Trumpet music has been a strong part of French musical culture for centuries, but there are some gaps in the repertory which can be filled with works transcribed from chamber music written for other instruments. In this case the focus was on works which were not overly played in their original form. Some were just for piano, the Rameau for small ensemble, the St.-Saëns for cello and piano and the Faure is really his Second Violin Sonata. It is not such a simple matter to transcribe many of these works to the dynamic combination of trumpet and piano – proper handling of the chamber music sonorities is a challenge.
The Rameau suite which opens the SACD is in eight movements, and is probably the most dramatic transformation, taking the baroque dances into a more modern-sounding world. The Saint-Saëns – from a composer who did include trumpet parts in some of his chamber works – makes the move from cello to trumpet smoothly. Faure, however, would never have conceived of a trumpet in his chamber music, but his transcription creates a fine trumpet-piano sonata from the original for violin. The piano part stays basically the same, but the transition from violin to trumpet (by Freeman-Atwood) required considerable thought and adjustment.
The two performers are at medium distance and a good feeling of the venue is produced in the 5.0 surround option. Freeman-Atwood has lovely tonal shadings – crisp and very precise – and the program has enough variety to keep interest thruout. A fine addition to the trumpet-piano repertoire.
– John Sunier