Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - The Neoclassical Trumpet - BBC Music Magazine

Performance: 4 stars
Recording: 4 stars

Purists look away now. Having already viewed various Baroque and Romantic works through the prism of trumpet and piano, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Daniel-Ben Pienaar now reimagine composers' own reimaginings of the past by turning their attention to neoclassicism. As ever, the results are intriguing, sometimes provocative or debateable, but always fun and exceptionally well-played.

All except Marcinu's compelling Sonatine are arrangements by Pienaar, with Stravinsky being a predictable starting point (did they consider Poulenc's Les biches?). This arrangement of Pulcinella is not taken from Suite Italienne, Stravinsky's own arrangement for violin and piano, bur the orchestral suite. Nonetheless, comparison with the string piece is instructive. Much here works extremely well with lots of variety of colour, yet it is all a little too polished. Oddly enough, the trumpet is too lyrical, missing the gritty bite and grain of a string instrument.

Faure's Masques et bergamasques by contrast is particularly effective, especially the Overture and Gavotta, and Respighi's Gli Uccelli convinces that it could have been written for this combination. Walter Leigh's brief A Midsummer Night's Dream Suite is only mildly diverting, but Stenhammar's Mellanspel provides a moving postlude to an enjoyable disc.

BBC Music Magazine
01 October 2015