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
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
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
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 Borodinís 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.