John Irish, Reporter
The afternoon gala concert began with an exciting version of the Intrada by Arthur Honegger performed by trumpeter Mark Bennett and pianist Jonathan Scott. Bennetts full, rich sound on C trumpet filled the hall as he soared through this piece with ease. Ms. Braaten then took the stage and sang two songs of Gabriel Fauré accompanied by piano. With organ accompaniment (also played by Jonathan Scott) and Bennett on flugelhorn, she sang another Fauré piece, Canticle de Jean Racine. Her finely focused voice added a lovely dimension to the afternoons program. Particularly in this third Faurè song, the combination of her voice and flugelhorn merged into one burnished, warm tone color.
Bennett played the piccolo trumpet with organ accompaniment on Hertels Concerto in D. His brilliant playing on this piece served as a fine vehicle for his formidable technique. The quick runs of the first movementas in the triadic melody materialwere handled with steady assurance. A warm and rich tone welcomed the difficult middle movement. Crisp tonguing and a stately style permeated the final movement. One can readily see that he brings a wealth of talent and experience to this repertoire.
Arguably the most beautiful Handel aria with trumpet was given a specially touching performance. Eternal Source of Light Divine is an aria of slower pace and longer notes. The artists sang through their emotional lines moving the audience with their poignant expression. Braatens sweet voice and Bennetts piccolo trumpet playing proved a fitting match. The lovely aria, Lascia chio pianga from an opera by Handel showed Braatens fantastic voice to full advantage. Especially noteworthy were her embellishments on subsequent stanzas. The most basic instrument is the human voice; we would all do well to emulate this wonderful example in our playing.
In Purcells Sound the Trumpet many passages blended beautifully; the sensitivity of both artists allowed for each line to be clearly heard. Bennett then performed a Voluntary by Boyce. The marvelous slow opening on organ gave way to the joyous, lively often-heard trumpet tune. His performance was tasteful and included ornamentation that was cleanly executed.
Three arias of Scarlatti for trumpet and soprano represented the final pieces of the concert. Bennett played these on Baroque trumpet and the splendid beauty of this instrument was awesome. He demonstrated how ornaments can liven up the texture. The two recitalists fed off each others musicality and were supported beautifully throughout the late afternoon recital by accompanist Jonathan Scott. These performers graciously presented wonderful music, wonderfully performed.