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Romantic Trumpet Sonatas - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Gramophone

01 June 2011
Ivan March

String sonatas from the 19th century transpose successfully to the trumpet

Trumpet virtuosos have that old conundrum to deal with - seemingly unable to discover a core of contemporary repertoire which their public find attractive, looking therefore to the art of transcription. But one rather sits up at the opening Praeludium of Grieg's Holberg Suite, flutter-tonguing and all. It certainly invites and receives ready virtuosity but loses its natural charm, and the only two movements that transcribe really effectively are the Gavotte and closing Rigaudon.

Surprisingly perhaps, Schumann's First Violin Sonata is much more successful, with the outer movements full of lyricism and life, and the central Allegretto sounding really well on the trumpet. Mendelssohn's Second Cello Sonata too comes off quite engagingly, the Scherzo, not unexpectedly, quite delightful, the Adagio soaring up spectacularly; in the finale Jonathan Freeman-Attwood readily displays and enjoys the virtuosity. Karl Pilss wrote his sonata in 1935 and is determinedly communicative, with an unashamedly romantic Adagio, molto cantabile and a rollicking finale. Throughout, the trumpet playing of Freeman-Attwood is first class. But what makes this collection doubly enjoyable is the outstandingly responsive piano contribution from Daniel-Ben Pienaar, who is always excellently balanced with the trumpet.

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