NAULAIS Cocktail. PRICE Intrada dramatica. ZUCKERMAN Recollections. EWAZEN Fantasia. BRADSHAW Carillon. ANDRÉS Triforium.Read moreREYNOLDS Music for 5 Trumpets. AL-ZAND Fanfare. MCGREGOR Essay. LO PRESTI Suite for 5 Trumpets. MORALES Cityscapes
Even if one happens to be a trumpeter, I imagine, a whole disc of music for trumpet ensemble better be good. Luckily, this one is. Tromba Mundi is a group created to promote chamber music for trumpet ensemble and comprises some of the top U.S. players, including members of the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and the Chicago Symphony.
Personally, and unlike the booklet notes, I wouldn’t describe Jerôme Naulais’s Cocktail as “poignant” unless explicitly describing the central slow movement. The first movement is all bright fanfares, brilliantly played and recorded, while the finale touches upon jazz to good effect. Another fanfare provides the disc’s center point, that by Karim Al-Zand, assistant professor of music at the Rice School of Music. Scored for three trumpet duos, his piece is simple but effective (the pairs play only in perfect fifths and thirds throughout).
Joseph Price has been affiliated with the Cincinnati Symphony as resident composer. Tromba Mundi has commissioned the present five-trumpet version of Intrada dramatica, originally for 12 trumpets. The first trumpet is soloist throughout (the piece only lasts 2:50). The haunting Recollections by Mark Zuckerman provides fine contrast and receives its world premiere recording. Zuckerman uses limited material to maximum effect. The sheer instrumental control of the members of Tromba Mundi is remarkable; it is difficult to imagine a more persuasive account than this.
Eric Ewazen’s Fantasia is bright and breezy. Again, performance is of the very highest standard. Notes are attacked to perfection, with the utmost precision. The title Carillon for Robert Bradshaw’s piece refers to the bells of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It is not just the bright attacks that make the performance of this piece notable. The scurrying, background figures are played with miraculous legato.
The five movements of Triforium by Bernard Andrés make up a rhythmically lively, happy work with a still, muted (both literally and emotionally) center. Actually, it is this third movement that is the most memorable. Verne Reynolds taught horn at the Eastman School for over 35 years. His Music for Five Trumpets is technically challenging in its usage of angular figures. The central Andante uses some poignant clashes to great expressive effect, while the finale gives all players a chance to demonstrate their virtuosity.
Rob Roy McGregor has been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1981. His Essay for six trumpets was written during his first semester at music school, at the tender age of 19. It begins remarkably gently before becoming more animated at around its midpoint. Ronald Lo Presti’s Suite suffers slightly because of a less than memorable central Andante ma non troppo. Finally, Erik Morales’ Cityscapes is an active and imaginative sequence of impressions of a city whose finale includes nods to Gershwin as well as using to good effect sounds that I am assuming are the players tapping on their mouthpieces.