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Ceremonial Music for Trumpet & Symphonic Organ
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Henry Purcell, Jean-Joseph Mouret
Ceremonial Music for Trumpet & Symphonic Organ
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, New Age, Classical
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1


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A ceremony in sound
FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a beautifully performed CD of ceremonial music of the Christian tradition. While organist Michael Murray talks about the diversity of kinds of ceremonial music in the liner notes essay, the musical selection here is drawn from the Western Christian tradition with few exceptions.

Sometimes the music did not start out as ceremonial in nature - Murray points out that the 'Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night's Dream' is now considered traditional wedding-march music, whereas at one time it considered completely inappropriate.

Music is drawn from the past four hundred years - works of well-known composers such as Purcell, Handel, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Bach are collected here, together with lesser-known composers such as Paradis, Mouret, Charpentier, Clarke and Martini, famous and respected in their day, but less known as personalities now (although their music will undoubtedly sound very familiar to the listener with any exposure to Western music). The CD also includes a few pieces from modern composers such as the French Charles Gounod, the British Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the American Alan Hovhaness.

Organist Michael Murray and trumpeter Rolf Smedvig make a dynamic duo in this celebratory music. Murray plays the symphonic organ from the First United Methodist Church of Cleveland (I've been in that church for a concert, and it is grand indeed). Smedvig is a Grammy nominee for his work with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, serving on the faculty of Boston University and Tanglewood. Murray has had a worldwide career of recitals, being a frequent guest of orchestras, and often sought to inaugurate grand organs upon their installation.

This is a grand disc, a ceremony in sound, and a wonderful piece to have in one's collection.
mclv | Charlottesville, Va | 06/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This disc contains a nice selection of music appropriate for weddings and other liturgical occasions. Smedvig and Murray achieve a fine balance with a rich, full sound that is clear and warm, never harsh. Smedvig's trumpet playing demonstrates a wide range of timbres and styles: bright and energetic in the Mouret "Rondeau," glorious and majestic in Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary," expressive and lyrical in the Bach-Gounod "Ave Maria," subdued and reverent in Hovhaness's "Prayer to St. Gregory." (He also has astounding breath control and trills that are to die for.) The only less-than-successful cut, I think, is the Mendelssohn "Wedding March," played at a plodding tempo, with the trumpet in such a low range that its brightness is muffled. Overall the disc is awe-inspiring and uplifting; I learn something every time I listen to it!"
A good wedding planner, but...
Gregory E. Foster | 06/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This album has its positive and negative aspects. The idea of an album containing some of the most oft-used music in weddings and other such ceremonies is a great idea and no doubt will be helpful to those planning their weddings. Mr. Murray's playing is outstanding. Mr. Smedvig is also an excellent player, but his interpretations have their drawbacks. Smedvig adds too many ornaments (extra notes) to the main melody lines. It reminds me of trumpet players I knew in high school who would add so many ornaments to music of this sort that the main melody line would become lost. That happens here - the large number of ornaments are detrimental to hearing what are of themselves beautiful musical lines. Moreover, it causes tempo discrepancies. The Mouret speeds up and slows down several times. The finest recording of the Mouret still has to belong to Gerard Schwarz, and it's a true shame that Schwarz didn't do more recording. If you want an album with a great deal of traditional wedding fare to help select music for a wedding trumpeter, this is a practical CD. For the music itself, better can be obtained."