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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Great Trumpet Concertos
CD 1
William LOVELOCK (1899-1986)

Trumpet Concerto (1968) [16:41]
Henri TOMASI (1901-1971)

Trumpet Concerto (1949) [14:37]
Richard MILLS (b.1949)

Trumpet Concerto (1982) [20:05]
Alexander ARUTUNYAN (b. 1920)

Trumpet Concerto in one movement (1950) [14:55]
CD 2
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)

Trumpet Concerto in E flat (adapted from Oboe Concerto) [7:50]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)

Trumpet Concerto in E flat Hob VIIe:1 (1796) [14:52]
Domenico CIMAROSA (1749-1801)

Trumpet Concerto for trumpet and strings (adapted from Oboe Concerto by Arthur BENJAMIN) [10:38]
Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837)

Trumpet Concerto in E (1804) [16:31]
Carl Maria Von WEBER (1786-1826)

Trumpet Concertino C for trumpet and wind ensemble (1822?) [7:36]
Jean-Baptiste ARBAN (1825-1889)

Fantasy and Variations on a Cavatina from Beatrice di Tenda by Bellini (arr for trumpet and orchestra by David Stanhope) (1840?) [16:31]
Geoffrey Payne (trumpet)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/John Hopkins (CD1); Michael Hálasz (CD2)
rec. 26-28 Feb, 5-7 Mar 1990 Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne (CD1); 29 Jan-3 Feb 1996 Melbourne Concert Hall, Victorian Ars Centre.
ABC CLASSICS 982 6976 [66:47 + 64:23]


Spick and span versions of classic eighteenth and nineteenth trumpet concertos are matched up with four twentieth century concertos: two Australians and one each Armenian and French.

Payne and the Melbourne Orchestra are the unifying factors across the two CDs. Nothing else holds them together. The first disc, which is absolutely fascinating, concentrates on 20th century concertos.

The recordings on that second CD are right up under your nose; not much room for mystery. The orchestral sound is very much what a Sargent or Beecham would have extracted. The real winner among these works is the Cimarosa which was superbly arranged by Arthur Benjamin who did the same service for various eighteenth century composers.. This is for unrepentant fans of treatments from the 1940s and 1950s. Banish any thoughts of HIP.

The Hummel is a decidedly Beethovenian work so if you like your Beethoven symphonies 4 and 8 this will be just for you. And the elusive and strolling bel canto elegy of the andante is lovingly done. Payne is outstandingly good at the long lyric line. The Weber Concertino is a strange work in which the trumpet struggles against the dense harmoniemusik textures. Nice but hardly among Weber's greatest moments.

The playing in the bel canto singing of the Bellini and the Arban - complete with Payne's cornet overtones - is dapper rather than deeply romantic and that same well-heeled clarity dominates the famous Haydn. I have heard more emotionally charged recordings but the Haydn andante is very beautifully done.

Lovelock was a Londoner. Like Healy Willan who emigrated to Canada yet kept to a basically Elgarian idiom, Lovelock went to Australia and held with fidelity to an lively and inventive English pastoral idiom. The 1968 Trumpet Concerto is a vital work which in the flankers has a real kick and recoil and a deeply poetic pastoral elegiac vein. The language steps with mercurial suaveness between Butterworth, Moeran and Elgar. It does not outstay its welcome and should be a ready companion in any English music concert and an easy choice for trumpet competition finales.

Tomasi as a composer remains one of those wonderful discoveries for anyone prepared to venture away from terra cognita. This is a dashingly rich work which slides between moods and textures: from jazzy atmospherics to Les Six metropolitan playfulness to tight little rhythmic adventures. The trumpet is put through its paces. This includes the strange marine-green ruminations of the Nocturne. This extremely attractive and masterful work was written for Ludovic Vaillant of the Orchestra National de Paris - that 's the same Vaillant who recorded the Shostakovich First Piano Concerto.

The Richard Mills concerto is clearly another generation step onwards from the Lovelock. In the first movement Lovelock's old school Englishry is put to one side for rumbustious antics making playful use of twentieth century angularities. There is some dissonance but without losing complete touch with Waltonian sprees and splendours. Mills returns to a glowing romantic-nostalgic Moeran style in the Larghetto e cantabile. A wild and woolly finale recalls the example of Berners, Auric and Poulenc. The concerto ends in splendid triumph.

Arutunyan has turned out concerto after concerto: all of compact dimensions à la Kabalevsky. His training was largely in Yerevan but he received official support from Moscow. The Concerto mixes a variety of voices from Borodin’s orientalism to Shostakovich's uproar (from the First Piano Concerto) to Kabalevskian skittishness.

Payne really relishes these twentieth century concertos and seems much more at home in their emotionally complete world than he is in the classical era works on CD2.

A good collection which for me yielded real rewards among the twentieth century works. It's a pity that both CDs could not have drawn on concertos from the last century.

Rob Barnett



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