Site review by Castor January 13, 2012
Performance: Sonics (MC):
|'On the Road' is the title of an autobiographical novel by American writer Jack Kerouac written in 1951 and based on the road trips of the author and his friends across mid-century America. It also provides the inspiration for this unusual album by the talented trumpet player Wim Van Hasselt as well as the name of one of the three compositions on this disc specially composed for this artist.
Wim Van Hasselt is currently a member of the trumpet section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam and also teaches at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. From 2005 until 2009 he had a trumpet position with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin. In addition, he has played with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra as well as having performed with the orchestras of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and the Staatstheater, Stuttgart. His thoughtful selection of music for this 'On the Road' SACD would appear to have been informed not only by these experiences but also by his own questing personality.
On this recording Hasselt takes the listener on a musical journey spanning the music of three centuries - from Beethoven in 1805 to Wim Henderickx and Martin Fondse in 2011. Diversity and quality were the main stated criteria in his very personal choice of works. The former has undoubtedly been achieved by the inclusion of the music of nine composers each from a different European country with totally disparate musical heritages and styles, whilst the latter will be a matter for individual listeners to judge for themselves.
The Swiss composer Julien-Francois Zbinden's short and jazzy 'Concerto for Trumpet, snare drum and piano' from 1946 opens the programme. In this Hasselt is joined by percussionist Gustavo Gimeno, a colleague from the RCO and pianists Eriko Takezawa and Noriko Ishikawa who presumably are playing the string parts of Zbinden's original composition.
The fuller and more rounded sound of the cornet is heard in 'Caprice for cornet and piano' by
the French composer Alexandre Luigini, perhaps better known for his once popular 'Ballet Egyptien'. Eriko Takezawa's alert accompaniment to Hasselt's virtuoso performance must be mentioned as should her fine playing elsewhere on this disc.
Wim van Hasselt's love of Beethoven's opera 'Fidelio' is bizarrely represented by an arrangement for cornet of Leonora's aria 'Komm, Hoffnung' in which he is accompanied by an ensemble of fine players from the RCO consisting of a string quartet, double bass, bassoon and three horns. It is quite an effective novelty though something of an acquired taste for repeated listening.
The prolific English composer Derek Bourgeois , well-known to afficionados of brass band music, provides the first of Hasselt's commissions with a most attractive 'Trio for trumpet, trombone and piano' that has an especially haunting central movement. The RCO's solo trombonist Jörgen van Rijen is Hasselts able partner.
The remainder of the disc is devoted to somewhat more challenging works of the 20th and 21st century represented by Petr Eben, Wilhelm von Grunelius, Thomas Wilson, Wim Hendrickx and especially Martin Fondse whose fascinating 'Splitting Wood for flugelhorn/trumpet cello bass clarinet and fender rhodes piano' receives a most convincing reading from these performers.
Luciano Berio's brief take on the 'Last Post' concludes this undoubtedly stimulating disc.
The recording in the Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam is, as expected, excellently engineered by Jared Sacks and Hein Dekker, so this SACD can be unhesitatingly recommended to all to whom this unusual concept appeals.
Copyright © 2012 Graham Williams and SA-CD.net