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Alexander ARUTUNIAN (1920-2012)
Concerto for trumpet and orchestra in A flat major [17:10]
Vladimir PESKIN (1906-1988)
Concerto no.1 in C minor for trumpet and orchestra [20:25]
Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971)
Incantation, Thrčne et Danse [17:49]
Selina Ott (trumpet)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro
Rec. Vienna 2020
ORFEO C200091 [55:24]

Yet another brilliant young female trumpeter! Selina Ott is a twenty-two-year-old Austrian, and took the first prize in the prestigious ARD Music Competition in 2018. She performs here three works which many trumpeters may know well, but will be less familiar to others.

Certainly the first piece on the disc, the Armenian Alexander Arutunian’s concerto of 1950, is a highly attractive work, and the only one of his compositions to be heard at all regularly in international concert halls. It is an accomplished piece, full of catchy rhythms and melodies, and excellently written for the trumpet. Yes, it is undoubtedly a show-piece, so there’s nothing particularly startling in the musical idiom; but there are some lovely lyrical moments alongside the fireworks. The slow third section uses a mute (cup mute here, I think), and the trumpet interacts expressively with the woodwind instruments. Maybe not a profound work, but a convincing and enjoyable one.

The Russian Vladimir Peskin’s concerto was written around the same time as the Arutunian – 1948 in this case – but is in a much more conservative idiom. It is full of smooth melodic lines, perhaps influenced by Rachmaninov; this is emphatically late Romantic music. The soloist probably has a slightly easier time here than in the other two works, but as in the Arutunian, Ott’s playing is superb – technically brilliant, but full of warm expression when needed.

Apparently, Ott finds the final work on the disc, the French composer Alfred Densenclos’ Incantation, Thrčne et Danse, her ‘favourite piece’. Whether she means favourite of all pieces, or just those on the disc she doesn’t say. But if the latter, I would agree with her. This is the most interesting and the most original of the three, and calls for even greater imagination and technical assurance from the soloist. Despite its title, this is undoubtedly a three-movement concerto, and thus relatively conventional in its quick-slow-quick sequence of sections. But the musical language is more challenging, more extreme in its use of dissonance and jagged rhythmic patterns. Even here, though, there is some lovely use of the mute to achieve a softer tonal edge, and Ott plays bravely quietly at times, to allow her tone to balance with the orchestral soloists.

Paternostro and his Vienna orchestra accompany sympathetically but with plenty of colour when needed, and the recording captures satisfyingly the balance between soloist and ensemble.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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