Trumpeter gives dynamic performance with Baltimore Symphony

WYNTON MARSALIS, the much-talked-about young trumpeter from New Orleans, demonstrated why he is creating a stir in both jazz and the classics during a well-attended concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Oregon Ridge Park.

Winner of Grammy awards in both kinds of music, Marsalis is being heralded as one of the world’s leading trumpeters; his dynamic performances of the Hummel and Haydn concertos left few doubts on that score. His is a rare talent, indeed. The other music consisted of Handel’s “Water Music Suite” and Mendelssohn’s Fourth (“Italian”) Symphony. Alan Baiter conducted the BSO.

Marsalis played with a meltingly lovely, singing tone and his technical command of the instrument was equally impressive. These qualities became quickly apparent in the Hummel concerto with its wonderfully lyric first movement and an allegro third movement with seamless runs and amazing articulation.

Renewed interest in the music of Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) appears, incidentally, to have been a development of the last 40 years or so; leading phonograph record guides before then list only one, at most, of his works.
A contemporary of Haydn, he also was a pupil of Mozart. The trumpet concerto showed the influence of both masters. The Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Major, long a staple of the classical repertoire, was carried along at a lively tempo by Balter and his musicians after the intermission. And again, Marsalis responded with a virtuoso performance.

The concert opened with the Hamilton Harty arrangement of four movements from Handel’s “Royal Fireworks” music. Balter led the BSO at a breakneck pace during the opening and there was some undue scrambling and confusion until the players settled into the tempo. The performance was also marred by some faulty intonation from the French horn section.

The performance of the Mendelssohn Fourth Symphony was the only disappointment of the evening. Again, there appeared to be problems of tempo; the players didn’t seem to quite coordinate during some of the faster passages. The situation could have been a result of being under-rehearsed. The fourth (Saltarello) movement was the most satisfying in its colorful animation.

In contrast with that of the past several days, the weather at the park was ideal with nary a rain cloud in sight to threaten an enjoyable evening in a setting of natural beauty.
The Baltimore Symphony concludes its current Oregon Ridge season with an all-Beethoven program at 8 p.m., tomorrow. The music will include the Fifth and Eighth symphonies and also “Wellington’s Victory” with special battle effects such as musket fire from participants arrayed in French and British uniforms of the early 19th Century.

Balter will again be on the podium, and the event will be his farewell as associate conductor; he is the new music director of the Akron and Memphis symphony orchestras.

by Alfred Haynes
Source: Baltimore Evening Sun

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