Seraph - Trumpeter Alison Balsom plays Arutiunian, MacMillan, Takemitsu et al.

Audio Samples

>MacMillan, James : Seraph, for trumpet & orchestra
>Takemitsu, Toru : Paths for Trumpet Solo, Op. 50
>Arutiunian, Alexander : Concerto for Trumpet in A flat major
>Traditional Spiritual : Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
>Zimmermann, Bernd Alois : Concerto for Trumpet
>     "Nobody knows de trouble I see," for trumpet in C & jazz orchestra

Album Summary

>MacMillan, James : Seraph, for trumpet & orchestra
>Takemitsu, Toru : Paths for Trumpet Solo, Op. 50
>Arutiunian, Alexander : Concerto for Trumpet in A flat major
>Traditional Spiritual : Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
>Zimmermann, Bernd Alois : Concerto for Trumpet
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The album also includes two other concertos: the Trumpet Concerto in A flat major by Alexander Arutiunian - a staple in the repertory thanks to its simple and attractive musical language which incorporates features of Armenian folk music - and Bernd Alois Zimmermann's haunting, impossibly virtuosic Trumpet Concerto in C Major. The disc also features "Paths" by Toru Takemitsu - a solo trumpet piece that combines elements of Eastern and Western musical philosophies, and rounding out the program is a sparse, gripping arrangement of the American spiritual "Nobody Knows," arranged by Tom Foster and Alison herself.

"What really makes this performer so magnetic and distinctive is the quality of the notes that tumble so effortlessly from whatever trumpet she holds in her hands, and whatever music she plays....[Zimmermann's] stylistically eclectic, passionate plea for racial harmony makes an immediate impact, especially when jazz kicks in and the music excitingly hurtles forward two thirds of the way through." -The Times

"The highlight is James MacMillan's "Seraph", with the assertive opening brio giving way to a more reflective Adagio dialogue between trumpet and violin, before emerging refreshed for the animated closing movement." -The Independent

"[Macmillan's concerto] deftly combines trumpet and strings in music that ranges from the incisiveness of its first movement, via the 'seraphic' plaintiveness of its lightly textured Adagio to the robust interplay of the finale. Balsom takes its not inconsiderable demands in her stride, with the Scottish Ensemble unstinting in its support." -Gramophone

"[Balsom] plays [the Macmillan] radiantly with the Scottish Ensemble. Concertos by Alexander Arutiunian and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, played with the BBC SSO, highlight Balsom’s technical and interpretative aplomb." -The Daily Telegraph

"'Seraph' is concise and communicative, and, as expected from Macmillan, approachable. Balsom gets its (one hopes) long career off to a strong start...[in the Zimmermann] Balsom is in her element. She advocates for this music with passion and dignity, and the strength of her technique allows her to focus on communicating the work's emotional content...this disc speaks well of her continuing maturation as an artist." -International Record Review

BBC Music Magazine
Seraph may not quite be another Veni, Veni Emmanuel...But it's still very enjoyable, from the Haydn-tinged jollity of the first movement, through a mysterious and lyrical slow movement to the rousing finale...Balsom is a superb advocate, combining technical brilliance with penetrating musicianship - a true poet of the trumpet as well as a formidable athlete.

The Arts Desk
Balsom's glorious sound makes you forgive any musical shortcomings [in the Arutunian]...Less pretentious and more musically satisfying than one has any right to expect, [the Zimmermann] is possibly a masterpiece...there's something calmly uplifting about good brass playing. And this disc, well, uplifts.



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Works Details

>MacMillan, James : Seraph, for trumpet & orchestra
  • Performer: Alison Balsom (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Lawrence Renes
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Running Time: 15 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2010
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Takemitsu, Toru : Paths for Trumpet Solo, Op. 50
  • Performer: Alison Balsom (Trumpet)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1994

>Arutiunian, Alexander : Concerto for Trumpet in A flat major
  • Performer: Alison Balsom (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Lawrence Renes
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/13/2011-06/15/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1950

>Traditional Spiritual : Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
  • Performer: Alison Balsom (Trumpet)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 28 sec.
  • Written: by 1865

>Zimmermann, Bernd Alois : Concerto for Trumpet :: "Nobody knows de trouble I see," for trumpet in C & jazz orchestra
  • Performer: Alison Balsom (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Lawrence Renes
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/13/2011-06/15/2011)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1954