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HK Gruber: reviews of Busking with Hardenberger

HK Gruber’s new work for trumpet virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger is scheduled to travel around Europe in coming seasons, following its successful first performances in Amsterdam and Essen in May. Busking takes the form of a three movement concerto in which Hardenberger moves progressively from Eb trumpet, via flugelhorn, to C trumpet, exploring both contemporary soundworlds and popular music idioms.

Whereas Gruber’s earlier concerto Aerial – which Hardenberger has performed 45 times – was scored for full symphony orchestra, Busking features only a string orchestra accompanying the trumpet, accordion and banjo as concertante players. The solo line-up draws parallels with Picasso’s painting Three Musicians, depicting bohemian music-making with carnivalesque overtones. In musical terms Gruber’s soloists function as modern equivalents of a baroque trumpet coupled with organ or harpsichord continuo, perhaps as heard on the streets of New Orleans.

Busking was jointly commissioned by the Philharmonie Essen, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and during his exclusivity period Hardenberger has further performances planned in Sweden, Finland, Austria, the UK and USA in 2009/10.

“Star trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger brought the entire spectrum of his virtuosity to bear, playing on the separate mouthpiece, and getting the various trumpets to twang and squawk using mutes. A performance piece with pulsating drive, which was great fun for the audience. Much applause and cheers in the well-attended Philharmonie in Essen.” Neue Ruhr Zeitung

HK Gruber's future projects include a percussion concerto for Martin Grubinger to be premiered in 2010.

>  Further information on Work: Busking

Photo: © Johnny Volcano

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