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Virtuoso / Rolf Smedvig


Release Date: 01/25/2000 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80550   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachVincenzo BelliniFranz Joseph HaydnMaria Theresia Paradis,   ... 
Performer:  Rolf SmedvigMichael MurrayEric RuskeJeffrey Curnow,   ... 
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber OrchestraEmpire Brass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Smedvig's playing has a distinctive, mellifluous and smooth-edged tone and the tracks here demonstrate this admirably ...

This album is essentially a sampler drawn from Rolf Smedvig's extensive Telarc discography. The first three tracks on the album and a couple later on come from Smedvig's two concerto CDs with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Jahja Ling. The majority of the tracks, though, feature Smedvig as leader of Empire Brass, arguably the world's best known brass quintet, of which he is a founding member.

If you have heard any of Smedvig's playing before, you will know that he has a distinctive, mellifluous and smooth-edged tone as a trumpeter, which is remarkably consistent throughout his
Read more range. All of the tracks assembled here demonstrate this admirably, and if your primary concern in purchasing a disc like this is the quality of the trumpet playing, then you can purchase with confidence. There are some programming issues though.

All of the concerto extracts are brilliantly played, but while some movements can just about stand alone – the final movements of the Haydn and Hummel concertos, for example – others suffer from being out of context. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to start the disc with the final movement of Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto was clearly enthralled by Smedvig's art and oblivious to Bach's. It makes the album sound like it has begun in half way through, or like a couple of tracks have been skipped. It would have been better, in my view, to have either kept this disc an all Empire Brass affair, or to have bookended it with complete concerto performances. There is room for another 22 minutes of music on this disc – more than enough time to have accommodated the other two movements of the second Brandenburg Concerto and to have closed the disc with, say, the complete Tartini concerto without any other change to the programme.

Of the non-concerto items, there is plenty to entertain and excite. The Holborne item is perky and exciting, though the tambourine gets to be a bit tiresome. The Siciliene is quite lovely. Smedvig's bright tone brings shine to Bach's famous Badinerie, but his ornamentation feels overdone and will offend purists – assuming they are able to countenance a trumpet playing the flute part in the first place! And then there is the Sibley Sanctus Lydian, a modal chant that recalls – or, rather, is recalled by – the lonely trumpet that intones at the Catacombs in Respighi's Pines of Rome. Smedvig plays beautifully here, but the computerised percussion is really very irritating.

The arrangements of classical favourites that fill out the rest of the programme are quite impressive and include the stand out tracks from a couple of albums previously reviewed on this site: the Bacchanale from Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, and the Dance of the Comedians from Smetana's Bartered Bride.

The booklet notes offer a brief biography of Rolf Smedvig and details of the albums from which the various tracks on this compilation are drawn, but no information on the music itself. This only reinforces the point I made earlier in this review. If your primary concern is Smedvig's impressive artistry and you have little interest in the music for its own sake, then this album will suit you nicely. If you are interested in the music as well, you would do better to pick up a couple of Smedvig's other discs instead. My recommendations would be the disc of trumpet concertos from which the Haydn, Hummel, Tartini and Bellini extracts are taken (Telarc CD-80232) and an Empire Brass disc this sampler does not sample: Braggin' in Brass (Telarc CD-80249), featuring arrangements of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and others.

-- Tim Perry, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major, BWV 1047: 3rd movement, Allegro assai by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1718; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1989-92 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: This selection was recorded at City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland and Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio. 
2.
Concerto for Oboe in E flat major: 2nd Movement, Allegro by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1825; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Trumpet in E flat major, H 7e no 1: 3rd movement, Finale by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Sicilienne in E flat major by Maria Theresia Paradis
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1992 
Venue:  First United Methodist Church, Cleveland 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
5.
Elizabethan Dance Suite: Gigue by Anthony Holborne
Performer:  Eric Ruske (French Horn), Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet), Sam Pilafian (Tuba),
Richard Jensen (Percussion), Scott Hartman (Trombone), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 08/1990 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
6.
Suite for Orchestra no 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Badinerie by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1989-92 
Length: 1 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: This selection was recorded at City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland and Masonic
Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio.
Composition written: Leipzig, Germany (1738 - 1739). 
7.
Concerto for Trumpet in E flat major, S 49/WoO 1: 3rd movement, Rondo by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
8.
Suite in G major: 3rd Movement, Allegro by Tomaso Albinoni
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet), Eric Ruske (French Horn), Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet),
Sam Pilafian (Tuba), Scott Hartman (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/1990 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
9.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Sam Pilafian (Tuba), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet), Scott Hartman (Trombone),
Eric Ruske (), Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Written: 1877 
Date of Recording: 08/1992 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in A major, K 331 (300i): 3rd movement, Rondo alla turca by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet), Everett Beale (Percussion), Richard Jensen (Percussion),
Scott Hartman (Trombone), Sam Pilafian (Tuba), Eric Ruske (French Horn),
Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Trumpet in D major: 3rd movement, Allegro grazioso by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Jahja Ling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
12.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Dance of the Comedians by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet), Arthur Press (Percussion), Richard Jensen (Percussion),
Scott Hartman (Trombone), Sam Pilafian (Tuba), Martin Hackleman (French Horn),
Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863/1870; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 08/1989 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
13.
Sibley sanctus lydian by Anonymous
Performer:  Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet), Kurt Wortman (Percussion), Ken Amis (Tuba),
Douglas Wright (Trombone), Eric Ruske (French Horn), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: This selection was recorded at Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA and Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, CA. 
14.
Romanza by Rafael Mendez
Performer:  Douglas Wright (Trombone), Ken Amis (Tuba), Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet),
Eric Ruske (French Horn), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Notes: This selection was recorded at Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA and
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, CA. 
15.
El amor brujo: Danza rituel del fuego "Ritual Fire Dance" by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Richard Flanagan (Percussion), Steve Wilkes (Drums), Ken Amis (Tuba),
Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet), Mark Hetzler (Trombone), Gregory Miller (French Horn),
Marc Reese (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Studio A, National Music Center, Lenox 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
16.
Concerto for Trumpet in C major by Tomaso Albinoni
Performer:  Ken Amis (Tuba), Marc Reese (Trumpet), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet),
Gregory Miller (French Horn), Mark Hetzler (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1998 
Venue:  Studio A, National Music Center, Lenox 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
17.
Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Jeffrey Curnow (Trumpet), Eric Ruske (French Horn), Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet),
Sam Pilafian (Tuba), Richard Jensen (Percussion), Scott Hartman (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1989 
Venue:  Berkshire Performing Arts Center, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1869 - 1887). 

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