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.
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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