HK GRUBER (b.1943): Rough Music - Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, Zeitstimmung for Chansonnier and Orchestra, Perpetuum mobile/Charivari.
Catalogue Number: 01I084
Description: Anyone who has trouble taking Gruber seriously because of his extravagant and somewhat notorious music-theatre piece Frankenstein!! owes it to themselves to conduct a reappraisal, and this disc is an excellent place to start. There is nothing 'rough' about Rough Music, a highly entertaining, sophisticated and intelligent percussion concerto with delicious melodic content alternating with the expected rhythmic high-jinks in a tonal-chromatic language that is at once serious and approachable, with the incorporation of folk-like and chanson elements alluding to the popular use of percussion in festivals and rituals of past centuries. Zeitstimmung, to texts by H.C. Artmann (librettist for Frankenstein!!), is an exercise in absurdist humor, but presented in meticulously crafted form - based (freely) on a twelve-note series - and performed in Gruber's inimitable post-second-Viennese meets popular-chanson style, with dramatic sprechstimme recitation and vivid characterisation. Then we have Charivari which begins with a musical joke by Johann Strauss, a perpetuum mobile polka over an ostinato, which Gruber then expands into a twelve-note series and expands through a series of increasingly uneasy episodes with bitter undertones and a political subtext relating to Austrian history in the 20th century. Much of the score seems directly related to Mahler in ironic-nachtmusik mode, and like this model, the music succeeds in being simultaneously disturbing and surprising while never diffuse or abstract. Martin Grubinger (percussion), HKGruber (chansonnier), Tonkünstler Orchestra; Kristjan Järvi. SACD hybrid.