Alison Balsom

Alison Balsom

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This is a compilation of recordings by British trumpeter Alison Balsom, whose creamy tone tends to make listeners to Britain's crossover-oriented Classic FM radio network roll over and put their paws in the air. The collection is designed to highlight Balsom's cantabile almost exclusively, and there's no denying that she's hard to match for a beautifully sustained tone in a simple piece like Shenandoah, for which she herself had a hand in the arrangement. The juxtaposed vocalises by Rachmaninov and Messiaen extend the mood nicely. But an hour of mid-tempo melodic pieces, interrupted unconvincingly by the Allegro of an arranged Albinoni oboe sonata, tends to cloy after a while even if individual moments retain their luster. The program draws only in passing on what is arguably Balsom's best album: her fresh reading of the well-worn Haydn and Hummel trumpet concertos, including only one movement of the Johann Neruda Trumpet Concerto in E flat major (originally a work for hunting horn) from that album. The Haydn and Hummel are bypassed. There's nothing much to object to on this release, but listeners interested in Balsom's playing might do better to seek out an album that reflects her own programming and sense of musical focus.

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