Thursday, November 11, 2010

HK Gruber et al. at Cité de la Musique

Das Berliner Requiem, Cité de la Musique - Paris, November 10 2010

Vom Tod im Wald (Kurt Weill)
Busking (Heinz Karl Gruber)
Das Berliner Requiem (Kurt Weill)

HK Gruber ..... conductor
Håkan Hardenberger ..... trumpet
Rainer Trost ..... tenor
Florian Boesch ..... baritone

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Choeur de Radio France

Ed: on this link you may listen to the recording of this concert
After a series of events dedicated to the composers and musics created under the Soviet regime, these days Cité de la Musique in Paris organizes concerts devoted to composers who collaborated with Bertold Brecht [Weill, Eisler, Dessau]. Incidentally the next premiere at the Paris Opera [Mathis der Maler] can also be viewed as homage to another Brecht's collaborator - Paul Hindemith.

This concert is a part of that Brecht-series (Les musiciens de Brecht) and in a sense was a celebration of the Brechtian genre today, whose most emblematic exponent is Heinz Karl Gruber, who last night not only conducted, but also presented "Busking" -- a piece that he recently composed (in 2007)-- for the first time in France. Gruber composed Busking for the star trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger who was among performers last night. With three different trumpets [more precisely: trumpet, cor, trumpet] Hardenberger showed off a wide range of tones and more than impressed by his unlikely virtuosity.

Håkan Hardenberger

The string orchestra and banjo provided "a street orchestra" sound, a necessary support to Hardenberger's solo numbers.

In the last part the chorus, orchestra, and two top-class soloists, Reiner Trost and Florian Boesch, performed Das Berliner Requiem by Kurt Weill. Particularly brilliant was the cantata for baritone and Florian Boesch singing it impeccably [he sang it again after the regular concert time - as an encore!] It is however Requiem itself that impressed me the most (it was the first time I listened to it). Weill called it "a secular mass for the dead", that was first time performed 10 years after the end of the First World War.  Its content is very audacious, full of fine irony -- a fil rouge of the Weimar culture which was most probably the most productive scientific and cultural period in human history. Too bad there were not more Parisians at the concert to see a glimpse of that culture. They would have gained a better grasp at the Krämer's Rheingold, presented at the Paris Opera earlier this year.  ;)

Reiner Trost and Florian Boesch

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