Ceremonial Music for Trumpet and Symphonic Organ is my CD recommendation for the week of January 4, 2015. I’ve given five stars (top rating) to each cut from this CD. Composers such as Mendelssohn, Purcell, Clarke, Hovhaness, Bach, Handel, and Charpentier are featured. Here is a review that I can easily second. Classical music lovers will find nearly ever selection familiar except for the lesser known composers.
“This is a beautifully performed CD of ceremonial music of the Christian tradition. While organist Michael Murray talks about the diversity of kinds of ceremonial music in the liner notes essay, the musical selection here is drawn from the Western Christian tradition with few exceptions.
Sometimes the music did not start out as ceremonial in nature – Murray points out that the ‘Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is now considered traditional wedding-march music, whereas at one time it considered completely inappropriate.
Music is drawn from the past four hundred years – works of well-known composers such as Purcell, Handel, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Bach are collected here, together with lesser-known composers such as Paradis, Mouret, Charpentier, Clarke and Martini, famous and respected in their day, but less known as personalities now (although their music will undoubtedly sound very familiar to the listener with any exposure to Western music). The CD also includes a few pieces from modern composers such as the French Charles Gounod, the British Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the American Alan Hovhaness.
Organist Michael Murray and trumpeter Rolf Smedvig make a dynamic duo in this celebratory music. Murray plays the symphonic organ from the First United Methodist Church of Cleveland (I’ve been in that church for a concert, and it is grand indeed). Smedvig is a Grammy nominee for his work with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, serving on the faculty of Boston University and Tanglewood. Murray has had a worldwide career of recitals, being a frequent guest of orchestras, and often sought to inaugurate grand organs upon their installation.
This is a grand disc, a ceremony in sound, and a wonderful piece to have in one’s collection.”