Music Web International: Record of the Month.
Simultaneously one of the superstars of classical music and an indefatigable ambassador of contemporary music, Håkan Hardenberger presents a recital for solo trumpet where much of the music has been written directly for him. HK Gruber has previously collaborated with Hardenberger with the highly regarded concerto Aerial as a result. His Exposed Throat provides Hardenberger with the solo cadenza that the concerto lacks, as well as exploring the possibilities of creating polyphonic music for a single-voiced instrument. In his comments about Painting, Daniel Börtz – like Gruber – refers to Bach's solo sonatas as an inspiration. Poul Ruders has taken the emblematic trumpet signals Reveille and Retreat as a starting point for his work, explaining that the two illustrate 'the nature of the trumpet, an instrument capable of glorious panache as well as sublime, inward-looking finesse'. Robert Henderson's Variation Movements was composed in the 1960s, and has been hailed as 'a modern trumpet classic'. The Sonata by Robin Holloway, at it's first try-out, proved to be 'a gruelling test of prowess', as the composer recounts, and had to be divided between three players! Holloway later made a more practical version for two trumpets, but Hardenberger here performs the original, which in the composer's words 'remains available as a challenge to the strong of lip, lungs and spirit'. Håkan Hardenberger is all of this, as he has proved before on BIS, for instance on Prières sans paroles (BIS-SACD-1109) which was described by the reviewers as 'a dazzling virtuoso recital superbly played' (Gramophone) and as 'performed in an exemplary fashion' (Klassik Heute). His interpretations of the present programme – one which both technically and musically puts all preconceptions to the test – are no less masterful.