Après la nuit - Trumpet Concertos
André JOLIVET (1905-1974)
Concertino for Trumpet, String Orchestra and Piano (1948) [9:35]
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Quiet City, for strings, Trumpet and English Horn (1940) [10:51]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Concerto for Trumpet and Bassoon† with Strings (1949-52) [16:24]
Alexander Grigori ARUTIUNIAN (b. 1920)
Elegy for Solo Trumpet (or Flügelhorn) and Strings (2000) [4:31]
Roland WILTGEN (b. 1957)
après la nuit …(2010) [19:09]
Philippe Schartz (trumpet and flügelhorn*)
Chris Williams (piano); Sarah-Jayne Porsmoguer (cor anglais); Karen Geoghegan (bassoon) †
Solistes Européens, Luxembourg/Christoph König
rec. Trifolion, Echternach, Luxembourg, 21-23 June 2011
CHANDOS CHAN 10700 [61:07]
This fine disc offers a diverse collection of 20th century and 21st century trumpet concertos. They’re modestly accompanied by string orchestra and in a some cases by an additional instrument. Philippe Schartz maintains a lyrical focus throughout.
The disc opens with an energetic performance of French composer, André Jolivet’s Concertino. The piece takes the form of a theme and variations where the pianist sometimes stands out in more than a subsidiary role. The musical vocabulary is similar in style to the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with its playfulness but with the trumpet reversed from the secondary role to the primary. Jolivet explores various trumpet techniques within the confines of this brief and exuberant piece.
Aaron Copland’s popular Quiet City of 1940 is an elegiac and noble piece based on music Copland wrote for a play of the same name by Irwin Shaw. It offers a nice contrast in its meditative mood from the jaunty Jolivet that preceded it on this disc. Copland slightly revised the original instrumentation from clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and piano to solo trumpet, English horn and strings as recorded here. The work could make an interesting counterpart to Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question in that both feature a questioning solo trumpet with nervous, mysterious energy from the winds while strings play a distant chorale. It is beautifully played by Schartz with a clarity of tone and warmth that beguilingly builds to a momentary climax before dying back with the trumpet now muted. This is a beautiful piece performed wonderfully.
The inventive Paul Hindemith is next with his Concerto for Trumpet and Bassoon with Strings. This shows Hindemith as the diverse musical talent and lifelong educator he was. It was written as a celebration and was first performed by advanced music students at Yale. The bassoon is here performed by the accomplished Karen Geoghegan - runner-up in the BBC’s recent Classical Star television program and performer of several similarly themed bassoon concerto recordings on Chandos. The mood of the music is bold with characteristic charm followed by a more lyrical and reflective adagio and a brief and jubilant vivace. It is expertly crafted and performed with the energy and attention to detail that characterizes everything on this disc.
Alexander Grigori Arutiunian’s brief Elegy is a contrast to the Hindemith with its more introspective yet noble melodic focus.
The disc ends with the largest piece, Roland Wiltgen’s recent après la nuit…. The three movements are played without pause. The work alternates between trumpet and flugelhorn. It begins with a new color from the muted flugelhorn, starting with a meditative and dreamy quality and gradually opening and then thickening in texture. The richly divided string orchestra plays a string chorale as the soloist, now on trumpet, adds an ornamental counter-statement. A faster scherzo follows which grows with wider melodic leaps in the trumpet solo. This is followed by the flügelhorn’s return in the final section as the work recedes to a nostalgic nocturne.
The recorded sound is demonstration-worthy with enchanting performances. The disc is wisely arranged to provide contrast while still retaining an overall musical concept. The thorough booklet is in English, German, and French and provides informative detail on the music and the performers.
Karim Elmahmoudi
Demonstration-worthy sound and enchanting performances.