Stockholm Concert Hall
This year’s Composer Festival is dedicated to the Austrian composer, singer and conductor HK Gruber.
Like none other, HK Gruber has the capacity to twist music in such a way that imbues it with a humorous dimension while always retaining a spirit of the deepest earnestness. He played double bass in the avant garde ensemble Die Reihe in the early 1960s and in the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1998. He is also a singer and has appeared in both his own and others’ work, including Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and in music by Hanns Eisler and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Gruber has guest conducted many of the major orchestras in the US and Europe, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and both the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics.
Here, we will find examples of his clever music in this imaginative reworking by Johann Strauss II’s polka, Perpetuum Mobile. The Piano Concerto was composed for Emanuel Ax and unifies melodically lyrical sections with temperamentality. From his “geographic” position as a double bassist, he frequently studies pianists and has been especially fascinated by the piano music of Stravinsky. Here, we will hear the turbulent Symphony in Three Movements, in which Stravinsky uses the piano as a part of the orchestra.
HK Gruber’s Dancing in the Dark is instead a darkly hued piece of music whose ominous heaviness is occasionally neutralised by brilliantly composed dance elements.
The music, Approximate times
Strauss Jr./HK Gruber Perpetuum mobile/Charivari 13 min
HK Gruber Piano Concerto 23 min
Intermission 25 min
HK Gruber Dancing in the Dark 24 min
Igor Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements 23 min
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, conductor
Emmanuel Ax, piano