tenThing: Albeniz, Bizet, Grieg, Koetsier, Mozart, Piazzolla and Weil – tenThing [TrackList follows] – EMI Classics ICPN 5099908832627, 68:46 ***(*):
Hoping to catch the wave of a trend, or to start one, EMI Classics has launched its debut recording of a 10-piece all-female ensemble, tenThing, lead by budding EMI superstar trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth. Playing effective if unadventurous arrangements by Norwegian guitarist and arranger Jarle Storløkken (a male, ironically) the ensemble runs through lollipops by Bizet, Albeniz, Grieg, Mozart (the “Rondo all Turca,” what else?) and Piazzolla; there’s a suite from The Threepenny Opera, and 15 minutes of forgettable but well-made music by Dutch composer, educator and conductor Jan Koetsier (1911-2006).
The problem with this tenThing CD is that the volume has to be cranked up to really catch the flavor of the music-making and feel the thrilling ambiance of the Norwegian Opera in Oslo where it was recorded; only then does the virtuoso playing spread its wings and connect with the hall’s spatial dimensionality. Only then does the low bass in the two Piazzolla items come alive, although at just about any levels Helseth’s solo playing in the Mozart is highly addicting.
In general, however, listening at low to moderate levels, or for background the results sound perfunctory.
TrackList:1 Carmen Suite for orchestra No. 1 (assembled by Ernest Guirard): Prelude – Les Toréadors – Habanera – Danse bohème (6:29) Georges Bizet
2 Suite española No. 1, for piano, Op. 47, B. 7: Asturias (6:10) Isaac Albéniz
3 Invierno porteño, tango (incl. in Cuatro estaciones porteñas [The Four Seasons]) (6:24) Astor Piazzolla
4-10 Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera), opera: Brass Suite Kurt Weill
11 Bedstemors menuet (Grandmother’s Minuet), lyric piece for piano, Op. 68/2 (2:06) Edvard Grieg
12 Gjendines bådnlåt (Gjendine’s Cradle Song), Norwegian folk song for piano, Op. 66/19 (1:30) Edvard Grieg
13 Troldtog (March of the Dwarfs), lyric piece for orchestra No. 4 (orchestration of Op. 54/3) (3:40) Edvard Grieg
14 Verano porteño, tango (incl. in Cuatro estaciones porteñas [The Four Seasons]) (6:25) Astor Piazzolla
15–17 Symphony for Brass, Op 80 (13:54) Jan Koetsier, Jan Koetsier
18 Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major (“Alla Turca”) K. 331 (K. 300i): Rondo alla Turca (3:25) Mozart
“Perhaps the most fluently consummate performer on the keyboard of all time…”