Sound the Trumpet!

I’ve been racking my brain for the past few days in an attempt to come up with a topic more “in my wheelhouse” than Alison Balsom’s “Sound the Trumpet” album, but to no avail. Let us count the ways that I have been unsuccessful (though not disappointed) in my attempts:

1. I’m in a celebratory mood, since it’s still Easter. And the trumpet is very celebratory. (So is bacon, come to think of it.)

2. Out of the vast array of period instrument interpreters that have sprung up in the relatively recent past, Trevor Pinnock is far-and-away my favorite.

3. An album whose desire to “celebrate the heroic era of the Baroque trumpet” is achieved by focusing exclusively on the works of Handel and Purcell? Hecks yeah!

4. The natural trumpet is awesome. I have no idea how anyone can play that…or any other trumpet, for that matter. (It’s actually not the only kind of trumpet Balsom can play, but it’s all she plays on this particular album.)

5. The track listings reminded me not only that Purcell wrote a masque/semi-opera of “The Fairy-Queen,” but that he also wrote one for “King Arthur.”

6. Yesterday was Opening Day – Hallelujah! — so anything that was going to further enhance my tendency to use wheelhouse-y idioms was automatically going to receive heavy consideration.

There are more, but let these suffice for the moment. Besides, this clip is probably the most compelling sort of argument that can be made in my defense:
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(Bonus trumpet-y awesomeness is available from Gerard Schwarz upon request.)

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    She has a great tone.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/summathissummathat/ Joseph Susanka

      Indeed. Wonderful sound.

      In my experience, “period” brass is often abrasive, and more imprecise than one would expect. (it’s actually one of the things that prevents me from embracing the “movement” as much as I would have expected.)

      Neither of those descriptors apply to her performances, though.


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