Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - La Trompette Retrouvee - Atlanta Audio Society


Pity the thin repertoire for trumpet and piano. In La Trompette Retrouvée (The Trumpet Rediscovered), Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (trumpet) and Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) have set about to rectify this sorry state of affairs with a brilliant program of their own transcriptions of French music from Baroque to modern. Included are a suite from Jean-Philippe Rameau's 1748 "heroic pastoral" Naïs, Reynaldo Hahn's á Chloris (1916), a suite of four piano pieces transcribed from Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894), Romanza from Camille Saint-Saëns' Cello Sonata No. 2 (1905), and a complete transcription of Gabriel Fauré's Violin Sonata, Op. 108 (1917).

The Rameau suite is brilliantly executed, although I feel the modern piano sounds a bit anachronistic here in partnership with the trumpet (I would have preferred an organ), especially since it largely parallels the latter's melody line. The dances in this suite are often rambunctious, particularly the two Rigaudons and the concluding Contradanse genérale. Freeman-Attwood demonstrates a lovely legato in the Reynaldo Hahn piece, Saint-Saëns' Romanza, and the central section of Chabrier's "Aubade," moments that are surely highlights of the recital. In the Danse villageoise (Village Dance) and the Scherzo-valse from Picturesque Pieces Chabrier's rustic vitality and bold harmonic strokes come up fresh as paint in these transcriptions.

In his notes to the Fauré sonata, Freeman-Attwood cites the qualities that make it ideal for transcription to trumpet and piano: its "keenly-worked conceit of littered clarion calls, neatly apportioned double-tongued passages, and bright-belled and luminescent lyricism." One need not accept his contention that the melody line is more idiomatically suited for trumpet than violin (I don't) in order to see his point. The performances are their own best argument, and they sound great in Linn's hybrid multichannel sonics.

01 April 2007