Casta Diva - Operatic Arias transcribed for trumpet. Matilda Lloyd. © 2023 Chandos Records Ltd

CD Spotlight

Exceptional Poise and Musicality

Operatic arias played on trumpet, highly recommended by GERALD FENECH

'Matilda Lloyd performs these phenomenal pieces with a captivating enthusiasm and irresistible grace ...'


'Casta Diva' - this title may give one the idea that this issue is made up of a series of bel canto arias sung by a young and new soprano making her recording debut. To a certain extent this may be so, but this recital has one big difference. The programme is not a vocal one but an instrumental one, in this instance the trumpet.

Hailed as 'remarkable' by The Daily Telegraph, Matilda Lloyd is a young instrumentalist with exceptional poise and musicality. She studied music at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and with Håkan Hardenberger at the Malmo Music School. She has since captivated audiences and critics alike with her artistry, communication, flawless sound and virtuosic technique, with which she brings a unique flair to every performance. Indeed, she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Brass Final in 2014, and in 2016 made her debut at the BBC Proms.

Casta Diva is Matilda's debut album on the Chandos label, and what an original album it is.

In the soloist's own words:

Every trumpet player has studied the ultimate technique book by Jean-Baptist Arban, a monumental tome affectionately known as 'The Trumpet Bible'. At the end of the book are sets of themes and variations - my favourite, the Variations on Bellini's 'Norma', became the point of departure for this album inspired by nineteenth century Italian opera, as it uses the aria 'Casta Diva' from Bellini's 1831 opera as its theme.

Listen — Jean-Baptiste Arban: Variations on Bellini's 'Norma'
(CHSA 5321 track 6, 0:01-0:47) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

The album explores the voice of the trumpet in that golden age of opera, and the programme includes works by some famous names such as Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, and others whose music is still trying to emerge. I am referring to Mercadante, Ricci, Pauline Viardot and the already mentioned Jean-Baptiste Arban.

Listen — Pauline Viardot: Chanson de la pluie (Le Dernier Sorcier)
(CHSA 5321 track 10, 0:10-0:59) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

With the exception of the Norma Variations which are an arrangement by Mikhail Nakariakov, all the other pieces were arranged by William Foster, and what arrangements! Vibrant, sensuous and, above all, full of shimmering beauty that sweeps you off your feet.

Listen — Rossini: Ah! quel giorno ognor rammento (Semiramide)
(CHSA 5321 track 8, 1:14-2:08) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

Matilda Lloyd performs these phenomenal pieces with a captivating enthusiasm and irresistible grace, and the music is consistently inflated with a warmth and wistfulness that reflects the true intentions of the composers. This is an operatic tour-de-force in a totally different sound world. Matilda, keep regaling us with your wonderful gifts as you 'Suoni la tromba intrepida' (Bellini's I Puritani) with love and affection.

Listen — Ricci: Tarantella Napoletana (La festa di Piedigrotta)
(CHSA 5321 track 7, 1:38-2:26) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

Highly recommended.

Copyright © 17 May 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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