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The Fam’d Italian Masters

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Cazzati,Grossi,Lazzari
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Fam’d Italian Masters
WORKS: Works by Lazzari, Cazzati, Grossi,
PERFORMER: Crispian Steele-Perkins, Alison Balsom (trumpet); The Parley of Instruments/ Peter Holman (organ)
Peter Holman makes a convincing case for accompanying trumpet pieces one-to-a-part and the solo strings are sparklingly transparent, if at the cost of a momentary purple patch in unison violin tuning. But surprisingly they also balance the two trumpets, without audible manipulation of the recording. John Hawkins wrote that the famous Baroque trumpeter John Shore sounded ‘sweet as an hautboy’, an ideal which Steele-Perkins wholeheartedly embraces. He has found a remarkable duet partner in Alison Balsom, a touch less discreet than he perhaps, but every bit as fluent. They play together in two sonatas completely new to me and the familiar Vivaldi double concerto, and each has a couple of sonatas on their own. There’s remarkable variety within so circumscribed a repertoire – brilliant opening and closing trumpet allegros (including a charmingly silly tune by Jacchini), often strings alone in between, with a specially memorable cello/violin dialogue by Lazzari. There are, though, several instances of beautifully lyrical trumpet-playing, and the recording capitalises on a wide stereo spectrum to emphasise their dialogues. A disc of two trumpets is less daunting than might be thought and the instruments are leavened with four string Sonate à quattro, beautifully played. George Pratt