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Ceremonial Music for Trumpet and Symphonic Organ
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1634-1704)

Te Deum [2:29]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)

March and Gigue, from Suite for Trumpet and Organ [3:40]
Trumpet Tune in D major [2:47]
Jean-Joseph MOURET (1682-1738)

Rondeau, from Suite de Symphonies [1:45]
Maria-Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824)

Sicilienne [2:39]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)

La Réjouissance [0:50]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)

Fantasia on Greensleeves [4:17]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)

Ave Maria [3:01]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Jesu, Joy of Manís Desiring [3:12]
Sheep May Safely Graze [5:18]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)

If Loveís Sweet Passion, from The Fairy Queen [3:18]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Ave Maria [4:04]
Jeremiah CLARKE (1674-1707)

Trumpet Tune in D Major [2:59]
Jacques-Alexandre de SAINT-LUC (c.1616-1708?)

Rigaudon and Passepied from Suite in D [2:33]
Giambattista MARTINI (1706-1784)

Toccata [2:27]
Alan HOVHANESS (b.1911)

The Prayer of Saint Gregory [5:53] *
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Wedding March, from A Midsummer Nightís Dream [4:42]
Rolf Smedvig (trumpet, arranger)
Michael Murray (organ); *Martin Hackleman (horn)
rec. 27-28 June, 1992, First United Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio; * 20 September 1989, Church of the Advent, Boston, Massachussets
TELARC CD-80341 [57:21]

The organ of the First United Methodist Church in Cleveland, is heard on all but one track of this recital. It incorporates at its core an original instrument of 1874, built by George H. Ryder of Boston. Enlargements of 1905 (Votteler-Hettche Company), 1922 (Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling Company), 1943 and 1970 (both by Casavant Frères Ltd) have evidently been carried out with care and sensitivity, since the resulting sound is homogenous and well balanced.

Michael Murray, who studied with Marcel Dupré amongst others, had a very distinguished career, in both America and Europe, and made significant recordings of repertoire which included Bach and the French tradition. He also wrote scholarly works on Dupré and on the French Masters of the Organ (Yale University Press, 1998). I believe that he has now retired from concert performance. Rolf Smedvig is well-known for his work with Empire Brass and from recordings such as his collection of trumpet concerti (by Hummel, Haydn, Torelli, Tartini and Bellini) made with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Jahja Ling (Telarc CD-80232). Here the two join forces for a programme which mixes the (over)familiar with the unexpected.

The baroque end of the programme includes one or two less obvious names, alongside Bach, Handel, Purcell and the like. Jean-Joseph Mouret, for example, was a very significant figure in his day, with an extraordinary career which included great successes (and some failures) with the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris, appointment as a chamber singer at court, and the artistic directorship (from 1728) of the Concert Spirituel, but which ended in insanity. Though he does turn up from time to time on compilation albums such as these, Iím not aware that any of his more substantial works have been recorded. This lively Rondeau is one of his more often-recorded pieces, played here with vivacity and fair sense of style, although even an organist as accomplished as Murray canít make his instrument sound anything but a bit too heavy for the piece. The pieces by Jacques-Alexandre de Saint-Luc is, Iím sure, an arrangement from one his lute suites (Iíve corrected Saint-Lucís dates as given on the CD). Both movements work well in Smedvigís arrangement, and the refined colours of the organ are well used. The Toccata by Giambattista Martini Ė erstwhile teacher of both Mozart and J.C. Bach and assembler of one of the first really substantial private libraries of music Ė is an ttractive work in which Smedvigís technical control is impressive.

How many readers of MusicWeb will want another arrangement of Schubertís Ave Maria or the Mendelssohn Wedding March Iím not sure. But should you want a trumpet and organ version of either you can rest assured that you will get high quality performances on this present CD and here the Cleveland organ has the advantage of a healthy range of colours (which Murray doesnít abuse or overuse). I am not convinced by the arrangement of the Vaughan Williamsí Fantasia on Greensleeves. I am, though, quietly impressed by Alan Hovhannessí Prayer of Saint Gregory. This is the one track recorded elsewhere and earlier, and there is a genuinely meditative quality to music and performance alike. I am no kind of authority on the music of Hovhaness, but I believe that this Prayer was originally written for trumpet and strings and that it comes from the opera Etchmiadzin. Here, as elsewhere, I would have been grateful for some booklet notes which actually addressed themselves to the specific music performed, rather than to rather unhelpful generalisations about Ďceremonial musicí.

Not perhaps for purists, this is nevertheless a generally engaging recital by two very accomplished musicians.

Glyn Pursglove


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