Stephen Gilbey and William Ferguson

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The Assembly House, Norwich


The Assembly House, Norwich

The trumpet shall sound. Those words are always thrilling, and Stephen Gilbey did not disappoint in his lunchtime recital. He started with one of the sonatas that Torelli wrote for performance in the Basilica at Bologna where the short, but lively movements must have made the congregation sit up.

Exchanging his piccolo trumpet for a more conventional model at lower pitch, Gilbey turned next to Hummel's Concerto. Written in 1803, it used familiar classical patterns as a framework for episodes designed to give the trumpeter every chance to show his paces. Before the audience had time to tire of believe-it-or-not brilliance, the slow second movement brought a more reflective mood and sustained playing, with one long phrase towards the end built up with particular artistry.

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In the finale, the trumpet boldly seized the initiative, leading the way in high spirits. Vaulting confidently over technical hurdles, the soloist was unashamed of exuberant emotions.

Tall, loose-limbed and with expressive hands, William Fergusson brought character to the accompaniment. He made quite sure we did not feel the lack of the orchestra in the Hummel concerto, and he put verve as well as finger power into Stravinsky's Piano Rag Music. The programme mentioned that he is also a composer. Another time he really must be persuaded to play something that he has written himself.

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