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Frederic Belli Plays Works By Berio, Rabe, Martin, Delerue & Rota

Belli / Berio / Rabe / Martin / Delerue / Rota
Release Date: 02/22/2011 
Label:  Genuin Classics   Catalog #: 11188   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Folke RabeFrank MartinGeorges DelerueNino Rota,   ... 
Performer:  Frederic BelliEriko Takezawa
Conductor:  Pablo Heras-CasadoSylvain Cambreling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trombone Unit Hannover
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FREDERIC BELLI TROMBONE Frederic Belli (tbn); Sylvain Cambreling 1 , Pablo Heras Casado 2 , cond; Trombone Unit Hannover; 3 Eriko Takezawa (pn); SWR SO Baden-Baden and Freiburg 1,2 GENUIN 11188 (52:53) 1 Live: Strasbourg 9/18/2009

BERIO Read more class="SUPER12">1 SOLO. RABE Basta. MARTIN Ballade for Trombone and Piano. DELERUE 3 Madrigal. ROTA 2 Trombone Concerto

Frederic Belli, the principal trombonist of the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg since 2006, was the 2007 winner of the German Music Competition; the first trombonist to do so. One of the several components of the prize is the opportunity to record a CD for release on Genuin’s Primavera label. Belli’s position in the orchestra has given him the occasion to include concerted works as well as the more usual chamber works, and he has created a compelling collection as a result.

The program consists entirely of music written in the 20th century, ranging from Martin’s 1938 Ballade to Luciano Berio’s SOLO for Trombone and Orchestra, completed in 1999 and revised in 2000. The CD opens with the shadowy, almost impressionistic orchestral chords of the Berio work. Things do not remain calm for long, and during its 20-minute duration, the soloist is put through a grueling set of challenges. Berio has described it as “almost absurdly difficult,” a description that Belli seconds in his liner note interview. It was originally written to challenge virtuoso trombonist Christian Lindberg, and Belli studied the work with him in preparation for this performance. In his studio recording on BIS, Lindberg takes an edgier approach, wowing with sheer technical wizardry. Belli is hardly less impressive, but manages to make this forbidding piece sound more appealingly expressive as well. The work is otherwise hard to characterize, the solo and orchestra parts coexisting in time, complementary but not really responsive one to the other as would be the case in a traditional concerto.

The traditional concerto is provided by film composer Nino Rota. In three classical movements, unabashedly tuneful and high-spirited, it is the antithesis of the Berio. It would be easy in this company to undervalue the genial work, despite its masterly construction and technical challenges hidden behind a lyrical charm. Rota’s film music is apparent here, but so are hints of Shostakovich in the angular rhythms of the Allegro giusto and Bruckner in the darkly declamatory Lento. The Allegro moderato finale is pure Rota, full of the joy of life, tinged by just a bit of nostalgic wistfulness.

Georges Delerue, another film composer, provides a lightly jazzy work for trombone sextet, Madrigal . The soloist weaves a now-jaunty, now-melancholy melody over the rich chording of the two tenor and three bass trombones. Folke Rabe’s Basta for Solo Trombone, also written for Lindberg, is a message delivered with virtuoso urgency, rapid passagework and an extensive use of multiphonics, after a fanfare to get our attention. Then basta (enough), the messenger is on his way. What is the message? “That is up to everybody’s imagination,” says the composer. Finally there is the faintly archaic lyricism of Frank Martin’s Ballade for Trombone and Piano, the mysterious processional music of the opening giving way to the dramatic Allegro giusto , beautifully understated at first and built to an impressive climax.

Belli plays with a lean, singing tone, and never leans vulgarly into the lowest notes as some do. His breath control is remarkable, mastery of extended techniques impressive, and intonation, while not perfect, is so close to that as not to matter. He is ably accompanied in all works. This is a very desirable recital, with performances that need not fear comparison with competing versions by Christian Lindberg: high praise in any book.

FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

Basta, for trombone Solo by Folke Rabe
Performer:  Frederic Belli (Trombone)
Period: Modern 
Written: ?1960s 
Date of Recording: 05/18/2009 
Venue:  Hans-Rosbaud-Studio SWR Baden-Baden 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Ballade for Trombone and Piano by Frank Martin
Performer:  Frederic Belli (Trombone), Eriko Takezawa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 05/18/2009 
Venue:  Hans-Rosbaud-Studio SWR Baden-Baden 
Length: 7 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Madrigal, for tenor trombone & trombone choir by Georges Delerue
Performer:  Frederic Belli (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trombone Unit Hannover
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/18/2009 
Venue:  Hans-Rosbaud-Studio SWR Baden-Baden 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Trombone Concerto in C major by Nino Rota
Performer:  Frederic Belli (Trombone)
Conductor:  Pablo Heras-Casado
Period: Modern 
Written: 1968 
Venue:  Hans-Rosbaud-Studio SWR Baden-Baden 
Length: 14 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Solo for Trombone and Orchestra by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Frederic Belli (Trombone)
Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
Date of Recording: 09/18/2009 
Venue:  Live  Halle des Sports de l'Université, Strasb 
Length: 20 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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