H. K. Gruber is known for his specialism in the music of Kurt Weill and first up was his Little Threepenny Music, a suite of music from the Threepenny Opera. Gruber certainly conducts with great enthusiasm and effuses a love of the music. However, despite the excellent performance, it still did not help me to overcome my lack of interest in Weill’s music.
After an annoyingly long wait while to chairs were rearranged on stage, Gruber took the stage again, this time to conduct the U.K. premiere of his own composition, Busking. This piece was described in the programme as a concerto for trumpet, accordion and banjo, although in performance it appeared to be a trumpet (Håkan Hardenberger) concerto that augmented the chamber orchestra with the less conventional accordion and banjo.
The final part of the programme was Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, followed by an encore of Scherzo a la Russ.
As an extra treat, Gavin Waite (piano) and Zoe Milton-Brown (soprano) performed eight songs, from Alan E. Willaims‘ 12 Stories High song cycle, in the bar after the main concert.