The BSO mastered the unorthodox syncopated rhythm in order to produce a wonderful rendition of the piece, with an especial contribution made by Chris Avison’s trumpet section, which was key in exercising the necessary moderation.
The opening work, from John Williams' score for Summon the Heroes, was a gorgeous revelation. An early lyrical trumpet solo was spine-chilling, while the rest of the orchestra sprung immediately into gear, building to a thrilling conclusion with the Parade.
Chris Avison is an outstanding and versatile young trumpet player who performs at a consistently high level across all styles of music. His musical maturity, technical security and exceptional tone quality will serve him will in his future career.
Avison, the BSO’s principal trumpet, dashed through the faster sections with nimble articulation and clean tone, a polished sound rather than the abrasive Soviet brass school of yore, the muted sections smokily “bluesy”.
A solo off-stage trumpet repeated the “perennial question of existence” patiently, while a wind quartet, inquisitive at first, tried unsuccessfully to answer, getting increasingly agitated, turning angry and eventually mocking with shrill dissonances before giving up and leaving the trumpet’s final repeat of the question unanswered. This was a real moment in time, and was presented immaculately.
The BSO’s performance was a complete tour de force, with outstanding playing from all sections. The many solo passages, for Owain Bailey’s piccolo, Holly Randall’s cor anglais, Chris Avison’s trumpet, Nicolas Fleury’s horn and many others were utterly nailed, and the ensemble playing never faltered.
The suite comprises five movements depicting Kijé’s fictitious life – these are rich and varied in their orchestration, showcasing many orchestral colours. From off-stage bugle solos, performed with smooth-as-silk playing, to the evocative, smoky sound of the tenor saxophone, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra totally beguiled us under the charismatic direction of Rustioni.
An incredible new brass release as a tribute to the late Professor James Watson. Led by trumpeter Chris Avison, Professor Watson's final generation of students from the Royal Academy of Music, along with some guests, came together to record this astonishing brass CD. Following the release of two critically acclaimed CDs conducted by Professor Watson, many of the players wanted to make one more disc as an ensemble in tribute.
Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto is a far less subtle work, although far better known, among trumpeters at least. Completed in 1950, it toes the Soviet party line in its directness, and draws on the composer’s Armenian musical heritage. Taking on its virtuosic solo part was the BSO’s principal, Chris Avison, who impressed in the fast passages and drew out the soulfulness of the slow interludes. It was first-rate playing of a second-rate piece.
And so to Mahler’s Fifth, given a performance that underlined its emotional agitation and boundless energy. In the opening movement, Rustioni’s forthright pace enhanced its tortured romanticism and reminded me of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. At times the pace felt too frenetic, more a cry for help than a funeral march. But the whole was set in motion confidently enough by Chris Avison’s trumpet fanfare.
The vigour and energy of the terrifying eruption which followed with the Dies iraewas no surprise from a conductor with Karabits’ passion – crisp, brilliantly directed, all on stage played and sang as one. As the eruption subsided, we were treated to some very fine brass playing from both on and off-stage trumpets – the balance was spot on and the performance was delivered with meticulous attention to detail, heralding the thrilling build-up to the Tuba mirum.
It makes a pleasing concert opener although the trumpeter might prefer a few more bars of tremolando strings before beginning his solo. This appeared not to present any fears for Chris Avison who delivered its long-breathed melodic line with calm control and beauty of tone, as did the oboist Edward Kay, in his minor key version of the same theme.
Frank Renton - British Bandsman review of James Watson Memorial Concert
The RAM Brass Ensemble performed with great confidence but special mention for the piccolo playing of Chris Avison that completely stunned the audience.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
BSO’s principal trumpet Chris Avison featured in the Arutiunian Concerto which followed. The orchestra quickly took us into a different territory, full of heroic statements and dramatic gestures. Mr Avison brilliantly projected the excitement of this work with vigour, but was also completely convincing in the singing slower sections. The rhythmical interplay with the rest of the orchestra made a strong impression as this performance reached up to its grand final peroration in the stunning cadenza.
Led by Brass Coordinator, Ross Brown, the day included sessions on natural trumpets, tips on making practice more fun, and breathing techniques, as well as a spectacular recital by Chris Avison, Principal Trumpet of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Vincent Bach Trumpets Artist.
The Largo created a truly over-whelming sense of bewilderment and despair, Karabits generating wave after wave of hypnotic intensity which never faltered. The trumpet solo piercing through the orchestra and soaring through the hall was a particular highpoint.