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In The Style Of ... / Everson, Kibbe

Lucas / Everson / Kibbe / Holdaway
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1292   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Rodion ShchedrinElena Roussanova LucasDaniel PinkhamEric Ewazen,   ... 
Performer:  Terry EversonSheila KibbeEric BerlinRichard Watson,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

IN THE STYLE OF … Terry Everson (tpt); Shiela Kibbe (pn) ALBANY 1292 (65:40)

SHCHEDRIN In the Style of Albeniz. ROUSSANOVA LUCAS Trumpet Concertino. PINKHAM Trumpet Sonata. EWAZEN Trumpet Sonata. EVERSON Idea Number 24. Read more class="COMPOSER12">PASCUZZI Meditation on a Scottish Hymn Tune

Terry Everson, a professor at Boston University, is a longtime freelance trumpet player, who over a career spanning almost a quarter century has garnered several prestigious prizes. While his activities with various ensembles have been centered in the Boston area, he has been active as far afield as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kentucky. A specialist in contemporary music, he has commissioned and premiered several new compositions (some featured on this release) and has been a regular participant in the many recordings produced by the Boston Modern Orchestra project. He has been featured as a soloist in trumpet sonatas on at least three previous CDs and has two previous solo recital albums to his credit. All of the compositions except those by Shchedrin and Ewazen enjoy their first recordings here.

The brief Rodion Shchedrin piece, one of the composer’s more popular works (in both senses of that word), was penned for solo piano when he was only 20 and has since gone through several arrangements, the one here being by Timofei Dokshizer. This performance far better captures its saucy Spanish-jazz hybrid flavor than the one by Eric Aubier I reviewed back in Fanfare 34:1.

Elena Roussanova Lucas (b.1974), born, raised, and educated in Russia, is a professor of composition at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. She composed her concertino for Everson, who premiered it in Las Vegas in 2001. An appealing work in a vein similar to Prokofiev in his more insouciant moments (think of The Love for Three Oranges ), it passes through a kaleidoscopic array of moods in the course of only eight minutes.

Commissioned by trumpeter Bobby Thorp in memory of his late brother Richard John Thorp, a scientist and gifted amateur pianist, Daniel Pinkham’s four-movement sonata was premiered by Everson and Kibbe on April 8, 2006, shortly before the composer’s death on December 18 that same year at age 83. The booklet notes advise that “Originally, the numbered movements of the sonata bore titles, each reflecting a different facet of John Thorp’s life. By agreement of the composer and commissioner, these particular personal associations remain private and therefore open to interpretation by performers and listeners.” At the risk of being curmudgeonly, I find this coy pose of “We’re going to tell you that this music has specific extramusical associations but we’re not going to tell you what those are” disingenuous—if you’re not going to reveal them, then don’t even mention them in the first place. As it is, the music does not conjure up any particular associations for me at all, and even after several hearings does not cohere into a greater whole. While formally tonal, its tonality is rootless and over its 12-minute compass the work drifts and shifts from episode to episode and phrase to phrase in the first three movements (Vivo, Andante, and Allegretto, all relatively slow), before finally finding some focus and energy in the concluding Vivo ballando. While listenable, it bemuses rather than amuses, but others may discern more structure in it than I have.

I discussed the 1995 sonata of Eric Ewazen (b.1954), the most substantial work here at more than 20 minutes, in a review of a trumpet sonata disc featuring Finnish trumpeter Jouko Harjanne in 34:4. Suffice it here to say that the work is rightly already establishing itself as standard repertoire for the instrument, with the memorable, limpid melody of its beguiling Allegretto middle movement a particular standout. While I have a slight preference for the Harjanne performance, that is strictly a matter of taste for a somewhat more mellow trumpet sound; otherwise this rendition yields nothing to its recorded competition.

Everson’s own Idea Number 24 for trumpet quintet was written for performance by the composer and the Boston University Trumpet Ensemble at the 2006 National Trumpet Competition. Performed here by the similarly named but not identical Boston Trumpet Ensemble (with members Eric Berlin, Richard Kelley, Richard Watson, and Dana Oakes joining Everson), it is a series of variations on the famous Paganini Caprice in A Minor, op. 1/24, which has so famously served for compositions by Brahms, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff, among others. It is eight minutes of unabashed fun, cheekily quoting Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and bits of Darius Milhaud along the way.

Gregory Pascuzzi (b.1952) is a trumpeter, composer, arranger, and longtime conductor of two military bands (at West Point and of the Army Field Band in Washington, D.C.) from 1972 to 1999. Like Everson, he also has a longstanding involvement with Christian church music. He composed his Meditation on a Scottish Hymn Tune for solo trumpet, supporting trumpet trio (played here by Karin Bliznik, Kevin Maloney, and Mark Mashburn), bagpipes (here, Adam Holdaway), and piano in 1995. The putative “Scottish hymn tune” is none other than Amazing Grace , with its origins being a matter of dispute. The trumpet trio, often muted, is mostly employed antiphonally to respond to the soloist; the use of the bagpipes in the penultimate section (from 8:06 to 9:44 in the course of the work’s 12: 13 span) strikes me as an affected and gratuitous intrusion into what is otherwise a mildly pleasant but rather unmemorable piece.

Everson is a top-notch trumpeter, with a brilliant, penetrating tone that never turns harsh and is modulated at will to softly graded dynamics. He has a clean legato, faultless intonation, a wide palette of tone colors, and most importantly intelligence and stylistic sensitivity in employing them all. Pianist Shiela Kibbe is a worthy and equal partner, and the various supporting instrumentalists all perform their parts handsomely. The recorded sound is bright and forward.

I do have some complaints about the packaging and booklet. First, whoever did the graphics design thoughtlessly decided to print tiny black type against a charcoal-gray background on the booklet cover and tray card, making them almost unreadable. Second, the contents and timings of the disc are printed only on the tray card, not in the booklet, which inconveniently requires the listener to retain both in hand while listening. Third, the writer of the booklet notes follows what seems to be a growing trend of resorting to baseless hyperbole; for example, it is asserted that “Roussanova Lucas achieves a playful seriousness heretofore completely unknown in the literature of the trumpet” and that “Everson is one of the first to record” the Ewazen sonata. The first comment suggests a pitiful ignorance of the existing trumpet literature; as for the second, at least three previous recordings of the Ewazen have preceded this one, which is a considerable track record for a piece of such recent vintage. But don’t let these minor cavils put you off from acquiring this CD, recommended to all fanciers of contemporary brass chamber music.

FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

In the style of Albeniz by Rodion Shchedrin
Performer:  Terry Everson (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; USSR 
Concertino for Trumpet and Piano by Elena Roussanova Lucas
Performer:  Terry Everson (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: Russia 
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Daniel Pinkham
Performer:  Terry Everson (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Eric Ewazen
Performer:  Terry Everson (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Idea Number Twenty-Four by Terry R. Everson
Performer:  Eric Berlin (Trumpet), Richard Watson (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano),
Terry Everson (Trumpet), Richard Kelley (Trumpet), Dana Oakes (Trumpet)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Meditation on a Scottish Hymn Tune by Gregory Pascuzzi
Performer:  Karin Bliznik (Trumpet), Mark Mashburn (Trumpet), Sheila Kibbe (Piano),
Terry Everson (Trumpet), Kevin Maloney (Trumpet), Adam Holdaway (Bagpipes)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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