“Battalia!” – Baroque Battle Music for Trumpet Consort – Works by FANTINI, SUSATO, PRAETORIUS, ATTAIGNANT, BENDINELLI, GASTOLDI & GARSI – Tibicines/ Igino Conforzi – Arts

by | Jul 5, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

“Battalia!” – Baroque Battle Music for Trumpet Consort – Works by FANTINI, SUSATO, PRAETORIUS, ATTAIGNANT, BENDINELLI, GASTOLDI & GARSI – Tibicines/ Igino Conforzi – Arts Multichannel SACD 47666-8 (Distr. by Albany), 55:12 ***:

“Just the disc to select out of the SACDs needing reviewing to audition on July 4th” thought I.  Zounds! I didn’t realize until it got to the final track – 17 – that this is a “Telarc 1812 Overture” for early music aficionados! Upon reading the jewelbox I saw that it does promise “a real Baroque battle in surround sound.” Well, THAT would be bit difficult for many reasons, but there is a 4 1/2 minute mock battle in sound, using the music of some of the composers in this collection plus authentic bombards and cannon of the period. There are horses neighing, swords clashing, yells, and plenty of explosions – enough to upset any pets in the listening room though not as deep in the bass end as the 1812 cannon. What’s somewhat disconcerting is that the listener is right in the middle of the battle in quite realistic 5-channel surround.

A most interesting musicological/historical document certainly. Some of the history of battle music is discussed in the line notes by conductor Conforzi.  The notes from the composer of a work created for a wedding celebration were especially piquant: “The Clarino player should have a large glass of wine in his hand and whenever he feels the need he should drink a mouthful until the sonata has finished, and then the other trumpeters should drink again to imitate the song.”  Perhaps after following those instructions these works would sound better musically. As it is I was wondering at the badmouthing of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 – these pieces  for brass based around the only notes which the valveless instruments were able to play aren’t exactly masterpieces. If it weren’t for some vocal sections and a few other non-brass instruments joining in on some of the works after the first few tracks, I would have been ready to yell “I Surrender!”  There were many battle pieces for harpsichord; one or two of those would have added some variety to the Revele-like sameness of the trumpet pieces.

— John Sunier
 

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