x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Alison Balsom: The Italian Concertos

Balsom's extraordinarily agile technique and light tone make these works sing.

Alison Balsom: The Italian Concertos
Alison Balsom: The Italian Concertos

 

Alison Balsom: The Italian Concertos Scottish Ensemble (EMI Classics)

Another week, another glamorous musician smiling beneath flowing blonde locks. This time, though, she's clasping a trumpet - an indication that we're in for something a little different. The sparkling martial tones of the trumpet are not, after all, synonymous with the soulful lyricism one expects with such an album cover. Yet here, Balsom reminds us of the ineffably moving tone that the instrument can produce, through an elegant selection of Baroque concertos arranged for trumpet. Some are less successful than others - Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A minor, for example, is simply too familiar to translate successfully to such a different inspiration - rather more like a brass band arrangement than an accomplished concerto. Others, though, such as Marcello's stately Oboe Concerto in C Minor, allow her to fully explore the expressive qualities and varieties of tone in this too-neglected instrument. Even better is the Concerto after Tomaso Albinoni's Sonata da Chiesa in D Minor, in which the ornamentations on splendidly evocative melodic lines seem perfectly suited. Accompanied by the consistently excellent Scottish Ensemble, Balsom's extraordinarily agile technique and light tone make these works sing.

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