Watkins Burrell MacMillan Samuel Byrchmore, Hawkins Holloway

COMPOSERS: Hawkins Holloway,Watkins Burrell MacMillan Samuel Byrchmore
LABELS: Deux-Elles
WORKS: Works for trumpet and organ
PERFORMER: Deborah Calland (trumpet), William Whitehead (organ)
Paradoxically the organ is a ‘natural’ both as solo or accompanying instrument; as a conversing partner it can be more problematic – something Francis Poulenc must undoubtedly have realised when he scored his Concerto for the neatly contrasting sonorities of strings and timpani. Despite an overlapping soundworld the trumpet is a natural ally, though, and Deborah Calland has nurtured the alliance by commissioning such disparate works as Diana Burrell’s bright, thrusting North Star, Robin Holloway’s engaging, sometimes whimsical Canzona and Toccata, and Rhian Samuel’s Threnody with Fanfares which acknowledges the 19th century in its Reger-ish laments and iconic fanfares. Less ‘with the grain’ is Huw Watkins’ Three Orations. Though digested in a sitting, the disc as a whole suggests that stereotypes are not easily discarded; rumblings and toccata interjections for the organ here, fanfare figuration for trumpet there. A pause between courses is advisable to savour both the insightful characterisations of Deborah Calland’s expressive trumpet, and the attentive focus of William Whitehead – who also plays solo works by MacMillan and Byrchmore, revelling in the pungency of Douai Abbey’s Ticknell organ and acoustic. Paul Riley