Trumpet Masque - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Brass Review

Linn Records present ‘Trumpet Masque' the 3rd in a series "re-imagining" music for solo trumpet, performed by the highly acclaimed trumpeter Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, who is again joined by South African-born pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar. Featuring music composed in the 17th century in what can best be described as a vibrant and radical new look at works from that era, with a compelling vision of repertoire historically far-removed from the traditional contexts of both instruments.

In his programme notes, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood states: "The 17th century was a golden age for trumpet players...Whilst their music was largely confined to the theatre of battle (or imitation thereof) and ceremonial routine, as the century progressed ‘la tromba' appeared increasingly as a versatile protagonist in instrumental art music...Virtuoso obligato trumpet parts also began to illuminate vocal works, both in church and on stage by the end of the 1600s".

Works by sixteen composers (Marchand, Couperin, Gabrieli, Cabanilles, de Arauxo, Schütz, Monteverdi, Buxtehude, Böhm, Dowland, Holborne, Purcell, Sweenlinck, Lully, Biber and Muffat) each active from 1600 to 1700, are featured on this ambitious album, the soloist using six different types of modern trumpets, accompanied by a large concert grand piano.

The latest release rates equally as highly as the two previous albums in the series. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is a true master of all the trumpets, with his piccolo trumpet playing exquisite. He is accompanied by the equally excellent pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar.

They are the perfect dream team.

Choosing a favourite title is something of a lottery, with 73 minutes of trumpet magic on offer, but if really pushed this reviewer would have to select George Muffat's ‘Sonata No.5 in G Major' the 5-movement concluding track, which calls on both supreme virtuosity, stamina and musicality from both soloist and accompanist.

Recorded at St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, engineer Philip Hobbs captures a true trumpet sound. Linn Records are also to be commended for another high quality product, which includes comprehensive programme and artist notes.

‘Trumpet Masque' ticks all the boxes, is a five star product and a "must have" album for trumpet student and professionals alike.

Brass Review
01 October 2008