Classical Trumpet Concertos
A principal point of interest here is that this is our first review of a DAT (Digital Audio Tape) cassette. This DAT cassette is the first of a continuing series, albeit the major record companies have said that they have no immediate plans to issue recordings on the new DAT format, and DAT machines are not yet officially on sale in the UK.
The cassette is described as being a direct digital copy from the (1981) digital master by sampling frequency conversion and so is a genuine 'first' in these pages. For the few dozen readers possessing DAT machines, perhaps bought in Japan and imported personally, I can report that sound-quality is first rate with no hint of tape errors or drop-outs after half-a-dozen playings. Treble is clean and bright in tone, with a satisfyingly deep bass and a plentiful feeling of space. Ludwig Guttler is a sensitive as well as brilliant exponent, throwing off the virtuoso passages and extra-high notes (unusually true in timbre in this digital format) as to the manner born. The Leopold Mozart work is deservedly popular and already exists in three CD versions. The Haydn is regularly played by every trumpet soloist and makes an ideal showpiece being listed on no fewer than 12 CDs to date. The Molter and Anonymous works clearly belong to the same high-baroque period and, being in the common three-movement form, afford the soloist many opportunities for melodious as well as nimble-fingered playing.
The chamber orchestra, including barely audible harpsichord, accompanies with an appropriately deft touch and the balance is very natural. The DAT cassette format gives the same track cueing facilities as a CD, though access time is much slower at up to 20 seconds or thereabouts. Each movement of the first three concertos is given a separate track number but the Haydn, though the most substantial work in this rather short programme, is given only one. The minute size of the cassette case raises once again the old question of notes and presentation, and some serious thought will have to be done on this front.'