Unlike the disc that I reviewed recently (Psalm
- Signum SIGCD403), this release is more designed as a calling-card for the soloist. It couples a 'warhorse' of the repertoire, a reasonably well-known contemporary work (Tomasi) and a brand-new concerto commissioned by and dedicated to the present soloist. It thus allows a good appraisal of Pirinen's immaculate playing and committed musicality.
Kaipainen's Trumpet Concerto Op.66
is laid-out in four movements instead of the expected, “customary' three. This adds some considerable weight to the work which impresses by its earnestness of purpose. It has its moments of virtuoso display but here virtuosity is never an aim in itself. The first movement is a meaty Andante that opens with a soaring muted trumpet. Later on the music becomes warmer and more animated but eventually returns to the opening mood. The second movement is somewhat unusual in layout in that it begins as a cadenza punctuated by “jabs from the orchestra” before launching into the Allegro section proper. There follows another slow movement characterised by superficial simplicity. This movement provides some release of tension before the onslaught of a furious finale full of irrepressible energy and a real tour de force
, as the annotator Antti Häyrynen has it. The music quite often calls jazz to mind but never as a blunt imitation or parody or pastiche; rather as a deeply felt homage to some jazz musicians. This Kaipainen's concerto is an estimable piece and a most welcome addition to the repertoire. As such, it deserves the widest exposure possible.
Haydn's celebrated and ubiquitous Trumpet Concerto is by now well-known and has become a staple of the repertoire. It is generally taken for granted that it has always been so. One must nevertheless keep in mind that it was composed for Weidinger with whom Haydn had become got acquainted when at the Esterházy Court. Weidinger developed a key system that allowed him to play chromatic scales and make huge leaps from one note to another. Haydn set out to explore and exploit the instrument's new possibilities which was something quite new at the time.
Henri Tomasi composed his Trumpet Concerto for Ludovic Vaillant, principal trumpet in the French Radio Symphony Orchestra. For information's sake Ludovic Vaillant played the trumpet part in Shostakovich's First Piano Concerto when the composer recorded it with the Orchestre National de la RTF – as it was then – conducted by André Cluytens. This has been reissued by EMI (review
). Tomasi composed in a broadly Neo-classical, colourful and often quite pleasing idiom. This is what one hears in his compact, no-nonsense Trumpet Concerto whose music moves along untroubled but sure of its aim. No wonder if this work gets its share of performances.
Pasi Pirinen is a formidable musician beautifully equipped with a seemingly effortless technique and with deep commitment and understanding of what he plays. His performance of the Kaipainen is the highlight in this very fine release. I look forward to hearing more of him in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries repertoire.
Hannu Lintu conducts his Tampere forces with his customary involvement and musical insight and is strongly supported by all concerned. Excellent recorded sound throughout.