Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerto for trumpet and strings in B flat major [8:23]
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Aria ‘Rompe sp(r)ezza’ for soprano, trumpet and continuo [2:29]
Aria ‘Mio tesoro per te moro’ for soprano, trumpet and continuo [4:39]
Alessandro MARCELLO (1669-1747)
Concerto for trumpet, strings and continuo in D minor [11:35]
Pietro BALDASSARE (1690-after 1768)
Sonata for trumpet, strings and continuo in F major [6:09]
Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785)
Aria ‘Alla tromba della fama’ for soprano, trumpet, strings and continuo [6:02]
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Concerto for trumpet, strings and continuo in D major [10:35]
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751)
Concerto for trumpet and strings in B flat major [7:31]
Gábor Tarkövi (trumpet); Mojca Erdmann (soprano)
Chamber Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Radoslaw Szulc
rec. May 2008, Studio 1, Bavarian Radio, Munich. SACD
TUDOR 7161 [61:41]

At first sight, this recording seems to be a ‘must have’ for anyone with a love of the Italian Baroque, and of the trumpet repertoire in particular. But all is not as it seems.

On the plus side, there is a broad mix of composers represented here, from the well-known (Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Albinoni), to the neglected (Tartini), to the obscure (Marcello, Baldassare, Galuppi). There is also a good balance between concertos for trumpet and string orchestra and arias for soprano with trumpet obbligato and strings.

Rather less pleasing is the revelation in the sleeve-notes that none of the concertos were written for trumpet at all. All of them are transcriptions - and not even by the composers themselves - of concertos for other instruments - principally for oboe, but also for violin (Tartini) and cornet (Baldassare). As the notes point out, the Baroque embouchure trumpet was not capable of sustaining the complex solo parts required in the emerging concerto form. This is presumably why soloist Gábor Tarkövi uses a rather standard modern valve trumpet rather than the ‘authentic’ Baroque version. 
These complaints aside, this is still an attractive disc. You can still listen in amazement to Tarkövi’s dexterity and warmth in all five concertos - including Baldassare’s, which is officially designated a ‘sonata’. Vivaldi’s concerto in B flat major (originally for violin and oboe), for example, is unremittingly tuneful and uplifting. Marcello’s concerto - originally for oboe - is a particularly intriguing work, which centres around a haunting, ethereal Adagio (track 6).

Soprano Mojca Erdmann gives a strong, if slightly brittle, performance in the arias with trumpet accompaniment. Her tone is well suited to the martial ‘Alla tromba della fama’ by Galuppi (track 12), and softens appropriately in the ‘Domine Deus’ from Vivaldi’s Gloria (track 16). Not a disc for purists. But a good buy for music lovers who don’t like to question things too much.

John-Pierre Joyce