It would be difficult to imagine a more approachable, down-to-earth musician than Tine Thing Helseth. The young Norwegian trumpeter appeared at the Norwegian Embassy in London last night to launch her new recital disc and announce a new festival – and it wasn’t long before she had the select audience eating out of her hand.
Helseth’s new album, ‘Tine’, on EMI Classics, is a selection of transcribed songs and original works from the 19th and 20th centuries, by composers ranging from Enescu and Puccini to Falla and Hindemith. Last night, the programme opened with Ibert’s Impromptu and concluded with Kreisler’s Toy Soldiers’ March – with plenty else in between, including Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, a perfect vehicle for Helseth’s soulful, vibrato-tinged tone. Accompaniment was provided by the buoyant Kathryn Stott, who also performs on the album.
Helseth isn’t a natural orator – she prefers to let the music do the talking – but that’s what adds to her charm. And her introductions to each piece were genuinely interesting, giving us useful background information about the composers in question as well as insights into the challenges of playing her instrument.
But even the naturally reticent musician couldn’t disguise her excitement as she announced her new festival, Tine@Munch. Planned for June 7-9 at the Munch Museum in Oslo, the event is part of Munch150, a series of celebrations planned to mark the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth.
The Museum is steps away from where Helseth grew up and she used to visit regularly with her family. When, by chance, she met the gallery’s director Stein Olav Henrichsen on a plane, her longtime ambition for her own festival took flight.
Helseth’s excitement seems to be contagious – she has managed to bring on board several renowned musicians including Leif Ove Andsnes, Truls Mørk, Nicola Benedetti and Charlie Siem. ‘I’m looking forward to performing with these amazing musicians,’ she said. ‘To be able to present a festival in the heart of Edvard Munch’s art is a real privilege.’
‘Tine’ (EMI Classics, 416 471-2) is reviewed in the May issue of Gramophone, on sale on April 22. Hear Rachmaninov's Vocalise from the album on the Gramophone Player below: