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By marrying jazz idioms to a well-made symphonic palette, Mark-Anthony Turnage (born 1960) has created a very contemporary take on tradition – sufficiently melodic and sophisticated to impress, but neither experimental nor atonal enough to alienate.
Small wonder his music communicates to a broad swath of concertgoers. Here we have two large-scale works played by the London Symphony Orchestra – a 2005 trumpet concerto, From the Wreckage, written for and brilliantly played by Hardenberger, and the 2012 Mahlerian symphony Speranza. The Swedish trumpet virtuoso showcases the bluesy atmosphere of the concerto, while the 40-minute symphony – wisely reduced after its premiere from five movements to four – turns the idea of “hope” on its head.
This is a sombre hymn to hopelessness, leavened by wistful folk laments, a bleating Armenian duduk and Turnage’s masterful orchestration.
Speranza, From the Wreckage
Daniel Harding, Hakan Hardenberger