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La Belle Époque - French music for trumpet and piano
Theo CHARLIER (1868-1944)

Solo de concours [6.56]
Francis THOMÉ (1850-1909)

Fantaisie (1902) [5.10]

Morceau de concert [6.45]
Joseph Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955)

Andante et Allegro [5.08]
Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941)

Cantabile et Scherzetto (1909) [4.43]
Guillaume BELAY

Andante et Allegretto [3.51]
Camille ERLANGER (1863-1919)

Solo de trompette chromatique (1901) [6.20]
Alexandre GEORGES

Légende de Larmor (1904) [6.08]
George ENESCU (1881-1955)

Légende (1906) [5.50]
Gabriel PARES (1860-1934)

Premier Solo (1897) [4.54]
Fantaisie Caprice (1911) [4.20]
Crepuscule [4.12]
Andre GEDALGE (1856-1926)

Piece [2.59]
Augustin SAVARD (1861-1942)

Morceau de concours (1903) [7.01]
Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet and cornet)
Thomas Duis (piano)
rec. Sandhausen, Clara-Wieck-Auditorium, Tonstudio Teije van Geest, March 2005
CAPRICCIO 67 152 [74.49]

A well-chosen title for a well researched and performed disc. The engine of the disc is the trumpet or cornet morceau or the Parisian conservatoire test piece, both of which demand virtuosity and surety of phrasing. Many fall into the two sectional plan with a lyric opening section followed by a declamatory finale but all make cogent and strong demands.

Many of the composers here are brass specialists, others – Ropartz, Enescu - are much better known and whose forays into the field were limited. Whether written for trumpet or cornet none of these pieces lasts more than seven minutes and this concision adds to their effective realisation.

Charlier’s Solo has a clipped military air in its second part whilst Thomé, composer of the once ubiquitous café fiddler’s favourite Simple Aveu, throws off his discreet shackles for a robust, fugal, confident Fantaisie. Written for the fatter sounding cornet it belies its rather wispy title. Pennequin opens with a fanfare-like call to arms and his "multi-movement" Morceau requires some strong lips in the final section – notably in the stentorian declamation of the final cadences.

Turn to Ropartz of course and you encounter a different kind of brass writing, one informed by modality, by depth in the andante section and by an equally confident brassy heroic conclusion – it makes for a real Andante and Allegro, one that shows the bisected nature of almost all these pieces with honest explicitness. Balay wrote a similarly titled work but it’s very much par for the course and not a patch on Ropartz.

Alexandre Georges contributes a rather charming, vaguely impressionist/romantic reminiscence which bears up reasonably against the very different Enescu Légende with its tensile lyricism. Pares contributes several pieces – his Premier Solo has wit and brash confidence and Crepuscule has a quiescent quality not often encountered in this repertoire and one that makes for a fine close to the disc.

The Friedrich-Duis team is a formidable one; they ease over the rather binary objectivity of so many of these test and salon pieces and vest the more questing ones with no little distinction. Decent notes as well and attractive recording quality. Not to be taken all at one sitting, certainly, but to be enjoyed one morceau at a time.

Jonathan Woolf



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