Similar to Jason Bergman’s critically acclaimed On The Horizon album of 2013, The Lightning Fields is a recital of significant new works for trumpet and piano. Michael Daugherty, Richard Peaslee, Anthony Plog, Daniel Schnyder and Kevin McKee are among the most active, highly regarded composers of our time, and their work has been proven to be popular and successful. The recordings here, thea majority of which are world premieres, document these important works in each composer’s oeuvre for the trumpet.
You don’t find many trumpet recitals outside of conservatories, brass clinics, and other specialized contexts, and not so many recordings forRead more that matter. Yet the truth is that the contemporary trumpet repertoire is more extensive and wide ranging than you’d expect. Fortunately trumpet virtuoso extraordinaire Jason Bergman is the kind of musician who believes in new music, champions it, and performs it beautifully, beyond belief.
Back in 2013 Bergman made an excellent disc for MSR of world-premiere recordings of new trumpet works. This follow-up collection, also of world-premieres, may even be better, for the works are uniformly communicative, imaginative, and accessible, as well as skillfully crafted. The late Richard Peaslee’s Catalonia stands out for its slow movement’s long arching lines and for the way in which Bergman effortlessly controls legato in widely spaced intervals that would prove unwieldy in lesser lips.
Daniel Schnyder’s one-movement sonata fuses rapid rhythmic momentum with moments of brooding slow motion that showcase Bergman’s mellifluous mastery of the mute (forgive the alliteration!). Anthony Flog’s sonata begins with the trumpet’s declamatory phrases resonating within the piano’s soundboard as the sustain pedal is pressed. The movement’s subsequent contrapuntal interplay proves less striking, but the little Molto vivace’s dry whimsy is enhanced by the addition of a celeste.
Of Kevin McKee’s two selections, trumpet aficionados probably will prefer the unaccompanied work for its strutting arpeggios and heroic surface style. Personally, I prefer his generously tuneful Song for a Friend. For boldness and range, however, the CD’s title selection, Michael Daugherty’s four-movement The Lightning Fields, holds most appeal.
The first movement’s leisurely unfolding canvas and rich harmonic context evoke more than a few hints of the great jazz composer/arranger Gil Evans’ 1950s/’60s style (Daugherty, in fact, collaborated with Evans). The second movement features tremolos and repeated notes, with not a cliché in sight, while the third movement expands upon the first’s leisurely trajectory with greater intensity, highlighted by a lengthy passage featuring long trills. A variety of moods transpire in the finale, from darting imitative lines and slow-motion ballad evocations to all-out R&B and funk. In turn, both Bergman and his trusty collaborator, pianist Steven Harlos, give specific tonal and rhythmic character to Daugherty’s mood shifts. They never just play the notes, and that goes for all of the works on this superbly engineered disc. It’s a first-class production in every respect.
Brilliant! Great music for any music lover!February 26, 2017By Spencer Wallin See All My Reviews"The works recorded here by Dr. Bergman and Dr. Harlos are truly outstanding. Not only is the technique spot on, but the musicality and expressive nature of each piece makes for a truly enjoyable listen. My favorite tracks are the Plog Sonata, especially the movement with celeste, and the McKee unaccompanied piece. Very approachable, and enjoyable. Highly recommended!"Report Abuse