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"DUO ALL’ARMI" – Baroque Music for trumpet and organ
Jeremiah CLARKE (1673-1707)

Suite in D*
Nicolaus BRUHNS (1665-1697)

Toccata in G
Girolamo FANTINI (+/-1600-?)

Sonatas*: 1 – "del Colloreto", 3 – "del Nicolini", 5 – "dell’Adimari"
Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616-1667)

Canzon III
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 539
Bonaventura VIVIANI (1638-1693)

Sonata no. 2*
Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)

Prelude in G minor, BuxWV 163
William BOYCE (1710-1779)

Vivace* from Suite of Trumpet Voluntaries
Alain ROELANT (trumpet)*, Jan Van Landeghem (organ)
Recorded 28-30 Sep, 7-8 Oct. 1992, St. Joseph’s Church, Sint Niklaas
PAVANE ADW 7281 [47.02]

 

Experience Classicsonline


If you enjoy hearing trumpet and organ sounding and resounding around a church, without too much concern for what is actually being played, then be assured that both players are secure and musical and the recording balances them in exemplary manner, homing in on the details of the organ’s passage work while not ignoring the church’s long reverberation period.

It’s a glorious sound and I could leave it at that. If, like me, you have the musicological bug and want to know what you’re listening to, then the notes, by Landeghem himself, are a little disingenuous. I have dutifully reproduced the title of the Boyce as given on the disc, but it turns out (as I suspected it would) to be an old friend, the quick movement from the composer’s first Organ Voluntary. This was written to show off the organ’s trumpet stop, to be sure, but Boyce might have been bemused at the idea of a real trumpet playing it, however splendidly. He might, too, have felt that his indication "Swell or Eccho" called for a lighter registration of the minor-key middle section. Similarly the Clarke Suite, of which we are told that "the original version was probably written for trumpet and a wind instrument ensemble". It turns out to be another string of "old familiar faces", one of them very familiar indeed, originally published as keyboard pieces, and this is the first time I have heard it suggested that this was not the composer’s intended form. On the other hand, much of it sounds pretty thin on a harpsichord and Clarke might have taken his own life a little less willingly if he had heard what a splendid sound his music could make. I should add that I have nothing whatever against arrangements, especially for a combination which, despite its obvious effectiveness, has inspired composers to write precious little original music for it; but I do expect sources and arrangers to be fully declared.

With the two Italian composers we have original music for the combination. Or at least, basically we do. As Landeghem tells us, the Fantini Sonatas "are of historical significance in that the trumpet is accompanied for the first time in the history of music by a figured bass. The organist was expected to improvise both the necessary harmonies and the counterpoint in the style of the period". He certainly enjoys himself no end doing that, as can be heard in the 5th Sonata with exuberantly enjoyable results.

Roelant plays, as far as I can tell, a modern trumpet, soaring into the upper reaches of the "baroque" range without apparent effort. The organ was brand new (1991) at the time of the recording, though based on an 18th Century model. For 17th Century music even a chamber-sized instrument of a century later offers ample opportunities for anachronism in the hands of an organist who likes the 16-foot stop and certain sections of the Bruhns, the Froberger and even the Bach suffer from overbearingly heavy registration. But Landeghem is an imaginative player (he is also a composer) whose zestful rhythmic articulation usually wins the day, not least in the Buxtehude where his natural exuberance matches the composer’s own.

Not a musicological experience, then, but a very enjoyable one. 47’02" might seem short measure but it is about the right length for an enjoyable programme from this combination – is it really such a good idea to jam-pack CDs up to 75+ minutes at all costs? (I know you don’t have to listen all at one go, but people tend to do so). And one can only be disarmed by the total unconcern for publicity shown by the whole team when the disc contains the most famous trumpet piece ever and neither cover nor notes make any reference to the fact. If you don’t know the title by which this is usually known, I shan’t tell you! .


Christopher Howell

 



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