Gruber, Bšrtz, Ruders, Henderson & Holloway

COMPOSERS: Bortz,Gruber,Henderson & Holloway,Ruders
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Exposed Throat
WORKS: Works by Gruber, Börtz, Ruders, Henderson & Holloway
PERFORMER: Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet)
CATALOGUE NO: BIS CD-1281
The tour de force of Håkan Hardenberger’s latest solo trumpet recital must surely be HK Gruber’s thrilling Exposed Throat. Inspired by a lurid expressionistic painting of the same name by Claes Eklundh, Gruber’s virtuosic score is incredibly detailed, and includes special effects created by the removal of one of the trumpet’s slides, multiphonics and rhythmic footsteps. Although Hardenberger’s performance is thoroughly accomplished, it is, if anything, too finely polished, with some of the work’s visceral quality lost in the paring down of extreme dynamics and articulations.

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Daniel Börtz’s moving Painting, also inspired by Eklundh, and Ruders’s tone poems Reveille – Retraite are dedicated to Hardenberger, who has devised a programme of poetry and visuals to accompany his trumpet solos in recital. The interrelation of these different art forms is successfully captured here in small part by the reproduction of Eklundh’s Exposed Throat and Poe’s poem Alone, which inspired Ruders’ Retraite.

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Unencumbered by extra-musical influences, Robin Holloway’s Sonata alone occupies the final third of the disc. Hardenberger’s performance of this extraordinarily taxing threemovement work is a feat in itself even if the motifs are not always characterised fully. Deborah Calland