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Hakan Hardenberger, Gothenburg Symphony, John Storgards
Taking upon himself the task of addressing the relative dearth of trumpet repertoire, Swedish master Håkan Hardenberger has built a career on championing modern works from composers such as Henze and Pärt, among others. To these he adds recent concertos by Australian Brett Dean and Italian Luca Francesconi.
Dean’s Dramatis Personae is a theatrical work, its first movement pitting a sometimes heroic, sometimes hapless hero against musical forces that constantly threaten to overwhelm. Soliloquy sees our hero turn inward and the work closes with the comical and mischievous Accidental Revolutionary, inspired by the antics of Charlie Chaplin. Hardenberger’s acrobatics underscore this modern musing on the relationship between soloist and orchestra, struggling with and against the Gothenberg Symphony under Storgårds.
Francesconi’s Hard Pace is rather different, evoking the lonely lyricism of the trumpet. The composer refers to an affection for Miles Davis in the liner notes. Where Francesconi’s jazz training emerges, however, one is reminded more of the exquisitely spare tension of Polish trumpeter, Tomasz Stan´ko. His evocation of Davis is, however, not so much a referenced musical style as it is about language, poetry, and song. Cast on this curious pairing as both the romantic bard and the virtuosic hero, Hardenberger affirms his reputation as a brilliant modern soloist.