Recital Music for Trumpet is a wonderful recording of unique works for trumpet by composers Robert J. Bradshaw, Cherilee Wadsworth-Walker, Thorvald Hansen and Karl Pilss. Each work was specially selected to show the performer’s skills as well as the musical varieties offered for future trumpet recitalists. The performer also facilitates the use of other instruments in the trumpet family such as the cornet and the flugelhorn, adding to the synergistic beauty of these instruments...
The first work, Sonata, composed by Robert J. Bradshaw is an exciting and forever energetic work that incorporates rock and latino rhythms and composed using a pitch set that sounds very tonal. This work has been performed throughout the world as a premiere project by the composer. James Ackley performed the work during the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Conference and again, here on this CD recording.
The second work is by an almost unknown composer, Thorvald Hansen, solo trumpeter at the Danish Royal Theater. Hansen was also a conductor, organist and educator. Many of his works were written for the trumpet or brass instruments. His Sonata for cornet and piano in Eb is a gem of a piece. Even though it contains three movements, it might also be considered more of a sonatina rather than a sonata due to its length. The compositional style encompasses the romanticism during his time. The first movement is a very playful yet grandeur movement with sweeping lines in the piano and trumpet. It is somewhat technical for both instruments and keeps its melodic integrity throughout. The second movement is another jewel in the trumpet repertoire; a beautiful melody with a strong harmonic progression and rich harmonies. This movement is very reminiscent of Schumann or Schubert in the way the melody seems to be familiar and long lasting. The final movement is a jubilant ending to the work. Like the first movement, the trumpet is both calling and melodic and both instruments are very busy from start to finish.
The flugelhorn has always been one of my favorite instruments to play. Its rich sound and color palette make for an amazing juxtaposition of lyricism and expression. A Sunday Excursion utilizes the flugelhorn in this manner. Originally written for Robert and Lori’s wedding, this piece provides a gentle melody on top of a rhythmically active piano. The duo plays off of one another with such gentle communication, that the piece is mesmerizing to listen to and perform.
Dr. Cherilee Wadsworth-Walker is a professional performer, arranger, composer and educator. She has performed with such national artist as Willie Nelson, John Hammond, The Mills Brothers, and the Four Lads. She has also appeared in the production of gary Trudeau's satiric review of the Reagan administration, "Rap Master Ronnie" and the world premiere of African-American composer Leslie Adams' cantata, "The Righteous Man", based on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Wadsworth-Walker has served as a vocalist for the United States Navy Band, touring more than 25 countries. Her arranging skills and performances have brought her many awards, including the Navy Achievement Medal.
Dr. Wadsworth-Walker continues to be an active performer and educator, serving on faculty at Illinois Central College. She is also an advocate for jazz education, presenting annual conferences for the International Association for Jazz Education, College Music Society, Oklahoma Educators Association, Illinois Music Educators Association, and the International Alliance for Women in Music, among others.
The suite is a three movement work for solo trumpet. Uses of techniques familiar to the trumpet, such as double tonguing, fast chromatic passages coupled along with quick and wide leaps, are prevalent throughout. The first movement is a "jerky" play between half steps separated by an octave that quickly explodes into frenzy. The movement ends with a bang! The second movement is introspective and utilizes the harmon mute. In the original version, there was no mute used, but thought it made a good contrast between the outer movements and lent itself to a more "jazzy" approach. The third movement returns to a quick and jumpy melody, suggestive of the first movement. This movement has several short sections to it, divided by a section that uses a cup mute.
Little-known composer, Karl Pilss, is omitted from many popular music encyclopedias and/or dictionaries. The Austrian born composer also worked as a conductor, painter and educator, composing in the late 19th century romantic tradition similar to Richard Strauss. The Sonata was written for and dedicated to Professor Helmut Wobisch. Professor Wobisch was a trumpet soloist and principal trumpet of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a strong advocate of the Viennese sound.
James Ackley, trumpet
International soloist, James Ackley, enjoys his career performing the trumpet around the globe. The list of continents in which he has performed include the USA, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. On a recent tour through Venezuela, the critics named James “one of the best trumpet players in the world today”. And the Cleveland Post has hailed James’ as “technically superior” and “a sound that speaks for itself.”
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, James received his BM from the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music and his MM from the elite Cleveland Institute of Music. Presently, James is dedicated to his career as a soloist, having released his premiere solo CD titled Recital Music for Trumpet under the Claronade label. His second CD, Lírico Latino, will be available in spring 2007. James also maintains a busy teaching schedule as Assistant Professor of Music and coordinator of the applied music program at the University of Connecticut.
James has performed with numerous orchestras throughout the world and under some of the most distinguished batons: Zubin Mehta, Jah-Jah Ling, Christoph Eschenbach, Placido Domingo, Fransisco Rettig and James Levin to mention a few. He has also distinguished himself as a composer and arranger. His materials are published under the editorial visage of Cimarron Music Company.
Elena Kaßmann, piano
Originally from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, pianist Elenna Kaßmann has an internationally recognized career. Studying piano from the age of four, she made her premiere performance in front of an orchestra at the age of eleven. By 1995, Elena graduated High School from the D. Petkov School of Music on a full scholarship. Also on a full scholarship, she later received her performance degree from the State Academy of Music in Sofia. In 2001, Elena found herself in the United States at the University of Connecticut where she completed her Master of Music degree in 2004 and served as a teaching assistant. Her teachers include Kr. Boeva, Roxana Bogdanova, Anton Dikov and Neal Larrabee.
Elena has won numerous prizes, including the “Obretenov” National Competition in Bulgaria, the “Music and Earth” International Competition, the UConn Concerto Competition and the Young Artist Piano Competition in Hartford, CT. She has recorded for the Bulgarian National Radio and participated in numerous festivals, some along side of Paul van Ness and Boris Bloch. Her numerous solo performances have taken her from Bulgaria to places such as Italy, Macedonia, Portugal, the USA and Germany. Elena currently resides in Bonn, Germany where she has quickly earned a reputation as a pianist, collaborator and mother of two.