Trumpeter Alison Balsom's bold and brilliant playing engenders a fresh-eared listening of the warhorse Haydn and Hummel concertos. Balsom's robust phrasing combined with a confidence that never turns cocky reminds us of the trumpet's history in battle and regalia. But it's not all fanfare and bluster as Balsom produces beautiful, round tone throughout the range, even in the instrument's challenging low notes. There's also much warmth and feeling in her playing, very different from the the reserved cool of Wynton Marsalis in his debut recording featuring these same works.
The program steps backward to the baroque era with the Torelli and Neruda concertos, both appealing works featuring masterful trumpet writing. Again, Balsom dispatches these with winning panache. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen provides bracing and lively accompaniment under Thomas Klug's leadership, something you can easily hear as EMI's vivid recording places Balsom in a natural-sounding perspective with the orchestra. There's plenty to enjoy here--certainly for trumpet aficionados, but those who just enjoy great music making will be pleased as well.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com