ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Prires Sans Paroles
PERFORMER: Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet); Simon Preston (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1109
Admirers of the celebrated French composer and organist Naji Hakim will no doubt have been looking forward to a recording of his Sonata for Trumpet and Organ with such distinguished soloists. Hakim’s piece is one of the most substantial – at least in length – for this combination, and to ears attuned
to French frivolity, the jazz and fairground elements may seem a welcome antidote to the world of
the organ loft.
By far the most interesting work on the disc, and the most successfully recorded, is Jolivet’s slow-moving, mysterious Arioso barocco; it is here that the engineers almost get away with the over-prominent placing of the trumpet, since the distant murmurings of the organ could be said to enhance the atmosphere. Elsewhere the problem is much more apparent: the characteristically luscious harmonies of this French repertoire are too recessed to be enjoyed, most of the detail in the organ part is lost, and the excitement of a full fortissimo – such as the organ’s first entry in Sauguet’s Non morietur in aeternum – is dulled.
The disc is available in both normal and Super Audio CD formats, and it is possible that the balance of instruments is more satisfactory in the latter, which I haven’t sampled. Deborah Calland