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Colin Currie presents a new recording of HK Gruber’s two percussion concertos, Rough Music and into the open…, featuring the BBC Philharmonic and conductors Juanjo Mena and John Storgårds.

HK Gruber’s two percussion concertos, Rough Music and into the open…, are released by Colin Currie on 19 March in a new recording on his own label (Colin Currie Records CCR0004 / 0811043030424). Rough Music is performed by Currie with the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena at a 2013 concert at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. into the open… is heard in its world premiere performance at the BBC Proms in London in 2015 with Currie and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by John Storgårds.

The new recording is available on CD and via all major streaming and download services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Primephonic and IDAGIO. The album will be available to pre-order from February. Recordings on Colin Currie Records are released in partnership with LSO Live and distributed physically in the UK, US, France, Benelux and digitally worldwide by [PIAS].

> Watch a video of Colin Currie introducing the recording
> Listen to the recording on Spotify
> Buy the recording form Amazon
> View the score of Rough Music
> View the score of into the open...

Colin Currie writes: “To write one masterpiece for solo percussion and orchestra may be regarded as an adventure; to write two combines for a colossus. Such is the case for the dual works on this recording, which span the full creative freedom, magic, daring and brilliance of Mr HK Gruber, or ‘Nali’ to those who know him. I would fall under his spell certainly in October 2001 in Leipzig, when we first worked together, but just as likely back in July 1999 when I attended the world premiere of his trumpet concerto Aerial at the BBC Proms, written for our magnificent mutual friend, Håkan Hardenberger. In either event, a scene was being set, longer term, for my very own ‘Nali World Premiere’ at the Royal Albert Hall, in July 2015 – the performance of into the open... presented here.

“If that work encapsulates the very latest in contemporary percussion endeavour, Rough Music (1982-83), for all its swagger, is an early example of a percussion concerto. For the composer, antecedents were few, with concertos by André Jolivet and Darius Milhaud (a work composed in 1929-30!) named as scant examples of the existing repertoire. A graduate of the Vienna Boys Choir, Nali was at that time seated on the Co-Principal Double Bass chair of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his Principal Timpanist colleague, Gerald Fromme, asked him about the possibility of a concerto. The work that was born of this friendship and collaboration would be an astounding, brazenly ambitious paradigm shift for the repertory, with the taught technical expertise of the composition combining with that audacious and limitless musical scope, featuring genuine daredevil heroics from a fully emancipated soloist.”

About Colin Currie
Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers, acclaimed for his virtuosity and musical integrity and hailed as being “at the summit of percussion performance today” (Gramophone). Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is soloist with the world’s leading conductors and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestras. A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie has forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, premiering works by composers including Steve Reich, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Louis Andriessen, Sir James MacMillan, Nicole Lizée, Elliott Carter, HK Gruber, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Helen Grime, Brett Dean, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Andrew Norman, Julia Wolfe, Dave Maric, Simon Holt, Bruno Mantovani and Danny Elfman. Currie’s unrivalled commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognised in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. In October 2017 Currie launched Colin Currie Records, in conjunction with LSO Live, as a platform for his diverse projects, celebrating the extraordinary developments for percussion music over the past century. He is Artist in Association at London’s Southbank Centre, and performs widely with his critically acclaimed Colin Currie Group, founded in 2006 and specialising in the music of Steve Reich.

About HK Gruber
Composer, conductor and chansonnier, HK Gruber was born in Vienna in 1943 and sang with the Vienna Boys’ Choir as a child, going on to study at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik. In 1961 he began playing double bass with Ensemble “die reihe” and from 1969 to 1998 in the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien. Gruber first began performing as a singer/actor with the ‘MOB art & tone ART’ ensemble which he co-founded in 1968 with fellow Viennese composers Kurt Schwertsik and Otto Zykan. Composing in his own highly individual style, his music is performed internationally by the world’s leading artists and orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and at Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall and the BBC Proms. Gruber is particularly noted for his concertos, including the percussion concertos Rough Music and into the open... featured on this disc; Aerial, for trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, which has received over 60 performances; a Piano Concerto for Emanuel Ax; and his Cello Concerto, written for Yo-Yo Ma and premiered at Tanglewood in 1989. He has composed several operas, most recently Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (Tales from the Vienna Woods) premiered at the Bregenz Festival in 2014. In 2002, Gruber was awarded Austria’s most prestigious cultural prize, the Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis (Grand Austrian State Prize), and in 2009 was announced as an Honorary Member of the Wiener Konzerthaus, following a great tradition of musicians also to receive this accolade, including Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein and Claudio Abbado. Gruber is an Honorary Lifetime Trustee of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

>  Further information on Work: Rough Music

Gruber photo: Jon Super

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