Christian Lindberg: The Baroque Trombone

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bertali,Biber,Castello,Cesare,Frescobaldi & Speer
LABELS: BIS
PERFORMER: Christian Lindberg (sackbut); Members of the Australian CO
CATALOGUE NO: BIS CD-1688

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In its day, the sackbut was considered more at home with the strings and reeds than with the brass because it had a mellower sound than the trumpet. As it evolved into the modern trombone it became more powerful, acquiring a bigger broader tone but losing much of the subtle quality that had made it a congenial companion in a small ensemble. 

The notes to this CD contain a good deal of ingenious, quite persuasive special pleading to defend the practice of playing these compositions on a modern instrument and with 21st-century sensibilities while, in his preface, Lindberg makes much of the fact that he used a sackbut for the recording.

Despite his sensitive playing, the instrument seemed too large a presence for much of the music on first hearings of this CD, and in the more stately pieces, such as those by Speer, Biber and Cesare, I envisioned a lighter tone and softer texture. The ear soon adjusts, however, and there is no questioning Lindberg’s nimble articulation or feeling for the music.

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The members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (two violins plus continuo instruments) provide responsive and charming accompaniments and the programming is nicely balanced. Barry Witherden