Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - An English Sett for Trumpet - BBC Music Magazine
Performance: 4 stars
Recording: 3 stars
In their ongoing mission to flesh-out the rather slender body of chamber music for trumpet and piano, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Daniel-Ben Pienaar here appropriate repertoire from the 17th century, one of the most glorious periods in English music. Arranger Timothy Jones re-paints the soundscape of Byrd, Dowland, William Lawes and their contemporaries in these inventive 're-imaginings', for the modern valve trumpet and grand piano, of viol consorts, madrigals, lute solos and dances. The fanfares and percussive rhythms of John Jenkins's battle piece Newark Siege sound brilliant and incisive on brass and keyboard, while the trumpet's sultry rasp turns Byrd's Kinbrugh Goodd Pavan into a deliciously languid blues. Effective, too, are some of the lyrical pieces, Freeman-Attwood coaxing a quasivocal sound from his instrument. Rather less convincing are the arrangements of consorts by Lawes and John Jenkins, where the equilibrium of the tight-knit counterpoint is thrown: the piano is a shade recessed in the recording perspective and the bright trumpet sound (in a generous acoustic) dominates what should be more balanced conversations. There's no doubting the technical prowess of these two crack performers, and it's hard not to share their guilty delight in this stolen booty: intonation and ensemble are spot-on, rhythms pulse, and their virtuosity really takes wing in the exhilarating adaptation of Morley's 'Now is the month of Maying', with its daringly elaborated variations. The disc somewhat lacks textural variety, though, and is best appreciated in small doses.