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Alexander ARUTJUNJAN (b.
Trumpet Concerto (1950) [15:11]*
May H BRAHE
Bless This House (1927) [3:05]
Stanley BLACK (1913-2002)
trs. Alan Catherall
Concertpiece for Cornet [6:37]
Torstein AAGAARD-NILSEN (b.
Concerto for Bb Cornet and Brass Band (1993) [16:24]
Blessed Assurance [5:07]*^
Marshall (cornet; trumpet*; Flugel horn^)
Black Dyke Band/Dr Nicholas Childs
rec. Morley Town Hall, June and July 2007. DDD
SERIES DOYCD230 [59:46]
is the third solo album from Richard Marshall, principal cornet
of the Black Dyke Band. It takes its title from the York Eminence
cornet that he and his colleagues at Black Dyke now play. As
good a solo disc as you will hear, it intersperses two concertos,
a couple of extended concert pieces for cornet and band and
some lighter tracks to make an attractive programme that wears
well with rehearing.
opens with the trumpet concerto by Armenian composer Alexander
Arutjunjan, whose music bears a close kinship to that of his
slightly older compatriot, Aram Khachaturian. If you like
the colour and fizz of a Khachaturian score, this trumpet concerto
with its spicy chromatic exoticism and sparkling runs will
certainly please. Marshall impresses here as much with his
lightness of touch as with his sheer virtuosity.
same lightness of touch makes Marshall's long-breathed Bless
this House a touching tribute to Willie Lang, who passed
away in 2006. Lang was a legend of the British musical establishment
and was not only one of Marshall's predecessors as principal
cornet of Black Dyke, but was for a number of years principal
trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra. Lang's famous
1940s recording of this piece was a best-seller in its day.
Black's standard, People, gets a great performance. Marshall
is on song here, tender in shaping the melody but unleashing
a Broadway belt tone from his trumpet at the climaxes that
would make Streisand proud.
Aagaard-Nilsen's cornet concerto is a powerful piece of concise
structure. It is tonal, but atmospheric and motivic rather
than tuneful. His musical language sits somewhere between
that of Philip Wilby and Kalevi Aho, and he certainly knows
how to colour a brass band score. He employs a battery of
percussion, mutes the cornet towards the end of the first movement
and often pits the soloist against single instruments or groups
of instruments. This is not a warm, feel-good piece of music,
but it is a satisfying and intriguing one that paints a lonely
landscape. Much solo writing for cornet and band is light
in tone and focuses on displaying the soloist’s skill. This
piece is, by contrast, a serious compositional essay which
demands that skill to make its case.
the Aagaard-Nilsen concerto are concert pieces by American
composers James Curnow and William Himes. Curnow's Concertpiece
for Cornet is characteristic of his writing, with busy outer
sections framing a tender tune, played with gentle lyricism
here. Himes' Jubilance is a cracker, weaving hectic,
argumentative and ultimately exuberant music around two songs
from the Salvation Army song book. It is cheeky in its tonal
ambiguity and syncopation, but Marshall and Black Dyke are
untroubled by its virtuosic demands. This piece can blaze
more, but performances that do so tend to miss the moments
of gentleness or fail to integrate them logically into the
musical argument. No such complaints here, and Marshall's
playing has ample character to carry you along.
Bulla's arrangement of Blessed Assurance is a lovely
closer for the disc. After all the flash and dazzle of Marshall's
virtuosity, his decision to conclude with this beautiful tune
and sentiment is apt, starting on a mellow Flugel and switching
to his brilliant trumpet for the rousing close.
Black Dyke and Dr Nicholas Childs support their principal cornet
with finely honed accompaniment. Doyen's production values
are also high, as we have come to expect. The recorded sound
is just about right and the CD booklet is well presented and
informative (the misspelling of Himes' Jubilance on
the back cover as "Jubliance" notwithstanding). Altogether
this is a very impressive and enjoyable album.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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