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Colors William SCHMIDT (b.1926)
Jazzberries (1982) [12:10] Alex SHAPIRO (b.1962)
Elegy [7:46] Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Las Cuatro estaciones porteñas - arranged by Ishmael Betancor
and Carlos Rivero [25:20] Scott ROBBINS (b.1964)
Three Blues for cello and trumpet (1988) [9:34] Robert J. BRADSHAW (b.1970)
Statements, Commanding (2004) [15:05]
Ishmael Betancor (trumpet): José Luis Castillo
(piano): Carlos Rivero (cello)
rec. Parafino, U.L.P.G.C, undated CRYSTAL
RECORDS CD766 [70:31]
not every day, on record or in concert, that one hears a
trumpet-cello-piano trio, and the range of works written
for the combination is hardly vast in any case. But the ever-enterprising
Crystal Records – never yet encountered a disc of theirs
that didn’t tickle my aural fancy in some way – have come
up with a winning selection in the shape of Trumpet Colors.
start with William Schmidt’s Jazzberries – which includes
Raspberry Riffs, Blackberry Blues, Boysenberry Boogie and
Strawberry Jam. Has Schmidt been listening to Martinů’s Revue de Cuisine?
That’s how it opens anyhow. The Blues
has some (naturally) bluesy Harmon mute work for the trumpet
and the boogie of the third movement comes garnished with
pounding piano, cello pizzicati and a smeary, rolling drive.
melancholy falling theme of Alex Shapiro’s Elegy hints
a little at Brahms. The plangent cello line is seconded by
the trumpet and supported by the supple piano, which then
picks up the mood and all three instruments conjoin in lyric
reflection. It was written originally for the standard piano
trio of violin, cello and piano.
Piazzolla is an arrangement, predominately by trumpeter Ishmael
Betancor although Gilberto Rivero arranged the second movement
of the four, Verano Porteño. Crystal or the musicians
or both have decided to separate the four movements so we
hear two by two. Obviously programming would obviate that,
but it’s worth noting that Crystal has avoided a twenty-five
minute block of Piazzolla in the middle of their programme.
Invariably we are going to miss the bandoneon but there’s
still plenty of potently languid work in the central panel
of Spring and some combustible lyric sentiment in Winter.
there’s Scott Robbins’ Three Blues for cello and trumpet written
in 1988. This has some varied and interesting textures, the
cello sounding vaguely Eastern in the first movement and
there’s plenty of flutter-tongue trumpet work in the second
along with churning colour. The finale has Gershwinesque
tints and at its heart a tune that sounds like Stormy
Weather. Robert Bradshaw’s Statements, Commanding is
couched in approachable modernist style – busy, crystalline,
and embracing tight, taut writing. The most exciting movement
is the last, which is rhythmically challenging, propulsive
and exacting but elsewhere there are plenty of opportunities
for quietly reflective moments.
and never trivial, these works are excellently realised by
the trio – fine sound as well completes the pleasure.