The Art of Dancing: four dynamic new works for trumpet, piano and strings

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COMPOSERS: Borenstein,Gordon,Pritchard,Young
LABELS: Signum
ALBUM TITLE: The Art of Dancing
WORKS: Borenstein: Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings; Gordon: Saint Blue; Pritchard: Seven Halts on the Somme; Young: The Art of Dancing
PERFORMER: Simon Desbruslais (trumpet), Clare Hammond (piano); English String Orchestra/Kenneth Woods
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 513

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An instrument of marvellous fanfare and often untapped lyricism, the trumpet has been unjustly overlooked as a solo instrument. Trumpeter Simon Desbruslais has been doing sterling work to correct this oversight, and this exuberant disc offers an excellent follow-up to his 2014 Psalm: Contemporary British Trumpet Concertos. Young’s starting point here is Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto, in which the instrument a given prominent obbligatoline: it is this pairing of soloists that inspires these four dynamic new works for trumpet, piano and strings.

The disc’s title work, composed by Toby Young, is a playful reimagining of the Baroque suite, translating the form’s customary movements into various genres of electronic dance music, from ‘acid house’ to ‘drum and bass’. Young’s score conjures gorgeous sonorities, particularly in the string writing, and is matched by spritely, lyrical performances from Desbruslais and pianist Clare Hammond. Geoffrey Gordon’s Saint Blue is inspired by two Kandinsky paintings, All Saints I and In Blue and constructed as ‘a sonic exploration of the sacred and profane’, with the trumpet deployed first as an instrument of heavenly summons, then as the bluesy soul of jazz in this complex, richly-satisfying work. Deborah Pritchard’s Seven Halts on the Somme is an arresting response to a series of oil paintings by Hughie O’Donoghue, and pairs poignant commemoration with a powerful sense of musical drama. A sparkling exploration of cross-rhythm, Borenstein’s Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings concludes this beautifully performed, highly original disc. 

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Kate Wakeling