Virgin Classics VC 45003 2
From The Contemporary Trumpet, an introduction by Jeanne Morreau:
Michael Nyman, born in 1944, is best known for his music for films, in particular those of Peter Greenaway and more recently Patrice Leconte and Jane Campion. No doubt the international success of these films has contributed to the mildly distorted view that Michael Nyman is principally a film composer. Nyman however, who has written prolifically since he turned composer in 1976, has composed predominantly for a small group of musicians who have remained loyal over the years. One of the most memorable sounds from the score of Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover (1989) is the trumpet of Graham Ashton; at Graham’s request, Nyman wrote Flugel and Piano for him in 1991. This short work consists of a series of contrasting episodes; loud-soft, fast-slow, relaxed-frenetic, smooth, suave and rippling against repeated jabbing notes. Unlike much of Nyman’s earlier work, the piece contains no allusions to other composers, although there is a marked resemblance to Nyman’s own more recent work.
From A Personal Note by Graham Ashton:
My original idea for this CD was to record a recital programme of mainly French music for trumpet and piano. Tomasi, Ibert, Fran?aix, Enesco and the like have written wonderfully flamboyant music for the instrument and I was sure it was on this repertoire that I needed to focus.
I have played on many film scores since 1983, and it was in conversation with my friend an colleague George Fenton that I asked if he could imagine a piece for trumpet with the same ‘African feel’ as his score for Attenborough’s Cry Freedom. Over the next few weeks we talked around many ideas: African music, jazz influences, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, classical trumpet playing, Telemann, Haydn, Jolivet, Britten, Maxwell Davies, tonality versus atonality, hgh and low pitched trumpets, flugel, mutes and a whole range of other issues. george began writing and I changed my ideas on the recording for Virgin Classics. I began focusing not on French music, but on a repertoire of contemporary pieces for trumpet which represented a cross-section of some of the very best writing for the instrument that I have enjoyed performing.
Michael Nyman wrote Flugel and Piano for me during a period when I felt his approach to the writing and recording of his music was changing quite considerably. I had given him very few guidelines as I did not want to restrict his writing. I knew the result would be a difficult piece, as Michael had often said he likes to hear the performer ‘fighting’ the instrument. Flugel and Piano is a fight for a couple of reasons: firstly, the flugel does not like being played in the key of D sharp minor, especially wit a trombone ‘bucket mute’ -unfortunately, this was all that I could find fit over the larger flugel bell; secondly, the flugel enjoys being flat at tyhe top register, making the top Cs and Ds a nightmare! Michael’s reaction on hearing the recording was that he found the piece surprisingly emotional.