Music of a Golden Age, Vol. 1
Music of a Golden Age. Australian Baroque Brass, John Foster, Director
Baroque trumpets: John Foster, Martin Phillipson, David Musk, Peter Miller, Joshua Clarke, Yoram Levy, Matthew Manchester, Samantha Robinson, Julian Brun, Andrew Evans. Sackbuts: Scott Kinmont, Brett Favell, Warrick Tyrell, Nigel Crocker, Gregory Van der Struik. Classical flutes: Melissia Farrow, Mikaela Oberg. Baroque cello: Anthea Cottee. Timpani: Richard Miller. Percussion: John Douglas. Organ: David Drury.
The Australian Baroque Brass Ensemble was formed in 2003 under the direction of trumpet virtuoso John Foster. This recording offers a program of 15 pieces, the majority of which feature the trumpet ensemble, but it also includes repertoire featuring other instrumentations. The ensemble is solidly musical and performs with great enthusiasm and virtuosity. The well-known pieces that feature the trumpet ensemble include Monteverdi's Toccata from L'Orfeo, the Biber Sonata Sancti Polycarpi, and his Sonata a 7, C.P.E. Bach's Marche, the Aufzug aus Musikalische Schlittenfahrt by Leopold Mozart, Altenburg's Concerto a VII, and three anonymous fanfares. Involving other forces, the CD includes; Mozart's Divertimento No.6, K.188, Sonata for 4 trombones by Speer, the Aira Offen euch, ihr beiden Ohren from Cantata 175, and a lovely praeludium for organ by Buxtehude. John Foster covers most of the solo spots and performs with great clarity and precision. His performance on Scartatti's Mio tesoro per te moro is gorgeous and he matches the florid and brilliant singing of Anna Sandstrom with wonderful results. His use of ornamentation is also very effective.
The biography in the liner notes mentions Foster's impressive performance history as well as his involvement with Naumann trumpets. The instruments used are not mentioned but I gather they are vented trumpets. The notes also indicate that some ensemble members also play cornetti. Perhaps their next recording might feature some cornett repertoire. Still, this present recording does offer an enjoyable and wide ranging program of works that feature brass, from the wonderful "standards" to some less well-known but beautiful and beautifully played pieces.
Jeffrey Nussbaum, Historic Brass Society.