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Facets. John Holt, trumpet. Music for solo and multiple trumpets. 
James WINTLE (b.1942)

Ballade (2202)
Three Studies for Trumpet (2003)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Kyrie for Five Sopranos K89 (1770)
Otto LUENING (1900-1996)

Introduction and Allegro
Herbert L CLARKE (1867-1945)

From the Shores of the Mighty Pacific
The Southern Cross
Ronald Lo PRESTI (1933-1986)

Suite for Five Trumpets (1961)
Flor PEETERS (1903-1986)

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (1943)
Edward Kennedy "Duke" ELLINGTON (1899-1974)

I’m Beginning To See The Light (1944)
Sophisticated Lady
Fisher TULL (1934-1994)

Canonical Trilogy for four trumpets (1961)
John Holt (trumpet)
Natalia Bolshakova (piano)
Trumpet ensemble
Ricky Duhaime (conductor) 
Recorded at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas, May 2003



Facets are actually what Crystal Records are noted for. Their programmes tend to be diverse and catholic and have a strong focus on brass – and so it is here. John Holt is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Texas and principal with the opera orchestra in Dallas. Some of the pieces here have been written for him, others are arrangements and still others are important additions to the repertoire. In the main Holt is accompanied by Russian pianist Natalia Bolshakova but there is also a trumpet ensemble, rich in sonority, which plays a big part in the disc’s success.

Wintle’s Ballade, written for Holt, is fractiously lyrical, veiled and withdrawn, multi-sectional despite its brief six-minute span. We also get his Three Studies – quite dense pieces but with good voicings and sporting a virtuosic finale to test lip and control. Luening’s Introduction and Allegro opens craggily but soon lightens up in the Allegro into warm driving material. It’s a shame that the piano is so backwardly recorded in genre maestro Herbert L Clarke’s From the Shores of the Mighty Pacific because it topples ensemble – but it’s always a pleasure to listen to an evocative slice of Americana such as Clarke so adeptly paraded. His The Southern Cross is winningly cod-operatic pastiche. Presti’s Suite (three movements) is a ceremonial slither for five trumpets. Amidst all this it’s startling to come across Peeters’ 1943 Sonata. Remarkable to think that this light-hearted and jocular work was written in 1943, and some may know the touching Aria in its composer sanctioned arrangements (a very popular piece and rightly so).

Duke Ellington is here as well in the shape of these arrangements by Chuck Mandernach, a well-known local freelancer and trombonist. I prefer the second; I’m Beginning To See The Light is rather too brash but Sophisticated Lady brings out its harmonic density and richness. Tull’s Canonical Trilogy was intended as a Music Minus One work – and it’s a cleverly constructed test-piece for four trumpets.

Not essential listening – but frequently diverting. There are good covering notes; sound can be so-so, as in the Clarke, but at its best it’s fine.

Jonathan Woolf

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