisseurs may even prefer
the Studio Master versions (FLAC and WMA formats) available
as downloads from Linn for £18. Otherwise, the price of the
SACD comes midway between that top quality version and mp3 at
£8.00, with CD quality downloads at £10.00. The Linn web page
is very user-friendly – very similar to Gimell, who also offer
a range from mp3 to Studio Quality. I can’t speak for the quality
of any of these options, but I see no reason to look beyond
the physical SACD.
As usual, a short review betokens high praise.
I’ve already put aside my objections to the piano in seventeenth-century
music in recommending Stephen Gutman’s Toccata CD of Rameau
(TOCC0050 – see review);
now I happily do so again. This recording, like Gutman’s, captures
the spirit if not the letter of the period. I’ll get my licence
as a member of the society of opponents of non-period performances
revoked at this rate.
I cannot imagine any but the most die-hard members
of that society objecting to this new recording. In fact I
had to take a deep breath: I nearly went for broke and nominated
it Recording of the Month – it’s the most cheerful sound
I’ve heard for a long time.