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4.7 out of 5 stars24
4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is another very enjoyable disc from Alison Balsom to follow her excellent recording of Haydn, Hummel et al Haydn: Trumpet Concerto & Hummel: Trumpet Concerto. This time she has recorded seven baroque concertos transcribed from pieces originally written for violin or oboe. Musically, this is a very sound idea - baroque composers including Bach himself were great transcribers - and it works very well here. The natural trumpet of the 18th Century had a limited range of notes and so there were relatively few works written for the instrument as soloist, but modern valve trumpets have a full range and it is good to see suitable works transcribed to allow the instrument to shine.

Alison Balsom certainly makes it shine wonderfully. She is a first rate musician (she made several of these transcriptions herself) who combines amazing virtuosity with a joy and naturalness in her playing. The sparkling passage-work in the quicker movements on this disc is quite brilliant and hugely enjoyable, but I think her special quality really shows through in the slower movements where her control, lovely phrasing and beautiful tone produce something really special: the adagio of the Albinoni Oboe Concerto, for example, is quite magical. The playing of the Scottish Ensemble is excellent - supple and springy or delicate as appropriate - and the overall effect is delightful.

Alison Balsom is an excellent ambassador for classical music through her outstanding musicianship, beauty and charm and this is a hugely enjoyable disc which will certainly appeal to people who don't normally listen to much classical music. It is certainly not lightweight, though; it has real quality and musical substance and crusty old veterans like me will thoroughly appreciate it, too. Very warmly recommended.

(You might also like to try the excellent disc of concertos for two trumpets which Alison Balsom made with the great Crispian Steele-Perkins The fam'd Italian masters /Steele-Perkins · Balsom · The Parley of Instruments · Holman.)
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on 2 November 2010
Purists would shudder in horror at these Italian baroque pieces, none of which was written for the trumpet (the natural trumpet of the time being quite incapable of playing any of them). However, I'm not a purist and I thoroughly enjoyed these bright, bouncy pieces, played with gorgeous, burnished tone, tremendous fluidity and enormous technical facility.

However, brilliant though she is, Alison Balsom is up against THE MASTER, Maurice André, who quite simply had no equal in this sort of repertoire. Take the Tartini. Ms. Balsom plays it beautifully, but it sounds somewhat limp against the magnificent 1970s' André version on Erato, in which he was paired with Nev Marriner and the ASMF on full sparkle. Who can match that sort of combination? Still, Maurice never looked anything like as good on a cover. Serves him right, I say.
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on 28 September 2013
The incredible qualities of Allison is the use of technical abilities and virtuosity, not for it's own purpose but serving to express the feeling and content of the music she is playing. Isn't that what's the music performance is all abot. Bravo, bravissimo.
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on 12 June 2011
Balsom's fluid lyrical playing pays dividends here on this beautiful set of concertos. So subtle is the playing it is easy to foreget that all of these movements were originally penned for string soloists. Balsom's ability to play the soprano trumpet without the usually associated shrill brightness is truly amazing - she shapes falls, turns and trills effortlessly (like a jazz player) which lulls you in to the sense that these peices were surely written for this instrument. It would be rude not to mention the superb Scottish Ensemble who play with great consistency and support for the soloist. All in all a great alternative to conventional string concertos and no less satisfying for it. Bravo EMI!
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on 9 November 2010
Outstanding selection of beautiful Italian pieces, and beautifully recorded. The whole CD is uplifting in mood and Alison's playing has a fluidity and clarity that I find special. I have very wide tastes in music but am absolutely delighted with this addition to my classical selections. I had no idea these pieces weren't all written for trumpet - it doesn't matter - they sound gorgeous. There's no doubt that out of a very large music collection this CD will come out more often than most.
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on 2 October 2013
I don't dissect a CD just listen and sometimes enjoy. I have listened to this several times and have really enjoyed it probable Allison Balsom at her best. Don't hesitate about purchasing it's well worth it.
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on 31 December 2011
The new writing involved in producing these recordings is a tribute to a brilliant addition to musical history.
These pieces are played with exuberance, style and warmth. I met AB at St John's Smith Square recently, a wonderful experience and the personality shone through her shyness. You can pick up brief examples on YouTube of a few of her works.
Peter Rust
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on 15 January 2015
Good quality recording, Hearing a trumpet playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons so sweetly, you can hardly believe how versatile this instrument is.
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on 22 February 2011
This is the third CD I have purchased of Alison Balsom on trumpet and I have found it absolutely enchanting.
It is very relaxing and music I can listen to again and again.
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on 25 May 2014
This is the third of Alison's albums that I have purchased. This girl can make the trumpet talk. She is just brilliant.
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