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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released October 15, 2012 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
British trumpeter Alison Balsom has been popular from the start, and she seems to gain strength as she tackles each new project and expands her range. Here she plays a Baroque trumpet (apparently a natural trumpet with finger holes but no keys) and is accompanied by the period-instrument English Concert under its veteran conductor Trevor Pinnock. They worked together on most of the arrangements of pieces by Handel and Purcell, and the results in this well-worn British musical ground are nothing short of stunning. The variety of timbres that emerge from Balsom's instrument is nothing short of stunning, and the place to start in sampling it is with the three vocal duets, two with the fine countertenor Iestyn Davies and one with soprano Lucy Crowe. These give the uncanny effect of almost hearing two vocal parts that so many instrumentalists aim for in arrangements like this, but that so few actually achieve. Balsom has always been a charismatic player with an attractive tone, and an anthology of her earlier recordings is available. But the way she's going, it makes sense to keep up with the state of her art. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 13, 2016 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 15, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Trumpeter Alison Balsom has a dozen recordings for the Warner Classics label under her belt. Brilliantly talented and charismatic, she could easily have continued releasing music along the lines that brought her success, and it is to her credit that she strikes out in new directions with Royal Fireworks, an album that followed a three-year pause in her recording career. There is a suite of pieces from Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351, but that's not the center of the program. Instead, Balsom, with help from conductor and arranger Simon Wright, brings together music that shows her trumpet in various situations. She has played a natural Baroque trumpet before, and she's clearly comfortable on the instrument, but she has never fully entered into a Baroque aesthetic as she does here. For one thing, she formed her own Balsom Ensemble, a collection of top historical-instrument performers. Better yet, the group seems to have fun together, along with producing precise intonation in the Italianate trumpet solo pieces by Telemann and Purcell, the brass ensemble work in the Handel and pieces from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, and the Funeral Sentences for the Death of Queen Mary of Purcell, the latter included on a trumpet recital certainly for the first time here. The album is likely to appeal both to Balsom's usual fans and to Baroque historical-performance listeners. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 1, 2008 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 9, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Warner Classics

One has to read the fine print to find out, but Magic Trumpet is a compilation of recordings by trumpeter Alison Balsom, dating as far back as 2005 and extending forward to 2018. Some may avoid the collection for this reason, seeking a more coherent and curated program, but this would be a mistake. It's not only that Magic Trumpet serves as an introduction to Balsom's talents, although it could certainly be one for newcomers to her recordings. The key point here is that Balsom, although some may exceed her skills in particular repertories, has perhaps the widest range of any trumpeter on the scene today, and this release lets listeners hear a lot of it. She can produce an appropriately burnished tone in Bach's "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" from the Cantata No. 147, BWV 147, and can avoid overwhelming chamber players in the first movement of the Trio Sonata in C major, BWV 529. Balsom is usually not noted for sheer virtuosity, but the compilers have found some excellent examples of just that. Consider the solo trumpet arrangement (by Balsom herself, like several of the pieces here) of the Badinerie from Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2, BWV 1067, boldly forcing Balsom's trumpet to the high reaches of its capabilities. The Caprice No. 24 in A minor of Paganini loses some of its challenges when remade for trumpet, but it has plenty to spare. There is also something amusing about hearing the Queen of the Night's aria "Der Hölle Rache," from Die Zauberflöte, K. 620, of Mozart played on an instrument whose capabilities it fits rather than being sung by an intentionally uncomfortable voice. Balsom settles easily into the smoky tango atmosphere of Astor Piazzolla's Oblivion and tones things down for the semi-popular Les feuilles mortes of Joseph Kosma (this is as close as she comes to crossover music). The mastering engineers do the best they can with such a diverse set of sound sources, and the result will be delightful for Balsom newcomers and fans alike. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 18, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 8, 2014 | Warner Classics

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British trumpeter Alison Balsom, with a distinctive clear sound and as photogenic as one could ask, has moved to the front of the pack of young trumpeters vying to succeed the giants of the late 20th century. With Paris, she reaches a transcendent new level. There is nothing so original about a program of light Parisian music, but the way in which Balsom carries it off is unique. For one thing, the music isn't so light: it ranges from elegant (the Satie and Ravel pieces) to moody (Piazzolla), to profound (the selections from Messiaen's Le Baiser de l'Enfant Jésus). Only at the end does the mood relax with a pair of popular and jazz selections. The tempo is in the middle range and doesn't vary much from piece to piece, and the trumpet is kept in quiet mode throughout. It's a sequence that would have defeated a lesser player, but in Balsom's hands it becomes hypnotic. She had a hand in the arrangements herself, and the selection of works, like Satie's Gymnopédie No. 3 and Gnossiene No. 3, that you would never guess could find a home on the trumpet, is extremely ingenious. Mostly Balsom has worked with major symphony orchestras, but here she takes the daring step of teaming with the small Guy Barker & His Orchestra, an ensemble oriented toward jazz that is itself led by a trumpeter. The feel of the album is unique: it is not jazzed-up classical music (although the program does end with Django Reinhardt), but a texture with a uniquely flexible relationship between soloist and ensemble. A superior recital in every way. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 4, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 18, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released August 7, 2013 | Warner Classics

The title of this release suggests it's a collection of recordings by popular British trumpeter Alison Balsom, and indeed, it is. What the packaging doesn't say is that it's exclusively Baroque pieces. Balsom has recorded music of all periods, and she's in no way exclusively devoted to the Baroque nor a historically oriented trumpeter. This is less of an issue than one might think, however. Baroque music has always been central to the trumpet repertory, and the album does what it sets out to do: provide a snapshot of Balsom's pleasing style. Hear the variety of voices she gives her trumpet in the excerpts from the opera King Arthur (tracks 1-5). Her agility and freedom in the small pieces by Bach almost suggest the influence of the player who inspired Balsom to take up the trumpet, Dizzy Gillespie, although there is nothing of jazz about them. The album lies somewhere between a greatest-hits collection and a group of neglected tracks. There are several excerpts from operas along with a few Baroque trumpet concerto standards. But everything is well-chosen, well-layed, and well-packaged, and for those looking for a taste of the increasingly popular Balsom this will more than fill the bill. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 1, 2008 | Warner Classics

Booklet
With the large selection of recordings on the market for both the Haydn and Hummel trumpet concertos, the browser might be forgiven for wondering whether British trumpeter Alison Balsom's no-neckline look might be the chief attraction here. It's not the case, and Balsom crafts a distinctive interpretation of these familiar works within the category of modern-instrument, chamber-orchestra readings. Annotator Jonathan Freeman-Attwood points out an interesting feature of the Haydn concerto's outer movements: the composer's humorous treatment of the fanfares conventionally associated with the trumpet. The instrument seems to be trying to assert itself against the flow of melody characteristic of Haydn's time. Balsom catches this humor with restrained playing that has an unmistakably sly quality. She also handles the virtuoso demands of the Hummel concerto effortlessly; offers very langorous, lovely slow movements; and switches gears into a sparer idiom for the Trumpet Concerto in D major by Giuseppe Torelli, which would have originally been played on a natural trumpet. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with Balsom apparently conducting from the trumpet, offers support in keeping with the general mood. The only complaints, and they are small ones, are that the program ends with a thud with the slight trumpet concerto (originally for hunting horn) by Jan Neruda and that the program is short at under 53 minutes. The shorter concertos would have worked better as an entr'acte, with the Hummel at the end. The sound, captured at a Lutheran church in suburban Bremen, is on the bright side, but reveals Balsom's subtle approach nicely. The buyer new to these familiar trumpet pieces can choose this release with confidence. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 28, 2005 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 7, 2002 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 8, 2014 | Warner Classics

British trumpeter Alison Balsom, with a distinctive clear sound and as photogenic as one could ask, has moved to the front of the pack of young trumpeters vying to succeed the giants of the late 20th century. With Paris, she reaches a transcendent new level. There is nothing so original about a program of light Parisian music, but the way in which Balsom carries it off is unique. For one thing, the music isn't so light: it ranges from elegant (the Satie and Ravel pieces) to moody (Piazzolla), to profound (the selections from Messiaen's Le Baiser de l'Enfant Jésus). Only at the end does the mood relax with a pair of popular and jazz selections. The tempo is in the middle range and doesn't vary much from piece to piece, and the trumpet is kept in quiet mode throughout. It's a sequence that would have defeated a lesser player, but in Balsom's hands it becomes hypnotic. She had a hand in the arrangements herself, and the selection of works, like Satie's Gymnopédie No. 3 and Gnossiene No. 3, that you would never guess could find a home on the trumpet, is extremely ingenious. Mostly Balsom has worked with major symphony orchestras, but here she takes the daring step of teaming with the small Guy Barker & His Orchestra, an ensemble oriented toward jazz that is itself led by a trumpeter. The feel of the album is unique: it is not jazzed-up classical music (although the program does end with Django Reinhardt), but a texture with a uniquely flexible relationship between soloist and ensemble. A superior recital in every way. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 9, 2012 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet

Classical - Released August 7, 2013 | Warner Classics UK

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The title of this release suggests it's a collection of recordings by popular British trumpeter Alison Balsom, and indeed, it is. What the packaging doesn't say is that it's exclusively Baroque pieces. Balsom has recorded music of all periods, and she's in no way exclusively devoted to the Baroque nor a historically oriented trumpeter. This is less of an issue than one might think, however. Baroque music has always been central to the trumpet repertory, and the album does what it sets out to do: provide a snapshot of Balsom's pleasing style. Hear the variety of voices she gives her trumpet in the excerpts from the opera King Arthur (tracks 1-5). Her agility and freedom in the small pieces by Bach almost suggest the influence of the player who inspired Balsom to take up the trumpet, Dizzy Gillespie, although there is nothing of jazz about them. The album lies somewhere between a greatest-hits collection and a group of neglected tracks. There are several excerpts from operas along with a few Baroque trumpet concerto standards. But everything is well-chosen, well-layed, and well-packaged, and for those looking for a taste of the increasingly popular Balsom this will more than fill the bill. © TiVo