Bruns Mozart Concerti

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Horn Concerti K. 417, 447, 495. Horn Quintet K. 407; Wilhelm Bruns, horn; Quadriga Quartet, Mannheim Mozart Orchestra. Thomas Fey, director. Profil Edition Günter Hänssler PH05046
www.naxos.de/html/profil.htm. Recorded 2004.

Wilhelm Bruns has added his natural horn interpretations of the Mozart Horn Concerti in Eb (K. 417, 447 and 495) to the distinguished list that includes Hermann Baumann, Lowell Greer, Tony Halstead and Ab Koster. He has passed over the D Major Concerto (K. 412), with its reconstructed and Sussmayr rondos, in favor of the Quintet in Eb for horn and strings (K. 407). Although this leaves the entire disc in Eb major, the opportunity to hear Bruns in a chamber work provides a nice contrast with the orchestral idiom.

Bruns is a flamboyant, but always musical, soloist. His playing offers great virtuosity and variety of color, at times looking back to the untamed horn of the hunt and, in the next moment, skillfully blending with the strings and woodwinds. Whether for a brighter tone color or for security of attack, he has crooked his instrument (a Lausmann copy by Jungwirth) somewhat unusually using an A alto crook with two couplers (rather than a single crook in Eb). Bruns' cadenzas are inventive but always in keeping with the classical style. Like his teacher, Hermann Baumann, he offers well-tuned chords in several cadenzas, and these serve a clear musical purpose.

In all respects, this is an extremely enjoyable disc and a valuable addition to the natural horn offerings of the music of Mozart. Bruns is a worthy artistic descendant of Joseph Leutgeb, for whom Mozart wrote much of this sublime music.

--- Tom Reicher

Bollinger Cornetto Recordings

La Carioletta: auf europäischen Wandelpfaden; Capella Caesarea; self-produced.
info@capella-caesarea.de, www.capellacaesarea.de
recorded August 6-9, 2005

La Giorgina: Canzonen und Sonaten aus dem Frühbarock für Zink und Orgel; Hans-Jakob Bollinger, cornett, Christiane Lux, Organ; Swiss Pan SP51721
info@quantaphon.ch; www.swisspan.ch
recorded July 3-6, 2005

Two new discs recorded a month apart featuring the cornetto plying of Hans-Jakob Bollinger offer a wide variety of interesting repertoire. He is a member of the ensemble Capella Caesarea and combines his efforts with Peter Stelzl, sackbut, Rachel Harris, violin, Jennifer Harris, dulcian, Andrea C. Baur, chitarrone, and Evelyn Laub, positive organ. The majority of the music is northern European. Some of the composers represented are Schmelzer, Grabbe, Kindeman, Froberger, and Buchner. A most interesting work is the Symphonia I à 4 of Nikolaus à Kempis (1600-1676), which features each member well and has several varied sections. Unfortuantely the liner notes are brief, all in German, and do not discuss the composers or cite sources. Hans-Jakob reports by e-mail that Kempis was an organist from Brussels and the father of Joannes Florentius and Thomas. Little more is known.

On this disc Bollinger plays cornettino (made by Henri Gohin) on the Sonata à 4 of Matthias Weckmann. He plays cornetto muto (made by Christoph Schuler) on the Canzon "La Sincopata". The remainder of the music is performed on an instrument made by John McCann. The sackbut played by Peter Stelzl is the Drewelwecz model made by Ewald Meinl. All are at A=440.

The other disc, La Giorgina, is for cornetto and organ. The organist is Christine Lux. The instruments on this disc are remarkable. The organ is in meantone and located in the church of the Modanna de la Campagna, Valtellina, in northern Italy. It was built in 1518 by Marco Antonio Bizzari, further developed in 1589 by the Antegnati family, and recently restored by Marco Fratti. There is more. It is at A=453. Our soloist engaged Andreas Schoni of Berne to build a cornetto at A=453 and the results are quite pleasing. Bollinger is a sensitive player who demonstrates acrobatic dexterity on two sonatas by Fontana as well as clever and graceful ornaments on works by Cima.

These two discs represent a welcome contribution to the ever-growing body of early music recordings and are recommended to our readers not only on the merits of the playing, but on the breadth of repertoire and the grand gesture of commitment of having an instrument built in order to perform with such a fine organ.

--- James Miller

Caecilia-Concert

Caecilia-Concert. Treasury of a Saint. Fiona Russell; cornetto, Adam Woolf; alto and tenor trombone, Wouter Verschuren; dulcian, Kathryn Cok; harpsichord and organ. Antoine Machand Records CC72161 Distributed by Challenge Records.
Info. www.caecilia-concert.com
Recorded November 28-30, 2005.

Caecilia-Concert, one of the finest ensembles of the younger generation of early music specialists has, given us another outstanding recording with this CD, which focuses on 17th-century music including vocal polyphony, diminutions and other types of instrumental music. All the players are virtuosi in their own right and combined have a very refined ensemble sense. The recording contains eighteen pieces by well-known musicians such as de Selma, Sweelinck, Bertoli, Fontana, Rosenmüller, Cima Rognoni, Palestrina, Bovicelli, de Rore, and Cesare as well as lesser known composers including Philipp Friedrich Böddecker (1615-1683), Cornelis Thysmanszoon Padbruè (c. 1592-1670), Juan Bautista Jose Cabanilles (1644-1712), and Herman Hollanders (c. 1600-1650).

All members of the ensemble share the glory in this recording by being featured in solo or prominent positions in these glorious works. Selma's Canzone Est-ce Mars shows off the spectacular playing of Russell and Woolf who demonstrate flawless light and brilliant articulations. Bovicelli's diminutions on Angelus ad pastores by Rore is played beautifully by Fiona Russell with a light and gentle interpretation, while Adam Woolf's playing of Rognoni's diminutions of Palestrina's Pulchra es amica mea on the tenor trombone is more forceful with sharper attacks. Both are beautiful and expressive readings. That there are only two works of this genre on the CD makes good programming sense. A little goes a long way. Ferro's Sonata cinque has some lively trumpet fanfare-type figures and gets a lively interpretation from the ensemble. The dulcian has a moment to shine on the Sonata La Monica by Bröddecker and on Buchner's Sonata IX. Wouter Verschuren achieves an incredibly deep and rich tone quality even while playing the most florid passages. Fiona Russell uses a mute cornett on Quam pulchra es by Cima where she and Woolf match articulations in a glorious series of imitative lines. Kathryn Cok is always the most sensitive of accompanists on the keyboard continuo parts and more virtuosic flare when given a solo piece such as her harpsichord reading of Est-ce Mars by Sweelinck.

Treasury of a Saint is a well-thought-out CD program with impeccable musical performances. Fiona Russell plays a cornett by John McCann and a mute cornett by Serge Delmas. Adam Woolf plays on an alto trombone by Meinl & Lauber and a tenor by Ewald Meinl. It is heartening that Caecilia-Concert is leading the way for the next generation of players and following the legacy of the likes of Dickey, Becu, and Tubery.

--- Jeffrey Nussbaum

Battalia: Baroque Battle Music for Trumpet Consort

Battalia: Baroque Battle Music for Trumpet Consort; Tibicines Ensemble, Igino Conforzi, Director and trumpet; Andrea Di Mario, Marco Nesi, Tranquillo Forza, trumpets; Pier Gabriele Collegari, trumpet and bombard; Mauro Morini, trumpet, tenor trombone, bass trombone, serpent; David Yacus, bass and alto trombone; Alberto Ponchio, bombard and shawm; Linda Severi, bombard and shawm; Nocola Moneta, percussion; Andrea Macinanti, organ. Arts Music 47666-8 SACD.
Info. www.artsmusic.de or info@artsmusic.de
Recorded in 2001.

Continuing his efforts at exploring music with combined forces of natural trumpet ensemble and wind band, Igino Conforzi has presented a very convincing argument with this current recording of battle music of various sorts. The trumpet ensemble repertoire included pieces by Fantini and Bendinelli as well as vocal and instrumental music imitating trumpet music, the so-called "battle" genre by Attaignant, Susato, Gastoldi, Garsi, and Praetorius. Conforzi uses his forces on these works with spectacular results. That such major figures as Praetorius and the others worked on this type of music speaks to the importance of trumpet repertoire even though there is a paucity of pure early trumpet ensemble music. Concerning the use of the combined wind-band and trumpet ensemble, Conforzi presents a number of documents that indicate this aggregation was used in many situations. As they say, "the proof of the pudding is in the tasting" and this mélange tastes wonderful! Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this recording is the last cut which includes music from the CD as well as the sounds of a real battle with cannon and the clanking of swords and weapons said to be exact replicas of museum armaments and weaponry. My immediate reaction to reading in the liner notes that the weapons were replicas of museum pieces was, "What's the difference? The clanking of metal against metal is just clanking." However, on consideration I had a sense of guilt since I was taking a similar view to those who propose that playing Gabrieli on modern trumpets is just the same as employing cornetti. No doubt the weight and type of metal of different swords might very well produce different sounds and textures and Conforzi and company should be praised for the great lengths in which they went to produce the sounds of a 17th-century battle. Concerning authenticity, the entire CD is performed without vent holes! The noted Italian musicologist Marco di Pasquale collaborated on this project with Conforzi providing historical information. The ensemble plays with flare and precision. They use a number of different instruments including trumpets by Callegari, Forza, Parker, Nesi, and Egger, and trombones by E. Meinl, Monke, and Glassl. The serpent is made by the Monk Workshop. This is an interesting and beautifully performed recording.

--- Jeffrey Nussbaum

Le Concerts Brisé

BCD Anchor, ancor ... : Musiques virtuoses et improvisees pout Cornet a Bouquin. Le Concert Brisé, William Dongois, cornetto. Info. a class="Normal" href="http://www.le-concert-brise.com">www.le-concert-brise.com or William.dongois@le-concert-brise.com or les-cd-concert-brise@orange.fr
Recorded June 2004.

L'Âge D'Or du Cornet a Bouquin [the Golden Age of the Cornett]; Le Concert Brisé, William Dongois, cornetto. K617. K617187/3. Distributed by Harmonia Mundi. Available at www.lecourent.org.
Recorded June 27-July 1, 2005.

William Dongois has recently released a truly impressive collection of recordings with his ensemble Le Concert Brisé. Anchor, ancor ... is a single CD of 17th-century Italian repertoire with such composers as Bassani, Dalla Casa, Ferrari, and Barbarino represented.

L'Age D'Or is a 3-disk set. Volume 1 is an anthology of Italian dances, diminutions, improvisations, and sonatas. Volume 2 is music by composers associated with Venice in the time of Monteverdi. Volue 3 is music by Buxtehude.

Dongois plays with elegance and charming phrasing while offering the listener breath-taking technical virtuosity. Although the single CD has little in the way of liner notes (all of which are only in French), the 3-volume collection offers lengthy essays (in English and French) on the history of the cornetto, its repertoire, and the practice of improvisation. The third volume is all transcriptions of works by Buxtehude which Dongois offers as examples of selections which virtuoso players of the day might have played.

He is joined by Stefan Legee on sackbut for volume 3. Legee's instrument was made by Edward Meinl after Drewelwecz, 1595. Dongois plays a variety of cornetti made by Christoph Schuler (at 465 and 490), Serge Delmas (465), Henri Gohin (520), and John McCann (440).

One is both amazed at the amount of work which went into this immense project of recordings and inspired by Dongois' dazzling technical display. All of these recordings deserve the highest attention of HBS members.

--- Jim Miller