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New Standards

Simon Höfele (trumpet), Elisabeth Brauss (piano) (Berlin Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
BC New Standards

New Standards
Works by Arutiunian, Enescu, Françaix, Hindemith, Honegger and Pilss
Simon Höfele (trumpet), Elisabeth Brauss (piano)
Berlin Classics 0301761 BC   61:28 mins

As a sequel to his recording Standards, featuring works for trumpet and orchestra, with New Standards the German trumpeter Simon Höfele has now recorded a survey of 20th-century classics for his instrument. Any such list has to include two essential pieces, and indeed Enescu’s Légende and Hindemith’s Sonata form the heart of this new enterprise. The earliest of the works here, Légende (1906) reveals this player’s glowing, molten tone, ideally suited to the slowing swelling musical lines. In the Sonata, Höfele’s exciting attack is matched by the pianist Elisabeth Brauss, who brings wonderfully assertive characterisation to her part. Both players nurture the mournful chorale of the finale, ‘Alle Menschen müssen sterben’, with the trumpeter displaying remarkable breath control in the soft, sustained final notes.

The obvious rapport between Höfele and Brauss is based on a shared musical sensibility that they bring to all the works, and the disc opens with Honegger’s Intrada. Karl Pilss’s Sonata is a welcome reminder of this interesting figure in Austrian music, with a haunting slow movement and finale carried off here with virtuosity. The tone is lightened by Jean Françaix’s playful Sonatine, delivered by both musicians with stylish insouciance. Having included Alexander Arutiunian’s celebrated concerto for the trumpet on Standards, Höfele returns to the Armenian composer for his Aria et Scherzo, a showcase for playing of soft control but also making a brilliant finale to this highly enjoyable release.

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John Allison