Though still in her early twenties Tine Thing Helseth has already
risen to the absolute elite among trumpet players. She has received
several prestigious Norwegian and international prizes and appeared
as soloist in a number of European countries and also in Shanghai.
Her debut album with concertos by Haydn, Hummel, Neruda and Albinoni,
released in November 2007, has had very positive reviews. It
has not been reviewed on MusicWeb International but Bob Briggs
admired her greatly at a concert in Wigmore Hall last year (see review
Though not, strictly speaking, a Christmas disc the programme
on the present disc is eminently suitable for Yuletide listening,
and it was obviously released, in Norway at least, in time for
the buying rush in December. Filled with melodious, beautiful,
contemplative music, some of it very well known, some of it consisting
of rarities. Norwegian listeners will probably be familiar with
most of the programme but for an international public there are
many pleasant surprises.
It is a varied menu, in spite of the predominant sacred atmosphere
and it was a good idea to invite the superb soprano Isa Katharina
Gericke to participate in the two Handel arias and the hymn Eg
veit i himmelrik ei borg
. Some months ago I review
a disc of Norwegian songs. I then named her ‘the foremost
Norwegian song interpreter of the present generation’.
Having heard the present disc I am willing to cross out ‘song’,
since she is just as superb a Handel singer: lovely, pure and
warm of voice with bell-like clarity and effortless technique.
She also blends beautifully with the trumpet in their duets.
As a matter of fact the same adjectives could be applied also
to the playing of Tine Thing Helseth. Her technique is impeccable
and she nuances the music admirably. This is especially important
in a programme like this, which could easily be monotonous when
listened to straight through.
The arrangements by Gaute Storaas also contribute to the variety.
In the opening number Elise Båtnes’s violin duets
with the trumpet, in Et lite barn så lystelig
lively and charming melody. The trumpet is accompanied by plucked
strings and Smart’s Angels from the realm of glory
a swinging chamber orchestra backing up the soloist, who executes
some quite fanciful embellishments of the melody. The orchestra
is also excellent in Torelli’s Sinfonia - in three short
movements; in reality it is a miniature trumpet concerto.
Among the finds must be mentioned Nils Larsen’s Hymne
originally a song for soprano and piano, composed in 1915 to
a text beginning Fader vor
(Our father) also by the composer.
Larsen was the leading piano teacher in Norway between the two
wars but also a productive composer. This Hymne
the only music by him that has survived. Eg veit i himmelrik
ultimate Norwegian sacred folk song’ as August Albertsen
puts it in the liner-notes, is another gem to which to return.
Lovers of trumpet music or sacred songs or both should invest
in this disc without delay. This is playing - and singing - on
a very high level.
Gustav HOLST (1874 - 1934)
1. In the bleak midwinter [2:49]
2. Et lite barn så lystelig
(A tiny child so full of joy) [2:07]
3. Mitt hjerte alltid vanker
(My heart is ever present) [4:14]
Max REGER (1873 - 1916)
4. Maria Wiegenlied
Henry Thomas SMART (1813 - 1879)
5. Angels from the realms of glory [2:37]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759)
6. Ode for the birthday of Queen Anne “Eternal source of light divine” [2:53]
Giuseppe TORELLI (1658 - 1709)
7. Sinfonia in D [4:54]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750)/Charles GOUNOD (1818
8. Ave Maria
Tine Thing HELSETH (b. 1987)
(Angels dance) [2:50]
10. Kirken den er et gammelt hus
(Built on the rock the church doth stand)
George Frideric HANDEL
11. Let the bright seraphim from Samson [5:30]
Nils LARSEN (1888 - 1937)
13. Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro
(None shall win eternal peace)
14. Eg veit i himmelrike i borg
(I know a stronghold in heaven) [3:44]
Adolphe ADAM (1803 - 1856)
15. O holy night [4:14]
Johannes KLOTZ (? - ?)
16. In dulci jubilo
17. Deilig er jorden
(How wonderful is the earth) [3:23]