Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-
Zdes' khorosho (How fair this spot) arr. Michael Rot [2:20]
Als die alte Mutter (Songs My Mother Taught Me) Op 55.4 [2:27]
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Les Filles de Cadix [3:23]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Våren flyktar hastigt Op.13 No.4 [1:27]
Soluppgång Op.37 No. 3 [2:19]
Var det en dröm Op.37 No. 4 [2:24]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Wiegenlied Op.41 No. 1 [4:30]
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Des knaben Wunderhorn; Wer hat dies liedel erdacht? [1:53]
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Marietta's Lied from 'Die tote Stadt' [6:02]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Haugtussa Op.67 (The Mountain Maid) [20:13] ²
José María CANO (b.1959)
'Epílogo' noche de luna [5:15] ¹
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix, from Samson and Delilah [5:46]
Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879-1957)
La pastoura al camps, from Chants d'Auvergne No.1 [2:43]
Malurous Qu'o uno Fenno, from Chants d'Auvergne Series 3 no 5 [1:39]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Je ne t'aime pas [4:28] ²
I don’t want to inflame passions if I talk of an EMI blonde trumpeter face-off between Alison Balsom and newcomer Tine Thing Helseth, The record company seems to have decided however that the Norwegian player should concentrate on arrangements rather than compete, for now, against their star brass player in concertos. Added to this is the fact that Helseth contributes a rock-star like Thank You credit list in the booklet notes. George Eskdale never did this sort of thing and neither did Harry Mortimer, but then times have changed.
I don’t want to comment on how strange Helseth’s name must seem to an Anglophone reader – maybe T.T. Helseth would give her a bit of ZZ Top pizzazz. How she positions herself, or allows herself to be positioned musically, is probably more to the point. She’s been playing these arrangements for some time, it appears, but one wouldn’t necessarily like to see her typed as a trumpet-lite purveyor. She has a fine tone, and a good instinct for tonal colour and legato shaping. Clearly she likes narrative; her whole disc is predicated on the idea of telling a story, and she manages to ‘sing’ fluently and evenly throughout, accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Eivind Aadland.
She vests Rachmaninov’s song with just the right amount of rounded warmth, proves lyrical in Dvorák, and displays a rich cantilena in the Delibes. In the Sibelius song Soluppgång
Op.37 No. 3 she is careful to pay service to its one terse outburst as well as to its more refined qualities. She proves a calming presence in Korngold, allowing it a truly vocalised quality – essential, really, given that it’s Marietta’s Lied
from Die tote Stadt
For Grieg’s Haugtussa
she is joined by pianist Håvard Gimse and their intimacy demonstrates an expressive affection throughout these settings. The final song reserves the greatest quality of elegy, another component that Helseth exemplifies when necessary. She’s joined by Jonathan Aasgaard and the orchestra for José María Cano’s Epílogo.
Two of Canteloube’s Chants d'Auvergne
make for good programming as well.
The sound is attractive. The spatial questions in the Cano - where her trumpet is deliberately placed backwardly – are all well met. Pan-European melodies arranged for trumpet may not sound as snappy as ‘Storyteller’, but T.T. Helseth certainly tells her stories nicely.
T.T. Helseth certainly tells her stories nicely.