WORKS: Nobody Knows De Trouble I’ve Seen: music by Zimmermann, Killmayer, Berio, Rihm, Scelsi
PERFORMER: Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet); Frankfurt RSO/Dmitri Kitaenko
CATALOGUE NO: 10 482 DDD
What better voice for protest than the trumpet, historically one of the first methods of communication, and used as such by BA Zimmermann in his Concerto of 1954? Zimmermann is known for his use of quotation and here, through the presence of the spiritual Nobody Knows De Trouble I’ve Seen, the technique serves to communicate his message: outrage against the equally long tradition of racism.
Combining jazz-inspired episodes with material derived from a 12-note row (borrowed from his Oboe Concerto of 1952), the work – scored for trumpet, strings and big band – achieves a successful musical and therefore symbolic homogeneity. The commitment and expertise of Reinhold Friedrich and Dmitri Kitaenko are equalled in their investigation of Wilhelm Killmayer’s The Broken Farewell for trumpet and small orchestra.
In contrast to Zimmermann’s full-blooded images, Killmayer’s ideas are sketched in slender enigmatic outlines suggesting some distant past. Arresting and disappointingly brief. Friedrich has also made his mark in more familiar territory. Classical Trumpet Concertos astutely features the ASMF under Neville Marriner, a team experienced in this repertory (having accompanied notable exponents such as Wilbraham and Hardenberger), but whose approach is noticeably rethought and updated for this performance – particularly the crisper, rawer sound of the wind.
The slow movements in both the Haydn and Hummel concertos are taken at an unusually, but more authentically, brisk tempo, which serves to convey entire lines (musically played) rather than over-indulged phrases, and both works are refreshingly stripped of excessively Romantic nuances.
To explorers of the byways of 18th-century music, Guy Touvron’s recording of trumpet concertos by Johann Melchior Molter can be thoroughly recommended – though it is perhaps better sampled than played from start to finish. Deborah Calland