John Macdomnic and Adrian Boynton - St John's Church, Greenhill
The high quality of St John's lunchtime concerts series continued to astonish as John MacDomnic (trumpet) and Adrian Boynton (organ and piano) made their return to the recital series.
The concert was packed to the brim with music and was meant, as Adrian Boynton informed us through his pre-concert talk, to take us through a journey of the history of trumpet and piano repertoire, from the Baroque period through to some modern classics such as Gershwin's Porgy and Bess Suite.
It started however, with the much more austere Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, by Giovanni Viviani.
In this, as in the following Concerto for Trumpet and Strings in F, Op. 7 No. 9 by Tommaso Albinoni, the performers showed wonderful technique and musicality within the boundaries of the Baroque style - great starting points for the journey we were embarking upon.
Boynton continued this journey with a slight jump forward in time, to Mendelssohn's Sonata
No. 2 in C minor for organ. Taking centre stage, as MacDomnic stepped into the shadows to listen,
wonderful musical skills once more, coupled with a rare demonstrative style which saw many an arm thrust into the air as nodal points in the music were reached.
If it adds to the general sense of the performance (which it did), then why not, I say. A wonderful, musically-sensitive performance.
Mendelssohn was born in 1809, the year of Joseph Haydn's death. Accordingly, we were whisked back in time to Haydn's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in E flat.
This is an extremely well known piece, and MacDomnic and Boynton closed the first half with it. They gave a beautiful account of it, full of a range of contrasting dynamics and nuances within what is still a piece in a classical style.
I have often seen it happen in these recital series that the performer, having started with Baroque works and working his way towards more modern works, noticeably relaxes and takes advantage of the freer style and greater stylistic scope of the more modern offerings, to showcase their talents to the full.
This recital was no exception, MacDomnic and Boynton starting the second half with the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, Op. 51 by Flor Peeters in flamboyant style.
The flamboyancy continued through two short pieces for organ by Armstrong Gibbs and Eugene Gigout respectively. Boynton is without a doubt one of the more extrovert organ players I have seen in concert, and the latter piece, Gigout's Toccata, allowed him to explore many registers and colours of the organ,
particularly the treble register, in pianissimo, to astounding effect.
The performance reached its climax with Gershwin's Porgy and Bess Suite.
Here, MacDomnic truly came into his own. The familiarity of the jazz numbers and their enjoyable modern style meant that MacDomnic was able to slide from quiet, mournful playing to superb dance numbers which he delivered with a consummate, professional display of talent.
The muted passages, which pushed further the boundaries of sound for the trumpet, were a joy to hear, as were the range of colours he displayed.
The concert ended, fittingly, with the fireworks display that is the Fantasia Brilliante by the cornet expert and composer Jean-Baptiste Arban.
This piece is essentially a theme and variations, which become progressively more and more challenging for the soloist, involving double and triple tonguing, rapid-scaled, alternating registers, and other such technical feats, meant to dazzle the audience.
MacDomnic, accompanied by the superb Boynton on the piano, promptly did so, playing through the technical passages with a clarity and relaxed expertise that was nothing short of stunning - a top-class performance.
MacDomnic and Boynton left the stage to deserved, prolonged applause. I thoroughly enjoyed their trip through the trumpet and piano repertoire, and hope to see the two musicians, Harrow and Milton Keynes residents respectively, performing in Harrow once more as soon as possible. Vlad Bourceanu