Romantic Trumpet Sonatas - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Brass Review
23 September 2011Brass Review
For generations trumpet players have transcribed from the
classical repertoire, enhancing the rather sparse original brass music
available for the solo performer. This
has been the motivation behind two previous albums by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
(trumpet) and Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano), namely La Trompette Retrouvée and Trumpet Masque, both of which received
highly acclaimed reviews both in this magazine and the wider media.
In their latest quest to improve the lot of the trumpet and
piano duo, they raise the barrier even higher on this album, with ambitious
transcriptions of Edvard Grieg's immortal Holberg
Suite Op. 40, Robert Schumann's Violin
Sonata No. 1 in A Minor Op. 105, Felix Mendelssohn's Cello Sonata No. 2 in D Major Op. 58 plus the one original work, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Karl
Transcriptions of original string works to brass are often
regarded as something of a musical gamble, not to mention controversial, as
this practice is often frowned upon by string players. How would trumpet players take to a violinist
or cellist recording Haydn's Trumpet
Concerto? However, in his programme
notes Jonathan Freeman-Attwood outlines his intentions. "The nature of our re-workings has largely
been shaped by assessment of the respective period, genre and idiom of the
original scores, as we gauge the potential for creating a particular work in the revised image."
At the outset, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood displays his
trademark vibrant sound, enhanced by some nimble tonguing, in the familiar
bustling Praeludium, the first of
five movements from Edvard Grieg's Holberg
Suite Op. 40. Originally written in
1884 for piano, it is the string version (arranged by the composer a year
later) which is the most familiar. This
setting for trumpet and piano has been skilfully arranged by pianist Daniel-Ben
Pienaar. The contrasting styles of the Sarabande, Gavotte, Air and Rigaudon all receive superb musicality
from this versatile performer. Robert
Schumann's Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor,
was written in 1851. A 16-minute work
which is a challenge for recital violinists.
This transcription raises the barrier even further for the trumpet
soloist. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
overcomes all the technical and musical demands with consummate ease. The playing is convincing, the upper range
always precise and assured, the stamina of the soloist in this "busy" work a
lesson for all aspiring trumpet soloists.
The choice of Felix Mendelssohn's Cello Sonata No. 2 in D Major Op. 58 appears to be a strange
bedfellow for transcription. As the
soloist writes in the programme notes it represents an invasion of core string repertoire
closer to mainstream recital fare than we've previously ‘acquired'. So does it work? I'm sure many trumpet
players would welcome an opportunity to tackle this work, irrespective of its
The final track, Karl Pilss's Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, the sole original work on the album
will be familiar to most trumpet students, being a favourite on the recital
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Daniel-Ben Pienaar continue to
raise the barrier for trumpet and piano duo with their latest transcriptions
from the classical repertoire.
There is a special beauty in the playing of Jonathan
Freeman-Attwood, supported by Daniel-Ben Pienaar's stunning accompaniment on
this album. Their performance is
vibrant, lyrical, making for compulsive serious listening.
Trumpet students and pianists seeking to perfect the art of
accompaniment need look no further than this album for inspiration. The quality of sound is first-class and Linn
Records are to be congratulated for their continued support of this highly
Here's to the next album.
Related LinksDaniel-Ben PienaarJonathan Freeman-AttwoodRomantic Trumpet Sonatas