THE ART OF THE BAROQUE TRUMPET, Vol. 2 (Jorn Simenstad/ Knut Johannessen/ Marc Ullrich/ Mats Klingfors/ Niklas Eklund/ Tormod Dalen) (Naxos: 8.553593)
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A group of composers working in the 17th century in Germany and Italy. Many were trumpet players writing for their own use, one of the earliest being an Italian, Girolamo Fantini, reported to be \the most excellent trumpeter of all Italy". He certainly performed with Frescobaldi in Rome, and it might have been that partnership for whom he composed the Sonatas for trumpet and organ published in 1638. That work was soon followed by two sonatas from Giovanni Viviani using the same combination of instruments. Though Italian he worked much of his life in Switzerland, and left a considerable output including operas and oratorios. The Sonatas probably date from around 1675 and were published three years later as an appendix to his Capricci.
Johann Jacob Löwe von Eisenach held several important posts as organist in various German towns. We know that he also composed a modest amount of music, but it is reported he died in poverty. He wrote the Capricci in the mid 17th century and had them published, along with other works, in 1664.
Johann Christoph Pezel was born in Silesia, but lived most of his life in Leipzig. He must have been talented, since he is reported to have been a skilled trumpeter, though he apparently earned a living as a violinist. In 1675 he had published a large volume of Two-Part Works, and among them were the Sonatas included here for trumpet, bassoon and bass continuo. They are extremely taxing, though it is reported that he performed them in public, which testifies to his virtuosity.
Precious little is known of Prentzl, this sonata for trumpet, bassoon and bass continuo so closely resembles the Pezel sonatas that one wonders if they were by one and the same person.
Girolamo Frescobaldi became one of the most famous organists of his time, holding the major position of organist at St. Peter's in Rome for the last 40 years of his life. He wrote a large number of compositions, the organ Toccata included on the disc coming from a collection published in 1637.
Equally famous as an organist was Jan Sweelinck who was employed at the main church in Amsterdam from 1580 to 1621. He is thought, however, that he might have been taught in Venice. But he had Germanic qualities and was later instrumental in training many of the most eminent German organists. His Fantasia chromatica was one of the most important works for organ written at the beginning of the 17th century.
Michelangelo Rossi led a more nomadic life, but enjoyed great esteem both as organist and composer, the Toccata included on the disc comes from a group of Toccatas printed in Rome in 1657.
Niklas Eklund was born in Gothenburg in 1969. He started playing the trumpet at the age of four and followed in the family brass instrument tradition. He received his formal training at the University of Gothenburg School of Music, and following graduation worked for a short time as principal trumpet of the Basle Symphony Orchestra. His career is now exclusively as solo trumpet, and has become one of the world's leading exponents of the Baroque trumpet. Reviewing the first volume in Naxos's "The Art of the Baroque Trumpet", Gramophone magazine said of Eklund, "let me rejoice at playing of rare technical ability and musical panache".
Knut Johannessen is equally home as a performer and teacher of the harpsichord as he is in the organ loft. Born in Norway he commenced his studies in Oslo before moving to the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. He is a world authority on early music performance.
Marc Ullrich is French and a former pupil of the legendary trumpeter, Maurice André; Mats Klingfors is Swedish and plays for several specialist early music ensembles; Tormod Dalen was born in Norway and studied with the famous baroque cellist, Jaap ter Linden. He too plays in major early music ensembles.
Took place at the Haga Church in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July 1995. The booklet with this issue gives full details of an organ perfectly suited to music from this period.
There is no comparative disc with this collection of music, and though a number of the works included are available on disc, there is no competition whatsoever for a budget price disc of this genre