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Trumpet Masque - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - The Scotsman

11 April 2008
The Scotsman
Kenneth Walton
3 Stars

A programme of Renaissance and Baroque music played on the trumpet and piano is not something one would ordinarily be drawn to. But don't be fooled by this one. The combination of Jonathan Freeman-Attwood's fiery trumpet playing, Daniel-Ben Pienaar's high-energy pianism, and the latter's imaginatively and stylistically sensitive arrangements make for mostly compelling listening. Perhaps one or two of the works just don't quite pass muster. Couperin's Chromhorne sur la Taille - adapted from one of his Organ Masses - is more a token experience than an inspired one especially as Freeman-Attwood has to displace bits of the original melody to make it playable on  his instrument. But other organ works - particularly Sweelinck's Variations of ‘Onder een linds groen' and Marchand's eccentric Grand Dialogue du 5e ton - translate well, their virtuosity amplified by the duo's red-hot performances. The trumpet's lyrical quality is thoroughly explored, too, with songs by Dowland, sonatas by Biber and Muffat, and even Purcell's silken Fantasia 4, all of which succumb to Freeman-Attwood and Pienaar's rich and varied musical charm. In an age where historical authenticity has flowered to maturity, it's comforting to know playful anachronistic tinkering can have its own acceptable charm.
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