Rad Bennett, Classics Today

By Rad Bennett, Classics Today

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

In orchestral music, it seems that there's nothing quite so exciting as a Baroque trumpet player reaching for pure high tones, the instrumental equivalent of a tenor stretching for a high C in opera. Back in the early days of stereo, Roger Voisin brought Baroque works for trumpet to public attention with his series on Kapp records, and since that time more and more able soloists have come forward. Perhaps the best known to the general public is Maurice Andre, who was the trumpet man for the 1980s and '90s. Based on this CD and its three predecessors, it seems that 31-year-old Niklas Eklund might be the lead trumpeter for this coming decade. His technique and tone are absolutely rock solid and sure. After a initial gasp of amazement that he can toss off such difficult music so easily, you can sit back and simply enjoy the results without worry. Though the florid passages are astounding, it is the slow movement of the Michael Haydn concerto that impressed me most. Floating pure clear tones like that above the continuo is virtuoso playing without a safety net, and Eklund excels at it. The orchestra partners its superstar soloist well, as does oboe soloist Ulf Bjurenhed in the transparent and exposed Hertel concerto. The sound is excellent, only one point off for a little congestion in louder tuttis. Volumes 1-3 are listed on the back page of the booklet. If you like this one, you will want those, too.