The Lightning Fields—New music for trumpet and piano = Music by Michael DAUGHERTY, Kevin MCKEE, Richard PEASLEE, Anthony PLOG, Daniel SCHNYDER – Jason Bergman, trumpet & flugelhorn – Steven Harlos, piano – MSR

The Lightning Fields—New music for trumpet and piano = Music by Michael DAUGHERTY, Kevin MCKEE, Richard PEASLEE, Anthony PLOG, Daniel SCHNYDER – Jason Bergman, trumpet & flugelhorn – Steven Harlos, piano – MSR Classics Stereo CD MS 1630 (11/16/16) ****:

Some fine contemporary music for trumpet and piano played with gusto, well recorded

This disc is a world premiere recording of captivating contemporary music for trumpet or flugelhorn—some unaccompanied, some with piano.

The music here is varied, but always dynamic. The trumpet and flugelhorn playing by Bergman is first rate, and as a former brass player myself, I’m impressed with the technique he offers, and the quality of his intonation.

Most of the works are for piano and trumpet, but the McKee work, The Adventures of…. is for unaccompanied trumpet and it is a distinctive showpiece.

Another standout is Plog’s Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, written in 2009. Plug has consistently written interesting contemporary music, and his Sonata is no exception. At the opening, the trumpet is almost treated like carillon bells, after which the dissonant piano enters to great effect.

Michael Daugherty’s The Lightning Fields, from which the disc derives its title, I found to be quite enjoyable.

The disc ranges from some mellow, almost jazzy sounds, to more contemporary and dissonant music. Throughout, Bergman is always in control of his instrument.

A word about the recording. I have always found it difficult to capture the unique sound of a trumpet in a recording. I’ve tried it myself back in the days when I was recording musical groups. Yet this recording get’s the trumpet exactly right to my ear.

The soundstage is realistic in stereo, and I let the disc play in expanded by Dolby Pro-Logic on my multichannel system which seemed to open up the soundstage and provide a bit of rear ambiance. This is also a terrific disc if you listen on headphones.

I’m always happy to see contemporary music being offered on disc or download—broadening the realm of classical music; the traditional repertoire is well represented. This disc gives you a selection of the best of contemporary music, with Bergman and pianist Steven Carlos giving it their all.

Recommended.

Track List:
RICHARD PEASLEE (1930-2016)
CATALONIA (2003)
I. With fire
II. Slow, with warmth
III. Wired, excited

DANIEL SCHNYDER (b.1961)
SONATA FOR TRUMPET AND PIANO (1994; revised 2013)

MICHAEL DAUGHERTY (b.1954)
THE LIGHTNING FIELDS (2015)
I. Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles, California)
II. The Lightning Field (Catron County, New Mexico)
III. Marfa Lights (U.S. Route 67, Marfa, Texas)
IV. Times Square (New York City)

KEVIN MCKEE (b.1980)
SONG FOR A FRIEND (2015)

ANTHONY PLOG (b.1947)
SONATA FOR TRUMPET AND PIANO (2009)
I. Moderato
II. Lento and with freedom
III. Molto vivace
IV. Moderato

KEVIN MCKEE
THE ADVENTURES OF… for unaccompanied trumpet (2016)

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