END OF THE MATTER
Premieres for Trumpet
Charles Bestor, Robert Bradshaw, Michael Ellison, Evan Hause, Salvatore Macchia, James Stephenson
ERIC BERLIN, trumpet
Eduardo Leandro, Percussion
Lynn Klock, Saxophone
Nadine Shank, Piano
"The disc is notable for two reasons: program and performance. Outside of modern composers, very few of the generally-acknowledged "greats" wrote for solo trumpet, so the enterprising players have usually energetically pursued commissions... All the performers are excellent... Berlin has a bright, clear tone, hits no clams, has a vigorous approach to rhythm, and the musical brains to understand the goals of very different pieces. Leandro, his principal accompanist, amazes me in his sensitivity to his partner and his apparently effortless virtuosity. Saxophonist Lynn Klock...plays beautifully, with a horn-like tone and a beautiful sense of line. Pianist Nadine Shank gets very little to do, but does it very well."
Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet - May 2010
"Throughout it all, Berlin plays with a flawless tone and an adaptive sense of style, no matter what the composers come up with."
Times Union - May 11, 2008
"Eric Berlin has all the elements one expects from a trumpet player - boldness, big sound, impressive technique - as well as the things that make a complete musician: tonal variety, ability and willingness to blend, and expressiveness. Eduardo Leandro is a superb percussionist...Lynn Klock is a very good player..."
American Record Guide - January / February 2008
"I can say from the outset that Mr. Berlin…has a wonderfully lyrical tone and a very solid technique—high notes pose no problem for him… Brass players of all stripes should marvel at Mr. Berlin’s sound, and others desiring to spice up their collections might find much of interest here also. The recorded sound is of very high quality."
Audiophile Audition - February 2008
"Eric Berlin...leads a musical life devoted to exploration and diversity. His technical virtuosity and rich and robust sound have been heard in many world premieres. This exciting disc is devoted to such works, as all were given first performances by Mr. Berlin."
H&B Direct - February 2008
"Each piece on this disc received its premiere performance by Eric Berlin and this collection of pieces speaks to Mr. Berlin’s flexibility of technique and comfort level with a wide variety of styles. Each work has its own demands, strengths, and pitfalls. Mr. Berlin and all of the performers on the CD have put together an incredibly strong and compelling program. The Vingettes by James M. Stephenson III is a strong opener for the disc. Each of the seven brief movements fixate on a limited soundworld in both trumpet and percussion parts. Most often, the percussionist is limited to a single instrument. The end result is an energizing kaleidoscope of musical potential. I love this piece. It makes me want to compose!
Charles Bestor’s Concerto Piccolo is, as one might guess, a brief work. During the ten minutes, the live trumpet soars through most of the piece while the electronic accompaniment slides through various manipulations of the trumpet’s sound. The general tone of the work is ambient, with some diversions into more driving rhythmic territory. ... the composer does a fine job orchestrating in and out of the ghost versions of the trumpet.
The End of the Matter is a cyclic arch dialog between the trumpet and the mallet instruments. The melodic materials in the trumpet part are sinuous, sustaining a longer dramatic structure. The vibes and marimba parts provide great punctuations as the piece unfolds. Ideas, timbres, and texture revolve through the work without ever seeming repetitive or meandering.
The short Elegy for trumpet, saxes, and mallets, is an excellent outgrowth from the sound world of The End of the Matter. This somber work emerges from the dying sounds of the previous piece and, on first listening, I thought it was another section of Macchia’s composition. The saxophones provide excellent lyrical and contrapuntal contrast to the trumpet line.
Evan Hause’s Street Jam is a delightfully crisp and punchy work. The two forces, trumpet and bongos, work together at times, against each other at times, and upstage each other at times. The title is a perfect visual image to put with the music. Hause has wonderful energy and drive in this piece. Both performers really throw down, too!
The Sonata by Robert J. Bradshaw could be considered the most conventional work on the CD being the only "sonata" and the only work for trumpet and piano. The four movements of the piece follow the typical sonata plan, each filled with a lush sense of harmony and a lyrical sense for melodic writing. The faster movements contain plenty of sparkle and drive in addition to the pervasive lyricism... the piece and the performance are quite strong.."
Sequenza 21 - February 2008
" 'Always begin with energy' was the poet David Wagoner's advice on assembling an oral program. By beginning End of the Matter: Premieres for Trumpet with James M. Stephenson's Stravinsky-influenced Vignettes for Trumpet and Percussion (giveaway title of the second vignette: Chasing Igor), Eric Berlin apparently concurs. Not that the energy flags during the three pieces that follow -- indeed, Stravinsky, although never mentioned in the eight-page liner notes, haunts the album's entire 71 minutes. But the energy is re-distributed, sometimes into futuristic effects (Charles Bestor's Concerto Piccolo for Trumpet and Electronics), sometimes into melodies and instrumentation requiring no Stravinsky familiarity to apprehend (Robert J. Bradshaw's Sonata for Trumpet and Piano). At the risk of succumbing to too much optimism, one can imagine the "spacey" feel of Berlin's performances introducing progressive-rock fans arrested by the gimmick-laden but musically accomplished likes of Keith Emerson, Isao Tomita and Walter/Wendy Carlos to the deeper, wider worlds to which those performers' more serious moments point. Rating: Four switched-on firebirds out of five."
World Magazine - January 2008
Trumpeter Eric Berlin
leads a musical life devoted to exploration and diversity, from solo engagements to chamber and orchestral music to pedagogy. His technical virtuosity, magnified by a rich and robust sound, has been heard in many world premieres of solo and chamber music works. Following the premiere of Evan Hause's Trumpet Concerto, a work commissioned by the Albany Symphony Orchestra for Mr. Berlin, one reviewer wrote that "his fluency and gorgeous sound were both amazing."
Mr. Berlin's acclaimed solo performances have spanned, and augmented, the range of trumpet repertoire. In addition to the Hause Concerto, which he has also performed with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Prism Chamber Players, and University of Denver Wind Ensemble, Mr. Berlin recently premiered Charles Bestor's Concerto Piccolo at the conference of the International Trumpet Guild (ITG). Other premieres given by Mr. Berlin include Howard Buss's Skylines, and Pasquale Tassone's Fanfare and Three Dances. His dedication to contemporary music has also led to collaborations with several leading new music ensembles, including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Musica Viva, Harvard Group for New Music, and Dogs of Desire, a new music program of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In other solo appearances, Mr. Berlin was featured as soloist in John Williams's music from "Born on the Fourth of July," conducted by the composer, has appeared with the University of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble and the Nashua Chamber Orchestra, and was the First Prize Winner of the Streitweiser Cornet Competition. In May of 2005, he performed Arutunian's Concerto for Trumpet on tour with the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra throughout Finland. In June of 2005, he performed a full recital of works commissioned by him with percussionist Eduardo Leandro at the ITG Conference in Thailand.
Mr. Berlin has been Principal Trumpeter of the Albany Symphony Orchestra since 1998 and has also appeared with the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony and Boston Pops. With the Albany Symphony and conductor David Alan Miller, he can be heard on several acclaimed recordings, including those of works by William Schuman, John Harbison, Morton Gould and Roy Harris. In addition, Mr. Berlin holds positions of Principal Trumpet of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Principal Trumpet of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. The Majestic Brass Quintet, founded by Mr. Berlin in 1988 and ensemble-in-residence at Northeastern University, is one of Boston's most prominent brass ensembles. Mr. Berlin maintains a studio as Artist-Teacher of Trumpet at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Berlin attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was a student of Mr. Charles Schlueter, former Principal Trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Robert Nagel of the New York Brass Quintet. He has also studied extensively with Vince Penzerella, former Second Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, Tom Rolfs, Principal Trumpet of the Boston Symphony, and Frank Kadarabek, former Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Eric Berlin is a Yamaha Artist.
STREET JAM for Trumpet and Bongos
VIGNETTES FOR TRUMPET AND PERCUSSION
THE END OF THE MATTER
CONCERTO PICCOLO FOR TRUMPET AND ELECTRONICS
SONATA FOR TRUMPET AND PIANO
Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble