Alison Balsom / Tom Poster

Légende: Works for Trumpet and Piano

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Alison Balsom has been successful since the early 2000s with a standard diet of Baroque trumpet works and the usual Classical-period concertos. In the mid-2010s she turned toward more contemporary repertory with a French conservatory flavor. The results on the trumpet-and-piano Légende, named for the effusive Enescu piece (track five), are impressive; Balsom deepens her art with a coherent program even as she plays mostly music that could be characterized as light. Sample one of the movements of the opening Sonatine of the mightily underrated Jean Françaix, whose understated style, not so much humorous as subtle and elegant, poses challenges for a trumpet confined mostly to its middle register. Balsom's bright, perfectly controlled lines and close ensemble with pianist Tom Poster pass all the tests. After that you get a mix of other neoclassic pieces, the heavier Hindemith Trumpet Sonata in the middle, and popular songs, small chunks all hanging together that stimulate the listener even without awareness of same. Brava.

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