HK GRUBER: Aerial, Concerto for trumpet and orchestra. EÖTVÖS:
Jet Stream for trumpet and orchestra. TURNAGE: From the
for trumpet and orchestra.
Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet); Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Peter
DG 00289 477 6750 F() (DDD) TT: 62:27
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From the mildly interesting to the coma-inducing. Three contemporary trumpet
concerti with the Swedish virtuoso Hardenberger. The most engaging -- and,
not coincidentally, the only one with any sense of humor -- is Gruber's
Aerial. Gruber, a Viennese, began as a dodecaphonist but like many of his
generation, opened up to other, earlier styles, including popular ones.
He has a particular affinity for the stage. People probably know him best
for his Frankenstein!!, a "pandemonium for chansonnier and orchestra." To
me, he seems like a reincarnation of Eisler and Weill, with a bit of Lotte
Lenya thrown in (he has also sung in cabaret). Aerial consists of two movements:
the first is a bit of impressionism, inspired by the Northern Lights; the
second a genial overview of Thirties dance music (guess which one I liked
more). I'm happy to have heard it, but doesn't really stick with me.
Mark-Anthony Turnage's From the Wreckage apparently depicts a bad patch
in the composer's life. I must admit it's a very focused piece, and I appreciate
its jazz allusions. However, I simply couldn't get into the gloom. I've
liked other scores by Turnage more, notably Three Screaming Popes.
Eötvös's Jet Stream reminds me of a farmyard filled with the
Aeolian harps of rusting machinery and the occasional lowing of a cow.
It's fine for the first ten minutes. Unfortunately, it lasts over twenty.
Hardenberger needs no praise as a trumpeter from me. I salute his enterprise,
particularly since he'll probably not play any of these concerti that often
through the rest of his career.
S.G.S. (August 2007)