on February 21, 2004
This album is an incredible showcase for the trumpet and the orchestra, in other words, the trumpet concerto. Hakan Hardenberger, the featured trumpet player, is highly talented and at the top of his game. Even the great jazz and classical trumpeter Winston Marsalis does'nt seem to reach the flights of fancy on the trumpet as does Hakan Hardenberger. Hardenberger masters the trumpet to perfection, capturing every nuance and every tone, from fortissimo fanfares to the softest pianissimo. On this compilation are the trumpet concerti of Baroque and Classical Era composers, among them Corelli and Albinoni and the Classical masters Franz Joseph Haydn and Leopold Mozart, Mozart's father. The sheer scale and magnetism of this music cannot be neglected. It is the greatest gathering of trumpet concerti ever made. The trumpet was perhaps the most fascinating instrument for Baroque composers. The trumpet produces grand, triumphant tones when played forte. It was an instrument that was displayed in ceremonial pomp- weddings, coronations and marches. The Baroque composers were sponsored by kings so they were expected to compose music for trumpet, which could be expressive not only as a fanfare for the king himself, but as an instrument of many dynamics. It can be played softly and slowly, which seems to create a nocturnal, reflective mood and staccato and fast-paced which made the music sound exciting and lively. In my opinion, it was the premier instrument of the Baroque Age.
The cd opens with the Trumpet Concerto In E Flat Major by Johann Hummel. This colorful piece is particularily impressive as it really explores the dynamic potential for the trumpet. It's third movement, the Rondo, is very exciting music, as it is played very fast and in a bouncy, dance-like manner. The Trumpet Concerto by Stamitz, Hertel and Richter are very stylish and must have been highly admired in the Baroque Era. The Trumpet concerto in E by Franz Joseph Haydn, who influenced Mozart, is beautiful, especially in its serenade-style andante second movement. In the last cd, Leopold Mozart's trumpet concerto is featured, and it's a good work. Perhaps his son Mozart greatly admired it, though Mozart did'nt really expand on trumpet concerti himself nor really ever showcased the instrument greatly. There are trumpet arrangements for the famous Albinoni Adagio in G, which on this version, sounds chilling, dark and dramatic. The cd concludes with trumpet versions of Bach's Organ Preludes and the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria.
on May 25, 2003
It's a rare treat for a reviewer when he can throw caution to the winds and go out on a limb for a musician. This is such an occasion for me. Hakan Hardenberger is a phenomenon. I think he is the Babe Ruth, the Wayne Gretzky, the Michael Jordan, the Vladimir Horowitz, the Jascha Heifetz of trumpet players.
Hardenberger is a Swedish trumpeter who made his first recording (Haydn, Hummel, Hertel, and Stamitz trumpet concertos, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Neville Marriner, on Philips) in 1986 when he was only 25 years old (in the cover photo of the original CD he looks like a boy). The first time I played this debut CD of his, my jaw dropped and I could hardly believe my ears. His playing was a revelation--absolutely stunning. I'd never heard trumpet playing to compare with it. In my opinion, with his first two CDs young Hardenberger not only moved into the top rank of trumpeters; he swept right past his competitors to the head of the class. I've compared a number of his baroque concerto performances, here and elsewhere, with those of other famous trumpeters, and he always comes out on top. I believe him to be in a league of his own. He has everything: virtuosity and technique to burn, dead-on intonation, clean trills, smooth legato, expressive shading, beauty of tone, brilliant high notes, enormous dynamic range. He is also a sound musician, with taste and a sense of style. His arsenal is complete and unassailable; there is no chink in his armor.
Everything that was on that debut CD is now in this Philips Duo set, which is a much better value, because it offers two generously filled CDs--72:55 and 78:27--for the price of one, adding most of the contents of two later Hardenberger CDs of baroque music for trumpet (the recordings here were made from 1986 through 1993). It's a good buy, and if you're going to own only one collection of baroque trumpet music, this is the one I'd recommend.
The trumpet has always been a difficult instrument to record and reproduce accurately. Here, although the consistently excellent digital recording presents Hardenberger very much front and center, it captures the timbre, "bite," and wide dynamic range of his trumpet with exemplary vividness and fidelity. On a top-quality playback system, he sounds like he's standing right between the speakers playing for you. And what playing it is! Not to be missed.
Hardenberger's second CD, of Telemann Trumpet Concertos, also accompanied by the ASMF, this time under Iona Brown, was recorded in 1987 (again on Philips). It too is marvelous, fully as impressive as his first CD, but unfortunately none of it is included in the Philips Duo reviewed here, so you have to acquire it separately. It's well worth it.
Long live the king!
on March 4, 2000
This compiliation brings together some of Håkan Hardenberger's past Philips releases in a value-priced 2 CD set that belongs in every music lover's collection. It's all here, the Haydn (what a cadenza!), a delicious performance of the Hummel, and a host of other delights including his brilliant piccolo trumpet playing on the Baroque selections. Hardenberger is the consummate virtuoso: a musician who plays with such wit and artistry that he makes you forget the fiendish difficulty of the music. His intelligent musicianship is a joy to hear, especially his quicksilver ornaments in the Leopold Mozart Concerto and his seamless cantabile in the Bach/Gounod "Ave Maria." If you have only one classical trumpet CD in your collection, let it be this one. You won't be disappointed. Here's hoping that Philips will re-issue more of Hardenberger's previous releases, especially the Telemann Concerti and his cornet CD, "At the Beach."
on February 11, 2001
Although I love classical music and have done so for a long time, I must confess that I am not a trumpet player. With that said, I must say that these two CDs are wonderful. My first recording of the Hummel and the Haydn concertos was the second Marsalis/Leppard/ECO recording on Sony Classical (titled Wynton Marsalis - The London Concert). Inexperienced with trumpet recordings at the time, I really treasured the CD. After all, a big name artist known for his virtuosity was performing the technically demanding concertos. What more could you ask for? After a while, though, I began to feel that Marsalis didn't really do it for me in these works. Sure, he played with a flair (and what a flair it was), but he lacked the focused, rich tone that I've come to associate with great trumpet players (Herseth comes to mind here).
The current reviewed recording, on the other hand, is quite a piece of gem. Even though I have never heard of Hardenberger before (you trumpet players out there please excuse my ignorance), he delivers precisely what I am looking for. Hardenberger has the centered tone that most trumpeters would envy, yet he lacked none of the technical virtuosity needed for the music. His vibrato is light and very classical (as opposed to the wider jazz vibrato). On top of all that, he shows much understanding and affinity for the various works on these two CDs.
All of this for the price of 1 CD. An excellent introduction to the core trumpet repertoire.
on March 30, 2000
I totally concur with the previous review. First, his Haydn cadenza is indeed the best to be found on record (I adapted it into my own performances!). I would add that after listening to Hardenberger for the past 15 years, I am most in awe of his unmatched intonation, especially with the piccolo trumpet. Indeed, every facet of his playing is, frankly, extraordinary. No other classical trumpeter today can equal Hardenberger - from a technical or artistic standpoint. Oh, and if you're a serious Hardenberger fan, check out his new DVD entitled "A Night at the Opera", a program (with trombonist Christian Lindberg) of operatic transcriptions.
on August 5, 2001
You don't have to be a fan of the instrument in order to appreciate and become overwhelmed by the beauty, the splendor and acrobatics of the trumpet. In the Baroque era, it was a instrument for the royal treatment and heralded arrival of kings and war. The performances here are excellent- Hardenberger, I Musici and Neville Marriner and his orchestra deliver virtuosic renditions of Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E flat, Hummel's, Hertel's, Molter's and Albinoni's concerti, as well as incredible arrangements of Ave Maria by Bach and Albinoni's Adagio.