Wolfgang Bauer

Trumpet Concertos by Johann Wilhelm & Johann Christian Hertel

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The music on this disc from the historical-audiophile German label MDG is fresh out of the library: unidentified in a manuscript in the Schwerin state library in east-central Germany, it was authenticated (by annotator Reinhard Diekow) as having been composed by the father-and-son pair of Johann Christian Hertel (1697-1754) and Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789), who were active in the electoral seat of Neustrelitz, north of Berlin. The music fills something of a gap in the trumpet repertory between the Baroque and the concertos of Haydn and Hummel, and even if it doesn't set the world on fire it will be good news for trumpeters and their friends. Diekow works up the most enthusiasm for the elder Hertel's two sinfonias for three trumpets, timpani, and strings, festive pieces in straightforward Italian Baroque patterns. But perhaps of most interest are the three trumpet-and-orchestra concertos of Johann Wilhelm Hertel, probably composed in the 1760s. These effectively combine a strong grasp of the emerging melodic idiom of the day with virtuoso writing that frequently climbs into the top register of the trumpet. Trumpeter Wolfgang Bauer uses a modern instrument, apparently adding ornamentation where lines are repeated. A natural trumpet might have added something to the music, but Bauer's readings are nicely suited to MDG's brilliant sound environment here, created in the church of St. Dionysus in the town of Neckarsulm, in southwestern Germany. Any engineer working on recording brass instruments will have things to learn from the awesome clarity and brightness of the sound, which is nevertheless not in the least overwhelming.

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