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Brett Dean: Hardenberger plays UK premiere of Dramatis personae in Birmingham

(May 2014)

Brett Dean's recent trumpet concerto for Håkan Hardenberger, Dramatis personae, receives its UK premiere in Birmingham on 29 May.

Håkan Hardenberger is trumpet soloist in the UK premiere of Brett Dean's recent concerto, Dramatis personae, at Symphony Hall on 29 May with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons. This follows first performances last year at the Grafenegg Festival and in Copenhagen, and Hardenberger has future dates to play the concerto in Leipzig, Wellington (New Zealand), Sydney, Boston and London.

The work's title, Dramatis personae, refers to the different characters the composer associates with the trumpet. Cast in three movements, the concerto opens with a depiction of the Fall of a Superhero, drawing equally upon comic strip scenarios and classical tales of heroism. The trumpet is the individual pitted against the antagonistic masses of the orchestra, as the music depicts the struggle between mythical leader and the proletariat. The second movement, Soliloquy, has the hero alone with his thoughts, offering a more mellow, reflective interlude. The final movement, The Accidental Revolutionary, sees the composer focusing on the coincidental aspects of heroism. The comic model is Charlie Chaplin's film Modern Times, in which the protagonist finds himself unexpectedly leading a band of striking workers.

"Dean sees the relationship between soloist and orchestra as similar to that of the hero and the world; the conflict and collaboration between a leading figure and the masses characterises the classic, three-part work. After a rhythmically trenchant first movement and a monologue-like second, Dean pulls out all the stops in the final part, cross-fading from quotations to his own material, in a manner akin to Gustav Mahler, to create a collage-like clash of sounds and times."
Der Standard

Brett Dean has been announced as the new Composer in Residence with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with works new to London over the next year including Electric Preludes at the BBC Proms (7 August), The Annunciation (19 November), Dramatis personae with trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger (5 December), and The Last Days of Socrates featuring John Tomlinson in the title role (13 February). Recent Dean premieres in the UK have included a new work for soprano and string quartet, And once I played Ophelia, toured by the Britten Sinfonia with the composer as violist to Norwich, Cambridge, London and Amsterdam.

> Further information on Work: Dramatis personae

Photo: Mark Coulsen

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