Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Faure - AllMusic
It's very hard to figure out from the graphics what one is getting here: are the pieces vocalises or for a trumpet? And how is Lydia involved? As it turns out, only two of the vocalises have anything to do with Lydia, the name of a Fauré song, and the pieces were indeed originally vocalises. They are played here on a trumpet, according to the musicians, because they were originally vocal exercises that push the voice to its limits, but rest easily under a trumpeter's fingers; the real reason, perhaps, is that an hour of vocalises would be a bit much to take. The 37 vocalises included were not a single work nor even a collection of them; they've been arranged here in order from easier to more difficult, but there's no real reason to perform them together. All this said, the music has two things going for it. First, these pieces are genuine lost works, world premieres rescued from obscure manuscripts. Fauré did not write them for publication; they were exercises and exams dating from the composer's tenure as director of the Paris Conservatoire, beginning in 1905. And second and better still, they're genuinely interesting little works, most of them under a minute in length. They form something of a Fauré vocal counterpart to the Mikrokosmos for piano, Bartók's six-volume collection for piano students. Several of Fauré's works, perhaps returned to a vocal context, could be used as delightful unexpected recital items; they contain Fauré musical language in miniature. The accompaniment parts are extremely restricted and simple, and pianist Roy Howat does not chafe against that here. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood's quiet, direct approach on the trumpet is just right. Recommended for Fauré lovers.