This disc illustrates
how marketing men can make the contents of a disc seem not what
it actually is. The disc is called “Lucia Popp sings cantatas
and arias with trumpet by Bach, Handel and Telemann.” In fact,
Lucia Popp sings on only half of the items; the rest are taken
by Jorma Hynninen. The only soloist to appear on all items is
the trumpeter, Carol Dawn Reinhart, and instead of being prime
soloist she is relegated to third position. I suppose this is
understandable but if an unwary fan of Lucia Popp buys this
disc he or she is likely to be disappointed.
my surprise about what lengths the record companies will go
to get a sale, I must report that this disc is sheer delight
from start to finish. The Bach cantata for soprano, trumpet,
and orchestra is probably one of the most well known items here.
Lucia Popp brings to it all of her well known artistry – a bright
pleasant voice, minimum of disfiguring vibrato, accurate pitching
and ability to get around all of Bach’s difficult vocal writing
with an ease that leaves me astonished. Coupled with this, the
Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra plays superbly well, making a brilliant
foil to the virtuosity of the trumpeter, who dovetails with
the soloist very naturally.
Jorma Hynninen takes
over for the aria from the Christmas Oratorio “Sov’reign Lord
and God Almighty”. It is from the first cantata making up the
Christmas Oratorio. The choice of trumpet as solo in this aria
is an obvious one, as the aria had originally been to a secular
text and was intended as homage to the King of Saxony. Hynninen
makes as good a job of it as Lucia Popp has made of the preceding
work. This first class artistry is carried on to the next two
arias on this disc by Telemann.
Lucia Popp takes
the first, and Jorma Hynninen takes the second. Both of these
arias are in Telemann’s florid style, utilising the trumpet
in a very virtuoso role. In mediaeval times the trumpet was
considered a regal instrument, only allowed to be played in
the presence of the King. There were two kinds of trumpet in
use, having different mouthpieces, and producing two types of
sound. One produced a relatively mellow tone (principale), a
descendant of the Mediaeval field trumpet, and the other was
the brighter-toned clarino instrument. Each required an extremely
accomplished soloist and both Bach and Telemann were fortunate
in having such soloists available to them.
We then come to
the two arias from The Messiah and Solomon. Jorma Hynninen takes
over for “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, and the usual criticism
of not being able to pronounce the words is not a problem here,
as it is sung in the German translation. I enjoyed this very
much. When we come to the aria from Samson, made famous not
so long ago by Joan Sutherland on her “Art of the Prima Donna”
records, and by Kiri Te Kanawa: she of the yellow hat at the
wedding of Prince Charles (first time around).
This soprano aria
is taken relatively steadily and is in German again. Once again,
the sound of the voice is superb, as is the accompaniment.
Are there any shortcomings
– well, yes – why only 45 minutes of music? There must have
been much more available from this soprano to swell out the
This is a very enjoyable
disc, well sung, played, and recorded, but why Arts Archives.
Lucia Popp has not been with us for all that time, and I am
puzzled why this logo should have been used. Arts’ normal label
might have been a better platform for this repertoire and these