Barber, Ives, Foote & Copland

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COMPOSERS: Barber,Foote & Copland,Ives
LABELS: Capriccio
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Budapest Strings
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet), Lajos Lencsés (oboe, cor anglais), János Bálint (flute); Budapest Strings/Károly Botvay
CATALOGUE NO: 10 505
The impetus behind this disc must surely be the wish of Reinhold Friedrich to record the Ives, Barber and Copland works which lie close to the heart of many trumpeters. It is surprising, therefore, that the remainder of the disc features both familiar and unfamiliar pieces for strings, rather than offering further examples of the special tradition of trumpet-writing in the United States. Two items by Arthur Foote (1853-1937) serve to illustrate how far Ives was ahead of his time – Foote’s Suite in E was composed one year after The Unanswered Question, yet belongs to a different era – but in this instance 27 minutes seems a long time to illustrate a point, and the works jar with the otherwise mainly introspective and evocative nature of the disc.

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Quiet City was one of Copland’s most popular works in his lifetime. The interpretation on this recording bears the hallmark of Friedrich, with its close adherence to the ‘nervous, mysterious’ instruction at the trumpet’s first entry (something not achieved by Bernstein in his DG recording of 1986). There is still ample opportunity for Friedrich to display the warmth of his sound, evident also in the Ives and in Barber’s Capricorn Concerto. Those not previously familiar with the Budapest Strings, or indeed the soloists, are left none the wiser by the booklet, which offers no biographies or photographs of the artists. Deborah Calland