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Gruber
Gruber - Cello Concerto
Gruber - Zeitfluren
Gruber - Manhattan Broadcast
Cohen; Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Gruber
BIS BISCD 1341

Release date September 2003

The three works on this CD span nearly forty years of Gruber's output. In Manhattan Broadcasts, written in the early sixties for a 'light orchestra', he sets out his stall; it is the polar opposite of the kind of radical music then being produced by the high priests of the avant-garde. It's American dance-band music, lovingly recreated and spoken with a slight but distinct Viennese accent. His Cello Concerto, composed for Yo-Yo Ma in 1989, also features elements of popular music; both Berg and Kurt Weill are lurking in the background in this impressive single-movement piece. Gruber has opted for a 'chamber orchestra' version in this recording - the score indicates that single strings can be used - which gives the music a more fleshy feel, emphasised by Robert Cohen's expressive account of the solo part. Zeitfluren (Timescapes), the most recent piece on this disc, is in Gruber's favoured two movement form. A Mahlerian nocturne is followed by a brilliant oto perpetuo which recalls the world of John Adams's Chamber Concerto. As he demonstrated at the Proms a few weeks ago, Gruber is a passionate conductor of his own music, and he secures an enthusiastic reponse from the Swedish players.

Reviewed by Sandy Matheson