Music for Trumpet and the King of Instruments

Bruno Siketa (trumpet)/ Rhys Boak (organ)


reviewed by Neville Cohn

In this fascinating collection, many in transcriptions for trumpet and organ I’ve not encountered3379 before, ace trumpeter Bruno Siketa and Rhys Boak at the organ rise to the occasion time and again.

Many of the tracks are of pieces long established in the concert repertoire but only rarely heard in these versions, giving the collection significant novelty value as well as high quality readings.

Bach, Telemann and Shostakovich rub shoulders with Piazzolla, Bellini and Monti, odd bedfellows to be sure – but how beautifully these arrangements are offered to the listener.

bJean­Baptiste Arban’s Variations on Casta Diva from Bellini’s Norma (arranged by Boak) are made memorable by the tonal beauty of Siketa’s trumpet line; it’s never edgy but invariably mellow. The same could be said of the solo line in the Romance from Shostakovich’s The Gadfly.

Rather improbably, Astor Piazzolla is represented not by a tango but a setting of the Ave Maria in an arrangement by Boak whose musicianship at the console runs like a golden thread through this compilation.

An adagio by Giazotto, in an arrangement by both Siketa and Boak, comes across as the quintessence of gentle melancholy. Intriguingly, a fascinating program note states that this little piece, known to millions as Albinoni’s Adagio, may not be by Albinoni at all. It may well be by Giazotto.

Doubt is also cast on the great J.S.Bach as composer of the magnificent Toccata and Fugue in D minor. A liner note states that some experts are of the view it is really by Johann Ludwig Krebs, a student of the great J.S.. There is also speculation it might have been written by Johann Peter Kellner. But does it really matter?

Like the debate about whether Shakespeare really wrote this or that play, it’s far more important that the music exists ­ and so, scholars, if they choose, can burn the midnight oil for years to come arguing about its authorship while music followers the world over continue to be moved by its magnificence.

Boak’s performance of Bach’s “little organ fugue” in G minor borders on perfection – it’s a musical gem.

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