Simon Desbruslais & Eleanor Hodgkinson, St David’s Hall

March 8, 2020 by


The afternoon season at St David’s Hall continued with Simon Desbruslais & Eleanor Hodgkinson. Simon is a big advocate for trumpet music and this is evident for the hour he played, with Eleanor as a fine accompanist on piano.

In Fauré’s Étude Vocalise, we heard a typical styling from the French composer, light yet filled with a well-balanced measure in both instruments. Never intended for public performance, this work for voice can get away with the trumpet arrangement heard here. Simon had a bit of a wobble with his instrument as the work ended, perhaps due more to the frequently chilly temperature in the hall. New music by Darren Fellows was enticing, his Three Sketches and Where Eagles Soar both premiers. These Sketches evoke moods and atmosphere to a varying degree and I think the audience was quite taken with the second movement, The Foundry, offering applause. The style is contemporary and the execution is of worth, but perhaps even more experiments might make these pieces even more stimulating.

A piece by Mark Slater (not listed on the programme) was taken from sonic ideas offered in a cave, with a helping hand from John Cage. This solo piece was a mere few minutes filled with silences and the trumpet displaying bouts of solo bravado, keen to soak up the acoustics of the hall. Medtner’s Suite Vocalise was also note worthy, Simon giving lots of musical moments, in a composer we don’t get to hear enough today. Ending with the Three Pieces of Gershwin was a jazzy and easy-going encounter, a piece originally just for the piano. There are many versions of this work and the trumpet version does work as well as it should, Simon and Eleanor both looking like they are having fun during this. The cheery mood made by this made it a fine work to end he concert with.

As Simon continues to broaden the trumpet repertoire, we hope to see more weird and wonderful music back in Cardiff in the future.

The next concert in the Lunchtime Concert Series is Ivan Ilić playing Reicha, Haydn & Beethoven, on 17th March 2020.

Photo Credit: St David’s Hall Twitter Page

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