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October 21 2021 9:10 PM ˚

Magical Memories: A magical sound indeed

Album Cover (JCE)
(Photo: Jean-Claude Elias)
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She hails from Oslo, Norway. She is only 34 but already is regarded as a great master of the trumpet in the classical world. Tine Thing Helseth’s album “Magical Memories for Trumpet and Organ” was released earlier this year by Lawo Classics, a Norwegian record label. It is considered as being among the best 20 albums in the world that were recorded so far this year, in the genre.اضافة اعلان

The album is attractive from many a viewpoint. First, it is smartly designed and features 25 short tracks, the longest being four minutes and the shortest 46 seconds. Those who usually find long classical pieces too long and too hard to listen to will be delighted here!

Then is the choice of the music. As explained by Helseth herself: “This is a very personal album to me. Whilst I was growing up my mother also played the trumpet, and many of these pieces are works that I listened to laying on the floor next to the organ whilst she was at rehearsals.” It is a subtle, elegant combination of baroque, traditional, and contemporary compositions.

The album opens with the well-known Charpentier’s Te Deum. The triumphant melodic line is a perfect opening for an album that, for most of the tracks, is on the joyful, cheerful side. Those who watch the yearly Eurovision annual song contest may recognize in the Te Deum the signature tune of the prestigious show.

In addition to Charpentier, the composers chosen by the musician also include, among others, Georg Telemann (particularly brilliant when it comes to the trumpet), Edvard Grieg (Helseth’s compatriot), Jeremiah Clarke, and Henry Purcell, also well-known for his compositions where the trumpet has a major, leading role.

The entire album is easy and a real pleasure to listen to. The contemporary tracks, such as Leif Strand’s composition for example, may surprise the listener who may be only familiar with the more traditional works of Grieg, Purcell Clarke or Telemann, but — again — all the album shines, from track one to 25. By covering periods from the seventeenth century till today, the album brings a welcome variety of styles and compositions, while the sound of Tine Thing Helseth ensures the important homogeneity and continuity.

Helseth’s interpretation is peerless and can be compared to the greatest trumpeters known, like the late French Maurice André or contemporary American jazz musician Chris Botti. Several of the renowned composers and musicologists consider that the trumpet is one of the instruments that are the closest to the human voice. Not all performers, however, are able to produce a sound as soft and refined as Helseth’s. She possesses the innate gift to make music great, irresistible. It is a gift that cannot be taught.

The first word that comes to your mind to qualify the sound when playing the album, perhaps with eyes closed, is “heavenly”.

Tribute must be given to organist Kåre Nordstoga who plays with Tine Thing Helseth on the album. Whereas his parts remain in the background on most of the tracks of the production, his contribution to the resulting quality and sonic atmosphere is invaluable. His touch as magical as Helseth’s.

Given that this is a classical recording with a very refined, sophisticated sound, the album will be better enjoyed played back from the original CD, or at least on streaming platforms that have the high-definition, lossless option, usually available with paid subscriptions.

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