Arutiunian, Pakhmutova, Vainberg

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Arutiunian,Pakhmutova,Vainberg
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Trumpet Concerto; Variations for trumpet and orchestra
PERFORMER: Bibi Black (trumpet); Moscow CO/Constantine Orbelian
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9668
That this disc, recorded last year by a Russian production team at the Mosfilm Studios in Moscow, should have appeared on Chandos, renowned for the excellence of its recordings, defies belief. The ill-defined, one-dimensional sound certainly does the Moscow Chamber Orchestra no favours and fails to lift the depressing prospect of 35 minutes of music by Alexander Arutiunian. An old warhorse of student trumpeters keen to display their authoritative tone, lyrical phrasing and double-tonguing skills, the one-movement Concerto by Arutiunian is full of purple prose. The haunting muted section is sensitively handled by American trumpeter Bibi Black, but the work is marred by its amateurish, vulgar orchestration. Black’s well-shaped phrases are coloured with an attractive vibrato and her clear, commanding sound has a plummy low register, but there is some discomfort with moments of poor intonation, especially in the over-bright high range.

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The most interesting work on this disc is the Concerto from 1967 by Moisei Vainberg. It comprises three movements entitled ‘Études’, ‘Episodes’ and ‘Fanfares’, with the latter forming an extended, extrovert, sparsely accompanied quasi-cadenza, in which the solo part revisits some of the trumpet repertoire’s most prominent moments, such as Mahler’s Fifth, The Golden Cockerel, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and the infamous solo in Petrushka. Deborah Calland