The Austrian composer/conductor HK Gruber and the Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger are collaborators of long standing, whose previous projects in common include the highly successful trumpet concerto Aerial. Like that piece, Busking was also composed at the instigation of Hardenberger. In his own liner notes, Gruber relates how the piece, which is here released on disc for the first time, came into being.
The original commission used orthodox playing techniques, but this soon developed into something rather more complicated. The solo trumpet part of the finished work involves both E flat and C trumpets, as well as the flugelhorn, and the soloist is also required to play on the mouthpiece alone; it furthermore employs various mutes and techniques such as multiphonics. The final score also includes solo parts for banjo and accordion, as well as some highly involved writing for strings, making Busking one of Gruber’s most difficult works.
Busking is partnered on this disc by Gruber's two violin concertos, the first bears the subtitle 'woven from the scent of shadows' and the second entitled Nebelsteinmusik is a joint tribute to Alban Berg and Gruber's teacher Gottfried von Einem.
Gruber has enjoyed a close relationship with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra for several years recording Manhattan Broadcasts (BIS-CD-1341) which would ‘convert anyone who thinks contemporary music is unapproachable’ according to the reviewer in The Daily Telegraph.