Recordings

Madeuf Plays Bach

bachbrandJ.S. Bach: Concertos Brandebourgeois II & IV; Concerto pour Violon en Re mineur; Sinfonias Parnassie Editions PAR 40. Ensemble de la Societe de Musique Ancienne de Nice, Jeremie Papasergio, director; Flavio Losco, violin; Jean-Francois Madeuf, natural trumpet; Marie-Claire Bert, recorder; Elsa Frank, oboe, oboe d'amour, recorder; Damien Gastaud, oboe; Jeremie Papasergio, bassoon; Sibylle Schuetz, viola de gamba; Stephanie Paulet, violin, viola d'amour; Sandrine Feurer, violin; Georges Jolobeanu, tenor de violon; Etienne Mangot, violoncello; Jean-Paul Talvard, violone, violone grosso; Michaela Chetrite, harpsichord and organ. Recorded, August 2008, Monastere de Saorge sur Nice, at A=415 Hz

Ensemble de la Societe Musique Ancienne de Nice sman.asso.fr
Espace assoc.
12 ter pl garibaldi 06300 Nice
tel 04 93 24 99 83

Parnassie Editions
Jmi.Robert AT laposte.net
06.10.84.30.85
Chemin de Saint Martin
Quartier Chante-Coucou
84160 Cucuron

The performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2 (BWV 1047) has been the goal, bane, downfall, success, and inspiration of countless trumpet players for numerous decades. A BBC radio broadcast of David Mason playing it was Paul McCartney's inspiration for the famous trumpet obligato in "Penny Lane." (At the time, it was said erroneously by many to have been played on flugelhorn an octave lower and at a slow speed and then sped up in the recording studio at twice the speed since the part was "unplayable".) In the U. S. many principal trumpeters from major symphony orchestras avoid it, one going so far as to have it specified in his contract that he would not be asked to play it. A famous French horn soloist recorded it on modern horn stating that it must have been really written for horn. After all, it was pitched in F and the part was simply too high for Bach's trumpeters to play on natural trumpet. Maurice Andre is said to have bought a fabulous home with the accumulated fees from his countless worldwide performances of it.

Gilles Requiem with Serpent

Jean Gilles: Requiem; CD recording by Orchestre Les Passions and Chœur de Chambre les Éléments, Jean-Marc Andrieu directing, and featuring Volny Hostiou on serpent. The recording also includes the motet Cantate Jordanis Incolæ. Ligia Digital # LIDI 0202196-8, obtained from Amazon France. June25-27, 2008

The Requiem by Jean Gilles (pronounced like the second syllable of "congeal", with the "g" leaning more towards a soft "j") is one of the great pieces of funereal music written in the Baroque era. Gilles (1668-1705) was head of music at Saint-Étienne in Toulouse, the successor of André Campra. He composed the Requiem on commission for the joint funeral of two Toulouse city leaders who had died within days of each other, but even though the music was well received during rehearsal, the men's sons backed out of the commission, refusing to pay. Gilles' response was to withdraw the piece unperformed, and it remained among his personal papers until his own death at age 37. As it worked out, the Requiem was given its first public performance at its composer's funeral. It was, however, posthumously successful, being often performed throughout the 18th Century for the funerals of the great and famous, including composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, the king of Poland, and King Louis XV to name but three.

The composer's manuscript disappeared during the French Revolution, with only some arrangements comprising the published record of its structure at that time. The 1764 version by Michel Corrette written for Rameau's funeral increased the size of the orchestra and also added timpani and carillon to simulate the peal of church bells. A later 1805 edition by Joseph Supries went further, adding horns, clarinets and bassoons. The best known version today is by Abbé Jean Prim, who in 1956 reworked Corrette's 1764 version, further bloating what should have been an intimate piece by adding more woodwinds plus horns and trumpets. For this recording, editors have compared three different unpublished 17th-century manuscript versions, along with considerable research into the church orchestras in Toulouse during Gilles' time, and they have succeeded in reconstituting a new version that is as close as possible to the original.

The circumstances of the origin of the motet Cantate Jordanis Incolæ are not well known, other than the likelihood that it was composed for some important event. In its seven movements it tells the Old Testament story of Zachariah, who upon being told by an angel that his sterile wife Elizabeth would bear him a son, refused to believe and was struck mute. Nine months later he recovered his speech when asked to name the boy, who grew to become John the Baptist. As with the Requiem, the text is sung in Latin. This piece was frequently performed between 1728 and 1771 in the programs of the series known as Concerts Spirituel. On this CD, the light nature of the motet contrasts nicely with the more somber requiem.

The performances on this CD use period instruments exclusively, consisting of nine bowed strings, theorbo, two flutes, two oboes, bassoon, serpent and organ. The sixteen member chorus includes four female sopranos, three countertenors, three tenors, three baritones, and three basses, schooled here to sing as closely as possible to what period French church Latin is believed to have sounded like. The soloists are soprano Anne Magouët, countertenor Vincent Lièvre-Picard, tenor Bruno Boterf, and baritone Alain Buet. The ensemble tuned at A=392, using a temperament by a Gilles contemporary, acoustician Joseph Sauveur.

This recording reveals a flawless performance by proficient and sensitive performers, and the music is delightful to listen to. The soloists are in fine voice, each sounding totally appropriate to the style of the period. The juxtaposition of the male altos with the female sopranos is seamless. The technical quality of the recording is also transparent and has a natural presence in an authentic acoustical environment. Perhaps most importantly for early brass aficionados, the music gives the serpent both ample and active ensemble opportunities as well as some nice duets along side the vocal soloists, and Volny Hostiou gives a beautiful performance. This is a fine example of the serpent being used in the Baroque music style.

Note that this CD, according to the record label distributor, will not be released outside of Europe. The review copy was easily obtained from Amazon France [www.amazon.fr], where it may be found by searching for "Gilles Requiem". Since there are other recordings that include different versions of this Requiem, you may recognize this particular CD by its cover art featuring a crowd scene and the word Requiem in bold red letters. The CD liner and booklet is exclusively in French; working in collaboration with personnel of the orchestra, I have prepared an English translation and have placed a PDF file of its CD booklet form on the Discography page of the Serpent Website, which readers may download and print.

Editors note: A YouTube Video of the work with the reviewed ensemble may be seen at

--Paul Schmidt

Virtuosi Concertos for Clarino

Virtuosi Concertos for Clarino: Brian Shaw, Baroque trumpet.  Cynthia Roberts, Judson Griffith, Beth Wenstrom, Dongmyung Ahn, Aaron Brown, Marika Holmquist, Amelia Roosevelt violins; Alissa Smith, Jessica Troy, Andrea Andros, Ruth Siegler, violas; Katie Rietman,cello; Motomi  Igarashi, double bass;  Avi Stein, harpsichord;  Anne Briggs, Charles Brink, transverse flutes; R.J. Kelly, Alexandra Cook, baroque horns.  Program notes, Brian Shaw. Clarino Records 11704 Recorded June 3-6, July 9, 2008. Contact: www.bshawmusic.com

As Brian Shaw’s own liner notes indicate, the concerti he has recorded in this admirable effort may be considered to constitute the “final frontier” for the natural trumpet world.  Clarino parts which ascend to the 24th partial are not only uncommon; they are seldom even attempted in performance context. These works rarely, if ever, appear in recital programs and to this date seem to have been recorded on a total of perhaps as few as only three releases.  Of these known efforts, one was done on modern piccolo trumpet.
Mr. Shaw has not only accomplished this daunting feat on Baroque trumpet, but has acquitted himself with great distinction. The results are technically impressive and the musical value of his performance is notable.  
Accompanying him is a wonderful orchestra ensemble of accomplished, polished, and expressive early music instrumentalists playing period instruments. As a result, this is one of the finer and more satisfying recordings of this genre to be heard by this reviewer.

Included in this CD are Concerto a Clarino Pricipale, Anonymous, attributed to Johan Stamitz or Georg Holzbogen (see liner notes), Concertino by Johann Michael Haydn, Concerto a 5 Voc. per Clarino Principale, Franz Xaver Richter, and Concerto a Clarino Principale, Joseph Riepel.

A few brief remarks on each work will hopefully give a picture of this ambitious and outstanding endeavor.
Opening the recording is the appealing and well played Concerto a Clarino Principle. The performance is noble, restrained and at the same time expressive. As in all the other works, the intonation is excellent, the legato flawless, and the phrasing is nicely arched throughout. The brief cadenza in the first section, ”Allegro non Troppo” may seem a bit academic to some.  The final movement, Allegro Molto, is played at a tempo identical if not slower than the opening Allegro non troppo. One wishes to hear a much livelier approach in order to provide a concluding and perhaps “flashy” touch.  Indeed at times Mr. Shaw himself seems to wish to go forward with the tempo to give energy to the music.  More Molto please!
 

The Michael Haydn Concerto a 5 voc. per clarino begins with an adagio which requires extended phrases.  They are played assuredly and with effortless musicality. The included cadenza, which refers to the melodic material, is played with all non harmonic tones beautifully full and in tune. The Allegro is played with bravura energy throughout, including the soaring upper registers.

The Richter, despite the efforts of the performer, is perhaps the least satisfying musically. The material is simply too formulaic and suffers from the repetitive and perfunctory nature of this era, as we all know.
The final demanding and unforgiving Riepel, is played with same ease and aplomb which characterizes the entire recording.  The enlarged orchestra with horns and woodwinds provides a welcome sonic texture.  The extremes are approached with finesse and grace. The middle movement, Adagio, is performed in a relaxed and tasteful manner, and the cadenza, found in the manuscript, is most appealing.   The final Presto is given a vigorous and assured treatment.

Mr. Shaw performs the four concerti on a vented 3-hole trumpet made by Egger, after Johan Wilhelm Haas.  He indicates that his mouthpiece is also an Egger copy of a Haas original which is in the Carolina Augusteum  museum in Salzburg.

The recording quality is excellent and uniform throughout, and the CD is attractively packaged with well- written liner notes discussing the music as well as additional comments which provide historical and technical context to the project.  

-- Frank Hosticka

Sacred Garland by The Gonzaga Band

gonzagabandreviewThe Gonzaga Band, Sacred Garland, CHAN 0761

Faye Newton, soprano
Jamie Savan, treble and mute cornett
Richard Sweeney, theorbo
Steven Devine, harpsichord and organ

Recorded at the Church or St. Andrew, Toddington, Great Britain
April 2-4, 2008

A=466 Hz. Quarter comma mean tone temperament

Treble cornett by Serge Delmas, 2006, after seventeenth century original
Mute cornett by Serge Delmas, 2004, after seventeenth century original

Subtitled “Devotional Chamber Music from the Age of Monteverdi,” this recording shows once again how perfectly suited the cornetto was (and is) in blending with the voice. Jamie Savan has an open and bright sound which matches well with soprano Faye Newton. Much of this music was originally for two sopranos but Savan and Newton demonstrate convincingly that their combination (historically justified) is very satisfying.

Virtuosi Concertos for Clarino

Virtuosi Concertos for Clarino: Brian Shaw, Baroque trumpet. Cynthia Roberts, Judson Griffith, Beth Wenstrom, Dongmyung Ahn, Aaron Brown, Marika Holmquist, Amelia Roosevelt violins; Alissa Smith, Jessica Troy, Andrea Andros, Ruth Siegler, violas; Katie Rietman, cello; Motomi Igarashi, double bass; Avi Stein, harpsichord; Anne Briggs, Charles Brink, transverse flutes; R.J. Kelly, Alexandra Cook, baroque horns. Program notes, Brian Shaw. Clarino Records 11704 Recorded June 3-6, July 9, 2008. Contact: www.bshawmusic.com

As Brian Shaw’s own liner notes indicate, the concerti he has recorded in this admirable effort may be considered to constitute the “final frontier” for the natural trumpet world. Clarino parts which ascend to the 24th partial are not only uncommon; they are seldom even attempted in performance context. These works rarely, if ever, appear in recital programs and to this date seem to have been recorded on a total of perhaps as few as only three releases. Of these known efforts, one was done on modern piccolo trumpet.
Mr. Shaw has not only accomplished this daunting feat on Baroque trumpet, but has acquitted himself with great distinction. The results are technically impressive and the musical value of his performance is notable.

Gilles Requiem with Serpent

Gilles Requiem with Serpent

gillesJean Gilles: Requiem; CD recording by Orchestre Les Passions and Chœur de Chambre les Éléments, Jean-Marc Andrieu directing, and featuring Volny Hostiou on serpent. The recording also includes the motet Cantate Jordanis Incolæ. Ligia Digital # LIDI 0202196-8, obtained from Amazon France. June25-27, 2008

The Requiem by Jean Gilles (pronounced like the second syllable of "congeal", with the "g" leaning more towards a soft "j") is one of the great pieces of funereal music written in the Baroque era. Gilles (1668-1705) was head of music at Saint-Étienne in Toulouse, the successor of André Campra. He composed the Requiem on commission for the joint funeral of two Toulouse city leaders who had died within days of each other, but even though the music was well received during rehearsal, the men's sons backed out of the commission, refusing to pay. Gilles' response was to withdraw the piece unperformed, and it remained among his personal papers until his own death at age 37. As it worked out, the Requiem was given its first public performance at its composer's funeral. It was, however, posthumously successful, being often performed throughout the 18th Century for the funerals of the great and famous, including composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, the king of Poland, and King Louis XV to name but three.

The composer's manuscript disappeared during the French Revolution, with only some arrangements comprising the published record of its structure at that time. The 1764 version by Michel Corrette written for Rameau's funeral increased the size of the orchestra and also added timpani and carillon to simulate the peal of church bells. A later 1805 edition by Joseph Supries went further, adding horns, clarinets and bassoons. The best known version today is by Abbé Jean Prim, who in 1956 reworked Corrette's 1764 version, further bloating what should have been an intimate piece by adding more woodwinds plus horns and trumpets. For this recording, editors have compared three different unpublished 17th-century manuscript versions, along with considerable research into the church orchestras in Toulouse during Gilles' time, and they have succeeded in reconstituting a new version that is as close as possible to the original.

French Chamber Music for Horns

Louis-François Dauprat - Grand Trio for Horns, Opus 26.
Richard Burdick, natural horn. I-Ching Music CD19A.
Louis-François Dauprat - Duos for Natural Horns, Opus 13.
Richard Burdick, natural horn. I-Ching Music CD 18.
Louis-François Dauprat - Grand Music for Horns: Grand Sextets, Opus 10, Grand Trios, Opus 4.
Richard Burdick, natural horn. I-Ching Music CD 19.
i-ching-music.com; naturalhorn.com

Richard Burdick, a well-respected, California-based horn player and composer has recently released 3 new self-produced CDs dedicated to the music of Louis-François Dauprat (1781-1868). He has blended period-instrument practice and 21st-century technology with the skilled use of overdubbing, which allows Burdick to play all the parts himself. This is certainly an efficient way of presenting this music, a repertoire that is certainly of great importance to the development of the horn and represents a passageway to valve horn writing. Dauprat's writing, particularly in the Trios and Sextets is extremely chromatic and represents a high point in hand-stopping technique. Burdick's performance is admirable indeed. While not flawless, he navigates the intricacies of Dauprat's music with great courage. Of course, no hornist contemporary with Dauprat would have been expected to play all the parts, since specializing on playing the low or high register was typical. For this feat alone, Burdick deserves praise. His phrasing of the musical line is lyrical and, of course, his "ensemble sense" is wonderful since his ensemble is "himself!"

The music itself presents somewhat of a mystery. What was this written for? Who would have played it and for whom? Perhaps the Dauprat repertoire is mainly pedagogical. He was, after all, an enormously famous and important horn teacher in Paris. The duets certainly could make a claim for this. The Trios, Sextets and his other works could also be regarded as mainly pedagogical. They are mainly written for horns alone. However, there is something a bit more elevated about these compositions. They certainly aspire to being artful works. They are also long. The core of pedagogical writing, the etude, is usually not so and we tend to think of teaching tools as being brief. The duos are four-movement works, and the three presented here, numbers 3, 5, and 6, clock in at just under one hour. Duo number 6 alone is about 22 minutes long. That is a lot of duo horn music and one does wonder what audience would find this thrilling. I would speculate that even Dauprat's Conservatoire horn class would find it challenging. Then again, perhaps this horn repertoire was intended for less formal situations than concerts and might have been played in out-of-door settings as background music.

The Trios and Sextet have an even more elevated compositional quality than the Duos, but, although there are many charming musical moments, in the end the musical quality does not hold up. When one considers that Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart were alive during this period, it is easy to become restless with Dauprat's compositional prowess. And again, these pieces are so long. The six movements of the Sextet tally up to almost 40 minutes. Even with the ability for harmonic modulations though the use of different pitched horns, the music quickly becomes tedious. However, we must leave the greatness of Dauprat's music up to history to determine. For now, it represents a significant aspect of 19th-century horn writing and the end of a long tradition of hand-stopping and how a great proponent of that tradition addressed the increasingly complex and chromatic musical language of his time. It is unfortunate that there are no notes in these CDs. We are referred to Burdick's web sites for additional information, but scant information was found there. More details on the music, performance practice and instruments would have been welcome. More importantly however, Richard Burdick presents a forum in these CDs for a large part of this repertoire. Certainly horn players will be greatly benefited by hearing it played on natural horn and music lovers in general will gain a deeper understanding of chamber music of this time.

-- Jeffrey Nussbaum

King Oliver

King Oliver. Off the Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings. Archeophone Records. 37 fresh transfers from the original discs on 2 CDs by Doug Benson. CD notes by David Sager. Archeophone Records. ARCH OTR-MM6-C2.

Jazz fans and scholars owe a great debt of thanks to David Sager and Doug Benson for bringing out this outstanding and important collection of the complete 1923 recordings of Joe "King" Oliver's band. The core personnel on these records includes: Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, cornets; Honore Dutrey, trombone; Johnny Dodds, clarinet; Lillian Hardin, piano; Bill Johnson, banjo; Baby Dobbs, drums. Additional personnel changes and instrument changes include: Bill Johnson, vocal; Louis Armstrong, slide whistle; Bud Scott, banjo; "Stump" Evans, C melody saxophone; Johhny St. Cyr, banjo; Charlie Jackson, bass saxophone; Ed Atkins, trombone; Jimmie Noone, clarinet; Buster Bailey, clarinet.

Those who heard David Sager present his lecture at the HBS Early Brass Festival in New Orleans were treated to his deep insight into the repertoire and performance practice of this wonderful early style of jazz. These fresh transfers to CD from the original recordings gives us the opportunity to hear the music in a much cleaner and audible fashion. With these new auditory presentations, David Sager, with his big ears and keen understanding of the music clues us into new insights regarding this important music. One fascinating comment he made in his lecture concerned the harmonizations that Armstrong played over Oliver's solos, long assumed to Louis's spontaneous, almost magical, connection to his mentor's musical thinking. These clearer recordings allowed Sager to hear Oliver quote snippets of a music phrase that will start off his solo a bar or two to follow. That these occur numerous times, Sager deduced that these tiny phrases are a sort of musical reminder to Armstrong which of Oliver's solos is coming up, thus getting him ready to harmonize the solo. Sager also reexamines the playing style of trombonist Honore Dutrey. Previously thought to be a somewhat primitive player, Sager offers a new interpretation to his performance style and how it led to future musical developments by other brass players. Sager's extensive notes to this CD set is full of his extraordinary insight into the music. Pointing out that Louis Armstrong's first recorded solo is on "Chimes Blues," there was a repositioning of the horns to accommodate a piano solo on "I'm Going Away to Wear you off My Mind," identifying numerous tunes quoted on various solos, strains of certain tunes were later reworked into other compositions, previously thought single line solos are actually Armstrong and Oliver duets, are just a few of the explanations Sager gives in his notes.

Sager's interpretations along with the more refined and audible 37 selections from the King Oliver 1923 recordings, invite a new understanding of this music. This group was Louis Armstrong's Berkeley School of Music, New School, and Juilliard jazz programs all rolled into one. That Armstrong become arguably America's greatest and most important musician, having a new look into his early musical activities is fundamentally important for our understanding of jazz and American music.

-- Jeffrey Nussbaum