WORKS: Sequenza X; Emotion; La mort de l’aigle
PERFORMER: Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet)
CATALOGUE NO: 446 065-2
Håkan Hardenberger is both an outstanding trumpeter and a great musician. Chief among his achievements is his portfolio of works commissioned in his determination to broaden the repertoire of his instrument – two of which, Takemitsu’s Paths and Michael Blake Watkins’s La mort de l’aigle, are included in this challenging disc entirely devoted to music for solo trumpet.
The most extended work, Berio’s Sequenza X, has previously appeared on two highly praised recordings – by Graham Ashton (Virgin) and Reinhold Friedrich (Capriccio) – but Hardenberger’s stunning feat, blending extensive dynamic range and variety of articulation into a homogenous and continuous trajectory of sound (aided by piano resonance), is certainly the winner.
In contrast to Berio, the Canzona in Henze’s Sonatina and the works by Takemitsu and Michael Blake Watkins inhabit a more lyrical and sensitive sound-world. Watkins’s La mort de l’aigle (inspired by a poem by José-Maria de Heredia) is a slowly unfolding piece characterised by its expressive force.
Amid criticism that the major record companies are flooding the market with fail-safe central repertoire, this disc stands as a victory for artistic achievement over commercial considerations, and deserves to remain in the catalogue for many years. Deborah Calland