The Norwegian trumpet star Tine Thing Helseth resists boundaries in music, as long as any given work has a potential for lyricism, a hallmark of her playing. Her new album, Seraph (Lawo), with the Norwegian string group Ensemble Allegria, embraces the past – Erik Satie’s Je te veux and Francis Poulenc’s Les chemins de l’amour – and a less familiar, predominantly tonal present: the American Eric Ewazen, her fellow countryman Rolf Wallin and the Armenian Alexander Arutiunian. The Scottish composer James MacMillan’s three-movement concertino Seraph (2010) – written originally for Alison Balsom – gives the album its title, its muscularity and vigour offsetting the more immediate appeal of most of the other works.
Helseth recorded the album before a cancer diagnosis that forced her to stop playing for a time. This pause, about which she has spoken openly, made her reconsider many aspects of her career. We must watch attentively to see where this engaging performer takes us next.
The effervescence of Lost in Venice (Eudora), performed by Infermi d’Amore, a Swiss-based early music group comprising musicians of many nationalities, directed by Vadym Makarenko, will either boost spirits or leave you in need of a short spell of silence. The works, mainly concertos, for violin, two violins or cello, are by Venetian stars of the later 17th and 18th centuries: notably Vivaldi, with small contributions from Veracini and Marcello. Variously rediscovered or reconstructed or incomplete, these pieces conjure the bustling spirit of long-ago Venice. The playing has a soaring, percussive energy and virtuosity. The slow movements come as welcome respite.