Tine Thing Helseth - My Heart Is Ever Present
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 [2:12]
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 - 1893)
8. Ave Maria [2:57]
Tine Thing HELSETH (b. 1987)
9. Engledans (Angels dance) [2:50]
10. Kirken den er et gammelt hus (Built on the rock the church doth stand) [3:13]
George Frideric HANDEL
11. Let the bright seraphim from Samson [5:30]
Nils LARSEN (1888 - 1937)
12. Hymne [3:28]
13. Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro (None shall win eternal peace) [2:03]
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 [2:28]
17. Deilig er jorden (How wonderful is the earth) [3:23]
Tine Thing Helseth (trumpet), Isa Katharina Gericke (soprano)(tr. 6, 11, 14), Birgitte Volan Håvik (harp), Christian Kjos (organ and harpsichord), Elise Båtnes (leader and violin solo (tr. 1)), Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
rec. 10-13 June 2009, Jar church, Norway
SIMAX PSC 1276 [55:42]

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 reviewed 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, a lively and charming melody. The trumpet is accompanied by plucked strings and Smart’s Angels from the realm of glory has 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 is however the only music by him that has survived. Eg veit i himmelrik, ‘the 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.

Göran Forsling