One of the finest I have heard
A most joy-inducing
A winning partnership
A Lohengrin to
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Furatus: Music arranged for Trumpet and Piano Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Holberg Suite (1884) [18:46] Kosaku YAMADA (1886-1965) Three Japanese Songs (1927) [10:16] Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Three Fantastic Dances, Op.5 (1922) [4:23] Geirr TVEITT (1908-1981) Hardingtonar (1954) [12:50] Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Humoresque-Bagatelles, Op 11 (FS22) (1898) [7:14]
Ole Edvard Antonsen (trumpet)
Wolfgang Plagge (piano)
rec. 2012/13, Sofienberg/Jar Church, Norway 2L 2L130SABD SACD & Blu-ray [52:00]
The object of this recital is to expand the fairly limited repertoire of the solo trumpet. There are concertos by Haydn, Hummel and, with piano, Shostakovich but little else in the mainstream. The objective of these musicians seems very reasonable and their playing throughout is very fine, as is the Blu-Ray sound. The notes go into some detail in justifying these transcriptions. This has been happening for centuries - for example Bach with Vivaldi and Stokowski with Bach. A caveat has to be made that this set is priced at over £20. There are two discs each with exactly the same programme: one is an SACD; the other is in Blu-Ray 5:1 which was the format I chose for listening. To appreciate the results fully you need a Blu-Ray player as part of your hi-fi setup.
Grieg’s Holberg Suite is, by some way, the most popular piece here and I have heard it many times over the years. I enjoyed this version very much. The tunes are marvellous anyway. The arrangement works well although it’s not possible to consider it as anything other than a transcription due to the familiarity of the original. I particularly enjoyed the hornpipe-like final Rigaudon. The Three Japanese Songs by Kosaku Yamada work well for this combination, particularly Dragonfly. The notes explain that the composer's daughter invited the duo to Japan and that the arrangements amend some of the flow of the songs whilst maintaining the structure and key. The ThreeFantastic Dances by Shostakovich, are very early pieces composed about the time of his remarkable First Symphony.
Geirr Tveitt was a key Norwegian composer in the generation after Grieg. These pieces, based on folk-tunes, are one of the standouts of this programme. The trumpet sounds emerging in Stavkyrkjestev are quite extraordinary. I should add that what we hear is very much a duo and that the playing of pianist Wolfgang Plagge is superb throughout. The piano sound is very realistic. The recital ends with some humorous pieces by Nielsen whose music I still admire rather than love. However, he has an enthusiastic following and these performances are certainly very fine. The Jumping Jack and The Puppet March are typical. They are great fun and don’t overstay their welcome. Certainly, I need to explore this composer's music further.
This is a very enterprising, magnificently performed and well recorded CD. If you are prepared to listen to something different and pay a considerable sum for the set, then you will certainly be richer for the experience. It has certainly opened my ears to several composers that I knew little about. David R Dunsmore