> Otto Sauter: World of Baroque Vol.III [CH]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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OTTO SAUTER: WORLD OF BAROQUE Vol. III
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)

Transcription in G after Concerto in G, RV 310, from "Líestro armonico", op. 3
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)

Transcription in B flat after Sonata in C, TV 41 C2 from "Der getreue Musik-Meister" P 13
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)

Transcription in D after Sonata in C, HWV 365, op. 1/7
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)

Transcription in G after Sinfonia in G
Robert VALENTINE (c.1680-c.1735) arr. THILDE Jean (1908-1978)

Transcription in D minor after Sonata in D minor
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713)

Transcription in E flat after Sonata in E, op. 5/11
Otto Sauter (piccolo trumpet), David Timm (organ). Transcriptions by Claude Rippas.
Rec. 26-28 March 2001, Waltershausen, Dtadtkirche "Zur Gotteshilfe"
EMI CLASSICS CDC 5 57222 2 [50.09]

I came to this immediately after a trumpet and organ disc (Pavane ADW 7281) by the "Duo AllíArmi", Alain Roelant and Jan Van Landeghem, which I enjoyed while protesting mildly that the source of the arrangements was not clearly declared. No complaints about that here.

Those who fancy a trumpet and organ disc but are not such specialist listeners as to get every one that comes out might be wondering which of the two to buy. Well, the principal difference is that Sauter plays on the trombino or piccolo trumpet, a high-pitched natural instrument which, in the days before the valve-trumpet, allowed players to ascend to the stratosphere using all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. Having occasionally accompanied players on this instrument I can vouchsafe that it is almighty hard to get properly in tune and under decent tonal control, and that the mellifluous virtuosity with which Sauter throws off strings of semi-quavers originally intended for far nimbler instruments is quite staggering, as is the evenness of his tone in the slow movements.

This, then, is the second difference between the two discs, that Sauter goes all out for a virtuoso programme. Another is that the "Duo AllíArmi" interpolates works for solo organ, and this, I feel, makes for a more interesting programme for the general listener. Like any very high instrument, such as the piccolo or the descant recorder, the trombino, however brilliantly played, can get wearing in large doses, and although this disc is some 25í shorter than it could have been, I nevertheless had to take the works two at a time with a strong espresso coffee in between. I kept wishing after a while that Sauter would reach for the "normal" trumpet or stand down and let the organist play something. In fact, the organ ranks so low in the CD plannersí priorities that we are told nothing about it except (in the notes) that it is a "wonderful Trost organ" and (on the cover) that it has a very pretty case, assuming the organ photographed is the one played (we arenít even told that). It certainly has a gorgeous flute stop. When I first heard it (in the Telemann first movement) I thought a real alto recorder had been brought in to duet with the trumpet. Less happy is Timmís idea of outdoing the soloistís stratospheric heights by using the two-foot flute stop on its own in the Scarlatti first movement, or the weird effect, in the Sarabande of the same piece, of using a weak eight-foot stop as a sort of ghostly doppelganger to a far stronger two-foot stop. I also objected to the organists brutally short chords in the Vivaldi second movement. The composer might have asked for staccato, but with a string orchestra it is a very different matter and here it sounds most unmusical, especially since the church used seems to have little or no reverberation to cover it over. The third movements of the Handel and Corelli works also emerge rather chunkily on account of the organistís apparent rejection of a legato touch.

The final difference, then, is that Roelant and Landeghem present themselves as a duo and sound like one, whereas Sauter and Timm seem a prima donna soloist with a discreet accompaniment. Probably the Valentine is the piece I enjoyed most, maybe because the minor key and the relative lack of stunning virtuosity brought a degree of contrast to the proceedings. Sauter is a fiendishly clever chap, no doubt about it, and his colleagues will go green with envy at what he can do, but itís the "Duo AllíArmi" that Iíd stir my stumps to go and hear if I saw them billed to play in my home town.

Christopher Howell


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