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Arias for Soprano, Trumpet and Organ
Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785)
Alla Tromba della Fama [6:48]
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Si Suoni La Tromba [3:33]
Con Voce Festiva [1:51]
Mio Tesoro Per Te Moro [4:56]
Rompe Sprezza [ 1:15]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Organ Concerto BWV 972 [8:42]
Et Exultavit Spiritus Meus [2:17]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Sound the Trumpet [2:29]
Hark! the Echoing Air [2:42]
Giovanni VIVIANI (1638-1693)
Sonata Prima [7:27]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Eternal Source [2:57]
Let the Bright Seraphim [5:20]
Trio Barocco (Emi Aikawa (soprano), Alberto Bardelloni (trumpet), Ivan Ronda (organ))
rec. Parrocchia della Natività di Maria, Buffalora, Brescia, Italy, 25-26 May and 1 June 2010. DDD

Experience Classicsonline

This is the style of programme which you might enjoy if you wandered into an Italian church on a summer holiday, an attractive selection of baroque music for soprano, trumpet and organ. Whether this sort of programme translates into a good CD is a debatable point and much depends on the performances. Here the music is played by a trio consisting of two young Italian instrumentalists (Alberto Bardelloni and Ivan Ronda) and a Japanese soprano, Emi Aikawa. Aikawa moved to Italy in 2001 and studied with Robert Invernizzi.
Their disc contains a mixture of types of music, most of it written for soprano, trumpet and strings, a transcription for organ of a string concerto and some written for soprano, trumpet and continuo, probably originally played on harpsichord but here played quite legitimately on the organ.
They open with Galuppi’s aria All tromba della fama, written for soprano, trumpet and strings. This exists in a manuscript on its own, but most probably comes from an opera. The aria refers to the fact that the goddess Fame was typically depicted with a trumpet. This is followed by four striking arias from a set by Scarlatti written for soprano, trumpet and continuo. There are seven arias in the full set and it is a shame that the group did not record all of them.
Ivan Ronda then plays Bach’s transcription for organ of Vivaldi’s concerto for 4 violins and continuo. In a concert this probably makes a nice break but on a CD I missed the soprano and trumpet and frankly I did not find Ronda’s account of the work entirely convincing: there were too many passages when I missed the string textures, something that an organist has to guard against in these type of pieces.
A pair of Purcell extracts next, Sound the Trumpet from the Welcome Ode for James II, and Hark, the echoing air from The Fairy Queen. Both pieces are quite short and would have been improved by being set in context, even if they did not quite fit in with the programme thematically. Also, I am not sure that I really want to listen to Purcell transcribed for organ, but if it has to be done then Ronda’s playing is discrete and convincing, perhaps too discrete at times.
Another extract, this time of the Et exultavit from Bach’s Magnificat, my feelings about this echo those on the Purcell.
Next a genuinely fascinating piece, Viviani’s Sonata prima, not a transcription but the earliest surviving piece for trumpet with organ accompaniment. This is definitely the sort of thing that should have been on the disc.
Finally a pair of Handel excerpts, the lovely opening from the Birthday Ode to Queen Anne and the inevitable Let the Bright Seraphim.
I have nothing but admiration for the brilliant trumpet playing of Alberto Bardelloni. He is on all but one of the tracks on the disc and his playing of the high baroque trumpets parts is entirely a source of joy. Despite the dominating nature of the instrument he successfully creates a real partnership with the other two performers and you never feel that he his pushing Aikawa’s soprano.
About Aikawa I am more conflicted. At first sight she has an attractive lyric voice, with a high bright focus. Her upper voice is generally attractive and brilliant though it does sometimes sound metallic when she pushes. But her running passages sung in middle voice are disturbingly uneven in quality, sometimes nicely articulated and sometimes smudged. Finally there is her tendency to articulate, to a certain extent, each note. She can sing pure legato, but in movements like the Purcell and the Handel Eternal Source, this tendency to articulate ruins the feel of the line. Perhaps working with two instrumentalists she felt the need to emulate them, but she should worry more about her sense of line. Finally, in the Purcell and Handel, her English is rather poor; if the musicality had been better, this would have gone relatively unnoticed.
Ronda is a fine organist, playing a 2001 instrument built by Franz Zanin of Camino al Taliamento (Udine). It is a mechanical action instrument with a suspended action. There were a number of occasions when I thought that his playing was a little too discreet, and that he could have displayed rather more personality to match those of soprano and trumpet.
The CD is slightly short at 50 minutes. The booklet includes notes about the music in English, but no texts which is a serious loss in the less well known pieces.
This is a pleasant and quite promising recital which does not achieve its potential. It is a shame that the programme did not concentrate on the more unusual items like the Scarlatti and the Viviani. If you are giving us short excerpts, in transcription, from well known pieces by Purcell, Handel and Bach then you have to have a very good reason for doing it. Here, Trio Barocco do not quite convince.
Robert Hugill

see also review by Byzantion