Ludwig Güttler (b1943) has established a reputation in Germany for his thrillingly focused piccolo trumpet sound‚ not least in his significant contribution to several major Bach productions – notably under Peter Schreier. This latest disc is‚ frankly‚ a disappointment. The playing is nothing less than steadily accomplished‚ both in the trumpet concertos and works in which he performs on a corno da caccia (Zelenka‚ Quantz and good old Anon) although one wearies of Güttler’s fast vibrato and uniform articulation. He is not helped by the consistent mediocrity of the repertoire he has chosenÊ–Êwith the exception of the Triple Trumpet Concerto by Telemann‚ the odd movement from the Zelenka and the charming sarabandeinspired adagio from the Quantz.
To make matters worse‚ Virtuosi Saxoniae give no quarter to the type of textural and gestural characteristics which can lift works like the Schmelzer Sonata off the page. Schmelzer indeed requires a fundamental engagement with the colours of the midBaroque Central European aesthetic; this so much more easily achieved on period instruments than with the luxuriantly outmoded string playing and vulgar mordents from Güttler. To hear such music (and from Schmelzer’s younger colleague Biber) sparkle with courtly nuance and refinement‚ Philip Pickett and his New London Consort have most of the answers. For the impressive Telemann Concerto look no further than Christopher Hogwood’s fine performance with Friedemann Immer (who himself has recorded a version with three trumpetsand organ). Never less than tidy‚ efficient and businesslike‚ this new discÊ–Êdespite a warm glow to the slow movements with corno da caccia – rarely offers much more. Approach with caution.