HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO A GRAMOPHONE GUIDE
Delectable combination: Colin Currie is joined by trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger in a collection of works mostly written for them fascinating when set alongside those which the composer recorded in 1935. In some I preferred the former, in others the latter, who always ensures that the generic title of his collection is significant (compare the two pianists in No 10, marked Ridicolosamente, and you’ll see what I mean). Further delights await us after the balm of the Tchaikovsky ‘Lullaby’ in Rachmaninov’s arrangement: two studies from the 24 Concert Études, Op 13, by TarasevichNikolaev’s grandmother, the first of these (No 18, Andante sostenuto) ending with barely audible ppp high E sharps. Other pianists will surely want to investigate.
This is as outstanding a recent debut recording as I can recall, helped in no small measure by the dream team of producer Jeremy Hayes, engineer Ben Connellan and piano technician Graham Cooke at Potton Hall. Quite why it has taken 18 months to be released is a mystery. Jeremy Nicholas Andrew Everard writes One might wonder just what ‘hi-res’ audio can bring to something as simple as solo piano, but this recording shows just what can be achieved: not only is there a greater impression of the weight and size of the instrument, but the sense of the Potton Hall acoustic, and the presence of the performance in a very real space, is greatly enhanced. By comparison with the 96kHz/24bit iles, the ‘CD-quality’ version, while still extremely impressive, sounds a little lat and ‘dry’.
14 GRAMOPHONE JULY 2019 | gramophone.co.uk
‘The Scene of the Crime’ Börtz Dialogo 4 – Ricordo Broström Dream Variations Dean … the scene of the crime … Duddell Catch Jolivet Heptade Håkan Hardenberger tpt Colin Currie perc Colin Currie Records F CCR0002 (68’ • DDD)
No ‘difficult second album’ for Colin Currie’s new record label but instead a worthy successor to the label’s imposing inauguration (with Reich’s Drumming – 5/18) – a delectable combination of works for trumpeter and percussionist for which Currie is joined by Håkan Hardenberger. Most of the works were written for the two but the disc opens with a classic of the combination: André Jolivet’s exacting Heptade of 1971.
Rehearsing with Hardenberger, writes Currie in the booklet, is ‘intense’ (few words are spoken, apparently), while performances are ‘zones of feverish intensity’. This delicate and daring performance gives a clear impression of two musicians for whom verbal communication might well be less fertile than musical. The approach, in which instruments often associated with brash directness sound elusively poetic and mysterious, links arms with the elegance and erudition in Jolivet’s writing.
Those qualities are to the fore again in Tobias Broström’s somnambulant Dream Variations, in which distillation allows for new forms of integration between the instrumental groups. Another Swede, Daniel Börtz, proves in Dialogo 4 – Ricordo that the human vocal characteristics he so often unlocks in inanimate instruments are possible there in Currie’s skins as much as in Hardenberger’s trumpet. There is more tension in this journey and we feel the frequent stand-offs between the musicians. Brett Dean’s … the scene of the crime … refers to Shakespeare’s Hamlet (and is associated with Dean’s opera but doesn’t share any material), specifically the ‘trumpet and drums’ that are referenced in the text. It moves from desolation to a grooving dance, like the emergence of cooperative reasoning that is so elusive in the play. In between all these, Joe Duddell’s more obvious but no less interesting Catch is a tonic, and contains some of the most slyly brilliant playing of all. The album is captivating whether in joy or pain. Andrew Mellor
Andrew Everard writes Brass and percussion place particular demands on both a recording and the equipment used to play it: get things wrong and there’s a tendency to harshness, not to mention monotony. However, this remarkable 96kHz/24bit download from Qobuz brings out all the colour and impact of the two performances, to magical effect. PH O T O G R A P H Y
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