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Altissima – Works for High Baroque Trumpet

Josh Cohen (baroque trumpet); Ensemble Sprezzatura/Daniel Abraham (Chandos)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Altissima – Works for High Baroque Trumpet
Works by C Bond, Endler, Finger, Graupner, Reiche, Rittler, Telemann and Weichlein
Josh Cohen (baroque trumpet); Ensemble Sprezzatura/Daniel Abraham
Chandos CHAN 0828   67:03 mins

This varied programme of Baroque trumpet virtuosity begins with a fanfare attributed to Gottfried Reiche, a Leipzig trumpeter who played for Bach on many occasions. His portrait, painted by EG Haussmann, shows him holding a melody. The fanfare lasts all of 32 seconds.

Of considerably greater substance and merit are concertos by Graupner and Telemann, both of whom profusely demonstrated their skill in writing for assorted wind instruments. The D major Concerto by Graupner, for trumpet, strings and continuo, is mainly conventional in its clearly defined opposition between solos and tuttis. The third movement, though, possesses greater originality.

It is, however, the Telemann Concerto for trumpet, two oboes and continuo which stands head and shoulders above the remainder of the programme. The oboes not only provide accompaniment to the trumpet, but also maintain a concertante role with extended passages of their own, especially in the concluding Vivace. Most beguiling, perhaps, is the melancholy ‘Siciliano’, where the trumpet is tacet and the oboes weave a heady pastoral web.

Among the remaining pieces, a Ciaccona by Austrian composer, Philipp Jakob Rittler for two trumpets and strings, English West Country composer Capel Bond’s Trumpet Concerto in D major, with its concluding Larghetto bringing Handel to mind, and a Sinfonia for trumpet, two horns, violin, oboe, bassoon, timpani and strings by German composer, Johann Samuel Endler broaden a colourful spectrum.

Nicholas Anderson