Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - A Bach Notebook for Trumpet - Limelight

An agreeable Bachian tonic to cure jaded musical sensibilities

The Bach family seems set on becoming as inescapable as the Kardashian fungibles. Once again, music by all sorts of profoundly obscure Bachs, as well as by J.S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Wilhelm Friedemann, and Johann Christian, has been covered.

And yes, we behold here a piano in all its tonal glory, not a harpsichord, let alone a clavichord. The trumpet-piano combination has seldom generated original music (among front-ranking composers only Hindemith employed it, and even he struggled to make it interesting). Still, in these arrangements, carried out by pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar from a bewildering variety of organ, chamber, and orchestral originals - even the theatre is acknowledged, an overture from J.C. Bach's 1779 opera Amadis of Gaul having been included - it works like the proverbial charm.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is a real find. His trumpet timbre resembles the late Maurice Andre:
intrinsically straightforward but with judicious vibrato for emotive purposes, and with boundless panache. The pianism of his colleague avoids both undue pedalling and tiresomely excessive staccato. On occasion fast speeds impair chorale-preludes contrapuntal lucidity; yet overall, jaded sensibilities will consider this production a very agreeable tonic. Both performers benefit from remarkably vivid, well-balanced sound. May we have a sequel, please?

17 September 2013