Trumpeter Alison Balsom Shines on Compilation

Sunday, April 22, 2012

At just 33, Alison Balsom already has a greatest-hits album under her belt. The English trumpeter has just released her seventh recording for EMI, a self-titled collection featuring arrangements by the likes of Bach, Debussy and Piazzolla, as well as contemporary works (by James MacMillan and Oskar Lindberg), and a few traditional numbers for good measure. For those who haven't kept up with Balsom's career, it offers a fine overview of her talents.

Balsom, of course, is a phenom in the world of brass playing. She has brought a touch of feminine glamor to an instrument sometimes associated (fairly or not) with jocks and frat boys. While she's still far better known in the UK and Europe, that may change: she's already appeared on David Letterman's show and is slated to debut at the Hollywood Bowl in August.

The set starts out on a zesty note with Piazzolla’s Esqualo, moves on to Baroque lyricism with an Adagio by Marcello and gets soulful with the American standard “Shenandoah.” Balsom’s crystalline tone particularly shines in Debussy’s moody Syrinx and a sparkling arrangement of Albinoni’s Sonata da chiesa, for violin, cello and continuo No. 1.

The collection also includes the middle movement from Seraph, a commissioned work by the Scottish composer James MacMillan, featured on her recent recording of the same title. It's a welcome sign that Balsom seeks to expand the trumpet repertoire as she continues to put her stamp on the instrument.

Alison Balsom
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