Ludwig Güttler

Bach, Corbett, Quantz, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Finger: Sonate e Concerti

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The potential buyer of this CD might not be able to tell from the cover what he or she is getting: the name of trumpeter Ludwig Güttler is listed on the cover, but not all the music includes a trumpet. The booklet doesn't help much, either, indicating that the recording "sets out to illustrate the entire range of eighteenth century chamber music," which it certainly cannot do, and it's debatable whether music including a trumpet would fall under the category of chamber music in the first place. What's on offer is a diverse group of pieces including trumpet or other winds, some of them designated as sonatas and others as concertos, a distinction that also receives short shrift. The good news is that the playing is gorgeous, and further that it illuminates some music whose unusual textures have caused it to be shunted aside from frequent performance. The notes don't make clear exactly what kind of a trumpet Güttler is playing; although they align him and his Leipziger Bach-Collegium with "the field of historically informed music making," and he plays the rare and enchantingly lovely corno da caccia in a Concerto in E flat major probably by Quantz, it is not clear whether he is using a Baroque trumpet here. What he does do beautifully is play a trumpet magnificently within a small-group context. The opening Sonata for trumpet, oboe, and continuo by William Corbett, hardly a familiar work, offers a lovely contrast between its two solo instruments, with the trumpet not overwhelming the oboe at all. A Concerto for trumpet, flute, oboe, strings, and continuo in C major by Albinoni manages an even trickier balance. This concerto is listed as arranged by one Walter Heinz Bernstein, and it's not clear what the original forces were here or in the Sonata for trumpet, violin, oboe, and continuo by Gottfried Finger. Whatever those forces might have been, however, arrangements of this kind would have been common enough in the eighteenth century, and the performances of all involved convey a nice sense of the excitement of these then-young genres had for players and audiences of the time. The recordings from Dresden's St. Luke's Church are overbright, and the program is very much a mixed bag, but the main thing is that even a casual listener will find many beautiful moments here.

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