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Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan



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Facets 3 – New American Music for Trumpet
James WINTLE (b.1942)
Distant Voices (2006) [17:08]
Barbara HARBACH (b.1946)
Perambulations for trumpet and piano (2004) [5:08]
Emily! (2007) [7:46]
Francine TRESTER (b.1969)
Four Thoreau Songs (2007) [6:20]
Sonata for trumpet and piano (2005) [13:56]
Joseph KLEIN (b.1962)
Die Königskünderin (The King-Proclaimer) (2006) [4:26]
Ulysses KAY (1917-1995)
Tromba (1983) [8:00]
John Holt (trumpet and flugelhorn)
Nataliya Sukhina (piano)
Sophia Grech (mezzo)
Igor Borodin and Julia Bushkova (violins): Katrin Meidell (viola) and Johannes Kleinmann (cello)
rec. 2007-2009
Experience Classicsonline

Another Crystal disc means more esoteric, frequently up-to-the minute repertoire to digest. It’s a predictable feature of this company’s release schedule that it should come up with such consistently unpredictable fare.
Let’s take James Wintle’s 2006 Distant Voices for trumpet and string quartet. This springy and engaging work embeds some Beatles songs in its fabric (note to the by-now doubtless mortified production team at Crystal; it’s the Beatles not Beetles: one you like, the other you step on). These songs are piled up one on top of the other in the slow movement but you wouldn’t necessarily know. There’s a fleet scherzo, but one of the best bits of the work is the forlorn trumpet that opens the finale, though in the end things end with vitality.
Barbara Harbach contributes two works. Perambulations is a concise affair full of rich piano chording and a lyrically flowing trumpet line; expressive and appealing. The more recent Emily! takes four texts by Emily Dickinson, sung by Sophia Grech, with trumpet and piano. The first song is vibrant and uplifting, the second calming and pliant, and third is Wild Nights! Wild Nights! and duly opens with a strong trumpet fanfare theme. This excellent work, full of Dickinsonesque charge acts as a fine contrast to the more clement earlier work.
These kinds of programmatic constructs all go toward a successful series of new works on disc. The Dickinson songs, for example, are themselves followed by four Thoreau songs by Francine Trester, written in the same year as the Dickinson set by Harbach. She captures the nature-rich setting of The Moon very adeptly and also the startlingly brittle ‘hate’ with which the next poem, Indeed, Indeed concludes. John Holt gives us appropriately richer tone than heretofore in the setting of Smoke. The final song is fulsome and romantic. The second Trester piece is her Sonata, a very generous spirited work redolent in places of ‘show’ tunes. She writes idiomatically for the trumpet/piano duo and Holt and Nataliya Sukhina respond with due flair and immediacy. The finale is especially nice, with its attaca and legato elements and hints of Gershwin.
Joseph Klein contributes a solo trumpet work that acts as a kind of cadenza, with wa-wa elements and lonesome reveille calls and internal dialogues. Ivesian questions surface from time to time. Finally Ulysses Kay’s Tromba, written in 1983, which is a free flowing piece sporting a stern Nocturne where the trumpet plays muted. Spirited vernacular sluices through the finale – perky, and decidedly fun.
I need hardly add that the performers are all first class ambassadors for this new music – Kay’s Tromba was actually written in 1983 – and they have been accorded typically good notes and recorded sound.
Jonathan Woolf



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