WORKS: Sardine Sarcophagus
PERFORMER: Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet); Malmö SO/Gilbert Varga
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1021
Håkan Hardenberger is both a phenomenal trumpet player and a superb musician who has created, virtually single-handed, a whole new repertoire for his instrument through his commitment to contemporary music. He is the dedicatee of all three works on this disc, and it is clear that these Swedish composers each relish the opportunity to exploit his virtuosity to the full. Daniel Börtz’s compelling Songs and Dances provides an impressive display of Hardenberger’s wide range: the arresting and dramatic opening, Energico, takes the soloist to stratospheric heights, only to plummet in the following Lento misterioso, where low notes are coloured with glissandi and flutter-tongue effects. With Hardenberger as its champion, this expressionistic Concerto deserves to enter the concert repertoire. A composer with whom the soloist has previously collaborated, Jan Sandström, presents a contrasting, lightweight work that fuses simple folk-like material with minimalist accompanying figures and jerky, Stravinskian, syncopated rhythms. The trumpet really takes off in some wild, exuberant excursions during the third movement, where circus routine-like passages are repeatedly punctuated by playfully placed cadences. Folke Rabe’s Sardine Sarcophagus (recalling a Passion ritual in Seville, involving the burial of a sardine) draws upon the trumpet’s narrative skills, its rhapsodic, mournful line telling the curious story. The Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Gilbert Varga prove enthusiastic and effective collaborators throughout.