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Gruber: Frankenstein, Perpetuum Mobile, Etc


Release Date: 03/27/2007 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10404   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinz Karl "Nali" GruberJohann Strauss Jr.
Performer:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



GRUBER Frankenstein!! 1 Perpetuum mobile/Charivari. Dancing in the Dark H. K. Gruber (chansonnier), 1 cond; BBC P CHANDOS 10404 (70:48)


The full-on, madcap antics of H. K. Gruber are at once disorienting, charming, fascinating, and perhaps above all utterly addictive. Gruber’s most famous piece, Frankenstein!!, acts as the mainstay of Read more this disc (this is its premiere recording in this version).


Gruber contributes his own booklet notes for Frankenstein!! and Perpetuum mobile/Charivari (the commentary for the remaining piece falls to the pen of Paul Driver). Frankensetin!! is subtitled “A Pandemonium for chansonnier and orchestra after children’s rhymes by H. C. Artmann,” and the composer wastes no time in explaining the reality of that subtitle—this is a “pan-demonium.” The texts, on the surface aimed at children, obviously have a subtext, although whether this is the “covert political statements” the poet admits to or whether they have even wider significance is up to the listener to decide. The use of modern-day icons is interesting. Batman and Robin, Superman, and John Wayne all make appearances. The obvious link here is with the composer Michael Daugherty, who admits to a fascination with icons of this nature (adding Elvis of the Presley variety, among others, to the roll-call). Gruber seems deeper, though. His dreamy, almost nightmarish world seems to add a depth of interpretation to his subjects. Placing Frankenstein as the centerpiece of the composition somehow adds to the lumbering one’s gravitas.


It is impossible, really, to criticize Gruber’s delivery of the text. It is tempting to refer to his performance as natural, and yet somehow that word seems so wrong in context. There is little, or perhaps nothing, natural about this grotesque fairytale, and Gruber’s voice seems to have an endless timbral palette to call upon. In addition, the orchestration Gruber uses is little short of miraculous.


The item marked Perpetuum mobile/Charivari is actually two pieces. First comes a sparklingly fresh performance of Johann Strauss II’s Perpetuum mobile , op. 257, which moves straight into Gruber’s “Austrian Journal for Orchestra,” Charivari . Here Stravinskian twists and turns sit easily with Ivesian clowning. Somehow Richard Strauss becomes part of the equation, too (hints of Alpensinfonie ).


A different side of Ives, the darker side, informs Gruber’s Dancing in the Dark (a first recording). The greatest debt here, though, is to the Viennese Schools (First and Second). As Paul Driver points out, Mahler’s Seventh Symphony is the background to much of the opening, while intense counterpoint provides a momentum. The second movement points clearly towards the Berg Violin Concerto (the opening of the latter’s second movement). Textures are typically hypnotic throughout. Although the sound is frequently thick, it is never overloaded, almost as if Gruber is showing off his virtuoso handling of the orchestra.


A fascinating and rewarding disc. Although Frankenstein!! remains Gruber’s most popular piece, it is to Dancing in the Dark that I, for one, will be returning to most often.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit technology. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Frankenstein!! by Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Performer:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber (Voice)
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976-1977; Austria 
Date of Recording: 2005 
Venue:  Studio 7, BBC, Manchester, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Ver.: 1976/77 
2.
Charivari by Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 2005 
Venue:  Studio 7, BBC, Manchester, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: 1981.
Composition revised: 1984.
Composition revised: 1999. 
3.
Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257 "Musikalischer Scherz" by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 2005 
Venue:  Studio 7, BBC, Manchester, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
4.
Dancing in the Dark by Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Conductor:  Heinz Karl "Nali" Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 2005 
Venue:  Studio 7, BBC, Manchester, England 
Length: 24 Minutes 47 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Frankenstein!!: Fanfare - Prologue
Frankenstein!!: Ia. Dedication
Frankenstein!!: Ib. Miss Dracula
Frankenstein!!: IIa. Goldfinger and Bond
Frankenstein!!: IIb. John Wayne
Frankenstein!!: IIc. Monster
Frankenstein!!: III. A Mi Ma Monsterlet
Frankenstein!!: IV. Fanfare - Intermezzo, "Werewolf's Serenade"
Frankenstein!!: V. Frankenstein
Frankenstein!!: VI. Rat Song and Crusoe Song
Frankenstein!!: VII. Mr Superman
Frankenstein!!: VIII. Finale
Frankenstein!!: VIIIa. The Green-haired Man
Frankenstein!!: VIIIc. Monsters in the Park
Frankenstein!!: VIIIe. Hello, hello, Herr Frankenstein
Frankenstein!!: Fanfare - Epilogue
Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257, "Musikalischer Scherz" (Musical Joke)
Charivari
Dancing in the Dark: I. Andante pesante
Dancing in the Dark: II. Allegro moderato

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