WORKS: Arutiunian: Trumpet Concerto; Birtwistle: Endless Parade; Jost: Pietà; Roger: Concerto Grosso No. 1, Op.27
PERFORMER: Philippe Schartz (trumpet); BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Jac van Steen
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10562
Arutiunian’s Concerto is a favourite among trumpeters who can relish its combination of lush harmonies, folksy melodies, and virtuoso display. Musically it’s thin stuff, but Philippe Schartz adopts a suitably vibrato-laden tone, and is more than equal to the technical demands of the work.
The orchestra is captured with great depth of sound, even more important in the Birtwistle, where the multi-layered textures of the strings and vibraphone are superbly disentangled. But Schartz can’t quite erase the memory of Hardenberger’s pioneering recording, nor is Jac van Steen as sympathetic a conductor as Elgar Howarth in piloting the listener around Birtwistle’s recreated memories of a parade in Lucca, as seen from various perspectives.
Kurt Roger’s Concerto Grosso is a neo-classical work: composed in 1930s Vienna, its musical weight is concentrated in the central Adagio, where the performers are at their best. In the outer contrapuntal movements, which are more like a musical workout than actual music, some rhythmic laxness robs the recording of bite.
Christian Jost’s 2004 Pietà is a much more rewarding listening experience, despite being almost uniformly slow. Subtitled in memoriam Chet Baker, it unfolds like a funereal piece of cool jazz, and finds soloist and orchestra firing on all cylinders. Martin Cotton