EXPLORING MUSIC: From Raspberries to Diamonds

Maurice André Plays Concerti Of Bellini, Telemann, And Vivaldi

Maurice Andre, trumpet

Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra

NOTE: This album is no longer available in this exact compilation. But the recordings are available on this digital collection. 

The sheet from which I am working (a photocopy) contains a badly reproduced impression of the original Erato label for this record, and some mysterious crayoned words, symbols, and numbers (e.g. ''Dolby," ''lOkHz," ''8'50''). But what caught my eye was the penned legend '' MHS 4000." ''Aha! A new series,'' I told myself, wondering what it would embrace. (Concerti by Telemann? Recordings by Andre? Bodies by Fisher?) Then it dawned on me! Holy Smoke! The regular MHS series has reached 4000! ! It began with MHS 500--sixteen years ago, was it? I went down to the basement storeroom and took it from the shelf. It, like its first nine brethren, is not in the catalogue any more. It contains concerti by Michael Haydn and Carl Stamitz and symphonies by C. P. E. Bach, played by the Bavarian Baroque Ensemble. You never heard of the B.B.E., you say? Small wonder: it didn't exist. The masters were then leased from Vox and Philips and even the Telemann Society--things that had been in and out of the catalogue in various incarnations--the performers cleverly masked as, say, the above, or Ludwig Zilch and the Worms Philharmusic Symphony. I recall that I blew the cover on the Benevoli Mass (MHS 502), because it turned out to be the same recording I had bought on the Epic label ten years earlier. Others must have complained too, for very shortly the offerings were not only impeccable but very exciting to the adventurous record collector. The numbers · ran-slowly at first; there was a record a month, later two--up to MHS 1999, then skipped to MHS 3000. It took eight years to get to MHS 1000, but only three to add twice as many numbers, and five more to reach the present plateau. That's 2500 records, give or take a few (not every number was used.) Add to this the CC series, the Vivaldi series, the ORM series, the OR series, and the 7000 series, and the whole output must have come to 3000 records. What ''classical'' publisher has produced more in the same length of time?


Maurice Andre entered the catalogue on MHS 511, as part of the band playing Handel's fireworks music, and first got star billing on MHS 520. It is estimated that merely in making recordings M. Andre has blown enough air through his trumpet to fully inflate the Goodyear blimp Columbia. (Note to the critic who keeps protesting my illiteracy: I am perfectly aware that I just split an infinitive, Preach me not your musty Latin rules.) I suppose that M. Andre has aged in all this time, though his publicity photoes don't suggest it. When he first hove on the scene, deprecators of ''classical'' music promoted the notion that all ''classical'' musicians were weirdos with long stringy hair and shaggy beards; that was before the deprecators adopted long stringy hair and shaggy beards themselves. Andre, however, --chunky, sleek-haired, clean-shaven--might, without his horn, have passed for a prosperous tradesman. Actual­ly, he is a magician: he puts raspberries into one end of his trumpet and they come out the other as diamonds!


And what is he playing this time? Ah, I was afraid you'd ask that! The label tells us he is playing trumpet concerti by Bellini, Telemann, and Vivaldi. But there are relatively few real trumpet concerti in the world,· and Andre's fans have learned to expect transcriptions and reworkings of non-trumpet music, which is what, I believe, they will find here. However, once again we are hampered by the Case of the Missing Liner Notes. But, at enormous cost in research time, I think I have identified three of the four pieces. Bellini's is unquestionably the oboe concerto that he wrote probably between leaving the conservatory and embarking on the brief operatic career that culminated in Puritani and Norma. It has been repeatedly recorded by oboists--see MHS 595, 635, 1278--but I'd swear it sounds better on trumpet. The Vivaldi is P. 406, originally for oboe, violin, and orchestra (MHS 659, Vl 7); Andre made an earlier recording with Die Wiener Solisten (The Solo Hot Dogs) on MHS 1189. (Yes, Virginia, a violinist is included here; he is called Janos Rolla). The Telemann Concerto in E minor is another oboe concerto, and appears as such on MHS 518, but I've been unable to pin down the one in G major. G major seems not to have been a favorite key with Telemann.


Maurice Andre appears to be making a systematic tour of chamber orchestras of Europe. The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1963 by advanced students at the Budapest Conservatory, and specialized in music of the 17th and 18th centuries. It has appeared on a number of Hungaroton records as the Liszt Ferenc Kamarazenkar.