NOV 00] WARWICK ARTS CENTRE REVIEW - CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY
Cowhorn Gets A
Rare Outing With CBSO
never seen a cowhorn being played on stage before, nor did I think
they could sound so pleasant.
was one of the stranger moments in trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger’s
solo performance of Gruber’s Aerial concerto.
this was a decent-enough Haydn Symphony, No 104 in D, played with a
small and conventional orchestra.
the heavy artillery came out – xylophones, drums, gongs and more
double basses than you could shake a bow at.
appeared on stage with a mammoth collection of trumpets, cowhorns and
mutes, including one fixed to his stand so he could use it for
piece is a modern one and seems taxing to play, but it is absorbing.
It takes a long time to get going – the frequent tempo and changes
means it doesn’t get much momentum.
start with Hardenberger has to play some rather poor notes, a kind of
dreary raspy sound that sounded as if he was waking up.
certainly woke the audience up, most of them starting as it to wonder
if he really could play the trumpet.
Gruber scored this is anyone’s guess. The Latin for “play like
you’re a complete beginner” must have had even the most established of
musicians reaching for their dictionary.
it got going it was engrossing, with layers of sound building up to a
sudden climax. Hardenberger played his last note walking off the
stage, and put his trumpet down on the open piano strings. Those with
bat-like hearing could just pick out the note trailing off as it
reverberated off the piano.
that, conventionality resumed in the second half with Brahms Symphony
No 4 in E minor.
the Haydn it was nice enough, but contained no surprises. I contended
myself with watching the triangle player proudly stand up to play his
few beats after sitting motionless through the early movements.
the CBSO are still in a post-Simon Rattle void. There is less
flamboyance than there used to be, maybe the empty seats put them off.