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HK Gruber Concertos for Trumpet & Violin

Busking for trumpet, accordion, banjo and string orchestra
World Première Recording Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), with Mats Bergström (banjo) & Claudia Buder (accordion)
Nebelsteinmusik for violin and strings (Violin Concerto No. 2)
Violin Concerto No. 1 ('…aus schatten duft gewebt')

Katarina Andreasson (violin)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra/HK Gruber


A rebel against the doctrinaire impositions of the later serialists, HK Gruber has yet to make very much impact in UK, despite being the BBC Philharmonic's current conductor/composer.

Composer, conductor, bass player and chansonnier, he is most known for his anarchic "Frankenstein!!!", which has been performed again and again worldwide over thirty years.

He has promised to champion the music of his old teacher Gottfried von Einem, and that of Hanns Eisler, and a composer portrait of Kurt Schwertsik who, like Gruber himself, rebelled against the dogma of atonalism.

This (one of several discs for BIS) is a great recording of concertos, two for violin, and a major work spotlighting Håkan Hardenberger virtuoso trumpeting - high Eb, flugelhorn & normal trumpet - in a dazzling context. The disc incorporates tributes to his mentor von Einem and close composer colleague and friend Kurt Schwertsik, who provides a commentary on Busking.

It is a feast of exotic, but never superficial mixes, superbly performed in Sweden and recorded at BIS's vivid best.

What about Gruber for one of BBC SO's special "Total Immersion" weekends; too populist? I think not.

Peter Grahame Woolf