Alison Balsom

Italian Concertos

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The recital of Baroque music on a modern trumpet hasn't been much cultivated since the days of Maurice André, who pretty much cornered the market for many years. Young British trumpeter Alison Balsom here enters the field with a quite competent performance and should find strong success among buyers looking for modern engineering. Undeniably photogenic, Balsom has performed a good deal of crossover repertory and is a favorite among listeners of Britain's crossover-oriented classic FM radio. Here, however, she plays it relatively straight. Most of this music, it's true, was not originally for the trumpet, but that wouldn't have stopped any Baroque-era trumpeter. Except for Tartini's Trumpet Concerto in D major, D. 53, she relies on transcriptions of music for violin or oboe. The two kinds of originals produce pleasingly contrasting results. The oboe is closer to the trumpet in its capabilities and allows Balsom to display her clean, precise tone. She doesn't have quite the sparkling power of André in the Tartini concerto, but the oboe concertos by Benedetto Marcello and Tomaso Albinoni are attractively done. The adaptations of Cimarosa oboe pieces by Australian composer Arthur Benjamin are more of a historical curiosity than an ongoing thing. The main attractions are the transcriptions of violin works, two by Vivaldi and one by Albinoni. The Vivaldi concertos, especially, contain passagework that's difficult to execute on a trumpet, and Balsom, working from her own transcriptions, never loses focus; it's her accuracy rather than her power or even her considerable beauty of tone that sets her apart from her predecessors. Worthwhile even for those with André collections. Brief booklet notes are in English, German, and French.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Concerto in A minor, RV 356
1 2:37
2 2:34
3 2:35
Oboe Concerto in C minor
4 3:10
5 4:24
6 3:05
Oboe Concerto in B flat, Op. 7 No. 3
7 2:38
8 2:35
9 2:11
Oboe Concerto in C minor (Themes of Domenico Cimarosa)
10 2:40
11 2:07
12 2:23
13 2:38
Violin Concerto in G, Op. 3 No. 3, RV 310
14 2:13
15 3:03
16 2:31
Concerto in D, D 53
17 3:51
18 2:53
19 3:04
Violin Sonata da chiesa in D minor
20 2:23
21 2:03
22 1:56
23 2:07
blue highlight denotes track pick