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Baroque Trumpet Concertos
Giuseppe TORELLI (1658-1709)
Sinfonia for Trumpet in D major, G.4 (1693) [3:11]
Tomaso Giovanni ALBINONI (1671-1751)
Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op. 9, No. 2 (1722)* [10:45]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Suite in D major, HWV 341, ‘The Famous Water Piece’ (1733) [7:45] (I. Overture [1:44]; II. Gigue: Allegro [1:50]; III. Air [1:48]; IV. March (Bourrée) [1:07]; V. March [1:17])
Johann Friedrich FASCH (1688-1758)
Concerto a 8 in D major, FWV L:D1 [6:04]
George Frideric HANDEL
Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G minor, HWV 287 (1703?)* [8:20]
Domenico GABRIELLI
(1651? 1659?-1690)

Trumpet Sonata No. 4 in D major [5:36]
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Oboe Concerto No.21 in F minor, TWV 51:f1* [8:07]
Sonata in D major, TWV 44:1 [8:43]
* arranged for trumpet by Andreas Eichele/Thomas Reiner
Thomas Reiner (trumpet)
Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim/Sebastian Tewinkel
rec. Matthäuskirche, Pforzheim, Germany, 23-24 March 2006; 18-20 May 2006; 26-27 February 2007. DDD.
Booklet with notes in English and German.
NAXOS 8.570501 [59:15]

 


Though pleasant enough listening, this is isn’t by any means an essential purchase. It isn’t just pedantry to complain that its contents are not actually made up of trumpet concertos, despite the CD’s title. Three of the items we hear are actually transcriptions of oboe concertos. The booklet notes by Edward Tarr observe that “the instrument now in universal use to perform high Baroque trumpet parts is the piccolo trumpet in B flat/A. Its tube length of approximately 65 cm is comparable to that of an oboe. On such an instrument it is thus possible to perform not only works originally conceived for the Baroque trumpet, but also transcriptions of oboe concertos”. Possible, certainly, but is it entirely desirable?

 

My own experience is that there is an assertiveness in the trumpet, compared to the more undemonstrative and subtly ingratiating sound of the oboe, that quite upsets the balance of the pieces here transcribed from Albinoni, Handel and Telemann.

 

Of the pieces originally written for trumpet, the brief three-movement Sinfonia by Giuseppe Torelli and the five-movement Sonata by Domenico Gabrielli were both written for the Basilica di San Petronio in Bologna. Torelli, Veronese by birth, studied with Perti in Bologna and was a member of the orchestra at San Petronio from 1686 to 1695, and after it had been reformed, from 1701-1709. A virtuoso violinist himself, quite a number of his compositions featured the trumpet, and were no doubt written with the famous trumpeter Giovanni Pellegrino Brandi in mind (who appears to have been playing at San Petronio between 1679 and 1699). The tradition of music for solo trumpet was particularly strong in Bologna. It was a tradition that splendid trumpet music should be performed at the opening of High Mass every year on the fourth of October, the feast day of San Petronio. Domenico Gabrielli was a highly regarded cellist, and held the position of first cello in the orchestra of San Petronio between 1680 and 1687. As well as writing – inevitably for Brandi – he seems to have been fond of the trumpet, since his cantatas and operas often give the instrument a prominent solo role. The pieces by both Torelli and Gabrielli are attractive representations of the trumpet tradition in Bologna and are played with some panache by Thomas Reiner, though, given the sheer size of San Petronio and what, on the one occasion I heard live music there, struck me as a rather resonant acoustic, I suspect that they may originally have been taken rather more slowly.

 

Fasch’s Concerto a 8, in three fairly brief movements (the central largo comes in at under a minute) is a graceful work of no exceptional merit, though the way in which, in its closing allegro, the minuet theme is commented on by the trumpet is relatively unusual and the whole of this final movement has real charm. Telemann’s Sonata in D major is in three movements, the outer two (allegro and vivace) being stylishly galant while the quasi-theatrical central largo packs a little more punch, emotionally speaking.

 

Handel’s Suite in D major was first published in 1733 – probably without the composer’s approval – as The Famous Water Piece Compos’d by Mr Handel. It begins with an Overture from the Water Music, but the remaining four movements have no such origin. Whether they are all by Handel is perhaps uncertain, but they add up to a pleasant enough sequence; the central air has some pleasant inventions and melodic twists, and there’s a lively and engaging bourrée.

 

The disc is well recorded and the performances throughout are thoroughly professional and competent. The South West German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim plays on modern instruments, but has taken on board some of the lessons of the period performance movement. Reiner clearly has a fine command of his instrument and, as conductor, Tewinkel is assured and purposeful. The results are eminently listenable. Yet one misses the insights which real specialists in this music bring to it, and there’s a certain homogeneity, a kind of all-purpose baroque manner which doesn’t do enough to characterise individual pieces and to register the differences between, say, Italian and German idioms.

 

Glyn Pursglove

 

see also Review by Brian Wilson

 

 

 

 


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