Alison Balsom

Tuesday 16 December 2008
ShchedrinA la Albeniz
Bellini/ArbanVariations on a theme from Norma
GoedickeConcert Etude
De FallaSeven Popular Spanish Folk Songs
GershwinSomeone to Watch Over Me
GershwinI Got Rhythm

Alison Balsom was named Best Young British Performer at the 2006 Classical Brit Awards. She was recently a Radio 3 New Generation Artist and took part in the 2006 ‘Last Night of the Proms’ in London’s Hyde Park. She has appeared internationally in major concert venues and is recognised as one of the world’s foremost trumpet players.


In baroque times the trumpet was supreme - all that heroic jubilation in Bach cantatas and orchestral suites - so it could have been exhilarating to have heard Alison Balsom, one the most distinguished exponents of the virtuosic art of the baroque trumpet, demonstrate her artistry in this most noble music. Instead she played a wide variety of the trumpet's modern repertoire. Like its plebeian relation, the cornet, the trumpet has often explored music from other sources, such as popular Italian opera.

This performance opened in Russian style with Schchedin's tribute to the Spanish composer Albeniz. Two sonatas followed; one French (Jean Francaix) the other German (Paul Hindemith). Here it is appropriate to pay tribute to Nicola Eimer's splendid accompaniments, especially in the Hindemith Sonata, a tour de force not just for the trumpet but equally the piano. Jean Baptiste Arban, known to generations of brass band cornet players for his celebrated tutor book, composed a well-known fantasia on a theme from Bellini's "Norma". Goedicke's "Etude" was followed by Enesco's "Legende" (Enesco, by the way, was Menuhin's violin teacher). Falla's "Seven Popular Spanish Songs" are perhaps more familiar in their vocal context, but, like Gershwin's "Someone to watch over me" and "I got rhythm" proved to be just as infectiously stimulating for trumpet and piano.

These young artistes held the audience spell-bound by their exquisite artistry: absolutely flawless technical command enhanced by the most refined musicianship and impeccable good taste.

Arthur Butterworth MBE