Collection: 20th-Century Music for Trumpet and Organ

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COMPOSERS: Eben,Hovhaness,Jolivet,Lowry,Persichetti,Plog
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Music by Eben, Plog, Hovhaness, Persichetti, Jolivet, Lowry
PERFORMER: Anthony Plog (trumpet), Hans-Ola Ericsson (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 565 DDD

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Described as ‘fortuitous’ (by trumpeter and scholar Edward Tarr in the sleeve-note of the first disc) the combination of trumpet and organ has inspired a considerable number of composers in the 20th century. Both the two discs here feature this repertoire exclusively, with the common ground of Jolivet’s Arioso barocco and Windows by Petr Eben.

With these releases, and a performance by John Wallace at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, Eben’s work, inspired by four of Marc Chagall’s stained-glass windows, looks to be flavour of the month. Two rather different performances emerge from these recordings, not least created by the locations. BIS has chosen a somewhat reverberant church acoustic, with the organ often booming and ponderous, and a distant-sounding trumpet. Effective in Green Window, with muted trumpet imperceptibly blending into the organ texture, this makes for a more atmospheric account, although it sometimes loses the clarity which the closely-miked Touvron boasts.

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Conversely, this clarity enables Krapp’s precisely articulated chords in Golden Window to contrast more markedly with the melismatic trumpet line. A misinterpretation of Jolivet’s title Arioso barocco in RCA’s note as ‘poetic evocation of older music’ is corrected by Tarr, who explains the ‘barocco’ derivation as an ‘irregular pearl, with the connotation “distorted” ’. Performance-wise there is little to choose between them, but Touvron has a warmer sound (note the mysterious, cup-muted opening) which the various organ stops attempt to throw off-centre. Deborah Calland