This is yet another cracking disc from Alison Balsom. Here she plays music for Royal occasions by Handel and Purcell, both of whom wrote wonderfully for the trumpet, and the result is something rather special.
The programme itself is a real pleasure: there are some very well-known pieces and also some less familiar stuff, and it's varied and hugely enjoyable. Thus we get the vigorous, joyful Sound the Trumpet by Purcell, and also his soulful and deeply moving Plaint from the Fairy Queen, and almost everything in between including an excellent transcription of a Handel oboe concerto. It's a disc you can play from start to finish without it ever sounding samey, and there are some really terrific highlights.
The performances are brilliant throughout. Alison Balsom, of course, is superb and her work here on the baroque trumpet is magnificent. As always, her playing of the virtuoso passages is a sparkling delight, but it is in the slower, more contemplative pieces that I think she really shines. The control, lovely tone and emotion she brings are quite exceptional and show her to be a genuinely world-class musician. She is joined by two fabulous singers, countertenor Iestyn Davies and soprano Lucy Crowe, and Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert are, as we have come to expect over may years, outstandingly good.
I cannot recommend this disc too highly. It is a joy and will bring pleasure to those new and new-ish to classical music and to crusty old veterans like me. It's a gem.
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