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Spin Trumpet
Michael T. OTTO

Der Erlkönig for Bb trumpet, speaker and piano
9 lustige Fanfaren und ein Lied for Bb trumpet (solo)
cafordenforca 1 for Flügelhorn solo
Calme for Flügelhorn and piano
Leon’s Cry for Trumpet and piano
Alp(en)traum for Didgeridoo, Shell and Flügelhorn
cafordenforca II for trumpet solo
Sotù for Didgeridoo and Shell
a simple evening song for Flügelhorn and piano
Michael T. Otto, Bb trumpet, flügelhorn, muschelhorn, didgeridoo; Claudia C. Otto, speaker; Andrea Grözinger, piano; Sepp Schlotter, techno play-a-long (sic); Peter Madsen, jazz piano
Recorded La salle de concert of the chateau Montfort Langenargen, February 2003
THOROFON CTH 2484 [53.21]

"Off the Wall" is the phrase that comes to mind. How many supposedly classical CDs do you encounter that begin with a cow mooing loudly to the accompaniment of bird-song, a burbling stream and a cheerful trumpet fanfare? Well, this one does, and the Fanfare der grünen Kuh (Fanfare of the Green Cow) which makes such an auspicious opening to this recording is succeeded by such gems as Unterwasser-Fanfare (Underwater Fanfare), Fanfare für den faulen Trompeter (Fanfare for the Lazy Trumpeter) and Fanfare der Leisen Spinne (Fanfare for the quiet spider), while track 6 – Fanfare for the Lazy Trumpeter Version C – is entirely silent, and dedicated, unsurprisingly, to John Cage.

This engaging load of nonsense brings to mind very much the tongue-in-cheek Berio of, for example, the trombone Sequenza. This very odd CD then progresses into slightly more extended pieces. A three-part treatment of Goethe’s Der Erlkönig (given as The Elf-king) follows, firstly for spoken voice, in full, then a humorously ‘potted’ version, and finally another abbreviation of the text with ‘descriptive’ music for trumpet and piano. Fairly hilarious, if your German is up to it!

And so it goes on; I confess that I eventually found the repertoire of slides and ‘funny’ noises became wearing. Otto is however a talented and unusual guy. He has taken the trouble of interspersing the more obscure utterances with some accessible and immediately enjoyable numbers. These include the bittersweet Calme or the faux-naïf Simple Evening Song that fills the last track.

This is a strange but actually quite attractive CD: it could, for example, provide highly atmospheric background music for a certain kind of drinks party. Whether that’s a recommendation or not I leave up to you; suffice it to say, I enjoyed it.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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