Trumpet and organ have a natural affinity for each other. Each has a majestic quality. Each is associated in history with pomp and pageantry, and they complement each other, the incisiveness of the trumpet adding definition to the sonorities and the textures of the organ.
Their collaboration at Washington Cathedral yesterday afternoon was a delight, as William Neil, the National Smphony's organist, and John Dewitt, the symphony's co-principal trumpeter, presented a small program of baroque and classical gems.
The opening Albinoni concerto found the two not completely comfortable with the acoustics, but by the third movement the ensemble problems had been solved and the rest was clear sailing. Dewitt's playing was at its smoothest in the transcription of the Air in D Minor from Bach's Third Orchestral Suite, the sweet tone ringing with gorgeous effect about the cathedral's spaces. And a nice, bold concerto by Hertel that was oddly reminiscent of Vivaldi closed the concert.
On his own, Neil gave solid readings of a Back G-major Prelude and Fugue and the marvelous Mozart Fantasis, K. 608. He gave the organ plenty of breathing space in the full-organ sections and found nice, conservative tempos for the contrapuntal movements. His performances could have used a little more rhythmic outline, but the underlying beat was reliable.