Tine Thing Helseth’s playing is stylish in every way and there is ready virtuosity when required. She immediately finds character in the brief Ibert Impromptu. Glazunov’s Album Leaf has a yearningly romantic main theme, ideal for the trumpet, which is given a series of variations which both artists relish. Helseth tells us she was ‘immediately inspired’ by Enescu’s slightly doleful Legend and its mood is again reflected in the pianist’s accompaniment, most touching at the close. Bull’s Perpetuum mobile is deliciously volatile and spiritedly pointed by this duo, while the collection of five Puccini items draws more on his songs than his operas. Sommerfeldt’s Divertimento shows Helseth’s remarkable range: she is as happy with a soulful central Larghetto as with the dancing final Allegro con brio.
Falla’s Siete Canciones populares españolas are familiar and transcribe effectively to the combination of trumpet and piano (Stott’s contribution especially telling, rhythmically). The ‘Asturiana’ and ‘Berceuse’ are haunting on the legato trumpet, while the catchy ‘Jota’ makes a splendid foil between them.
Hindemith’s Sonata was highly prized by its composer, with an enticing secondary theme in the first movement which invites a burst of virtuosity from the pianist. After a brief and unexpectedly lightweight central movement, the sonata ends with a solemn ‘Trauermusik’, which closes with a profound quotation of the 17th-century chorale melody Alle Menschen müssen sterben (‘All men must die’). The performers respond with considerable pathos.
The last three items are appropriately lighter. Rachmaninov’s Vocalise readily comes to life and the recital ends with two Kreisler ‘lollipops’: the Toy Soldiers’ March was written in 1917, after the composer’s discharge from the army, and the jolly, nostalgic March miniature viennoise dates from 1925. Both are played with just the right degree of effervescence.
Helseth suggests in her notes that ‘putting together a full recital is a challenge’ (which is surely met admirably here). ‘I have need to express myself and I do that through melody. But playing fast should not be about showing off, it has to go deeper than that.’ Stott obviously identifies with her and both artists achieve striking spontaneity. The EMI recording is impeccably balanced.