Eric Ruske

Just Me and My Horn

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Eric Ruske, the principal hornist of the Cleveland Orchestra, plays a recital of solo works, some twentieth century pieces written for the instrument, and some transcriptions of music by eighteenth century composers. Ruske is a virtuoso of the first order, and his performance of this varied repertoire is fully satisfying. Hearing brass transcriptions of music originally written for strings, such as J.S. Bach's Suites for cello, or, in this case, his Partita in A minor for violin, can frequently elicit the exclamation, "This is just wrong!" but that's not the case with Ruske. If the listener can put aside the memory of the original versions, these transcriptions, when performed with as much musical sensitivity and technical facility as they are here, are entirely satisfying. Ruske succeeds just as well in C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in A minor for flute. The twentieth century repertoire that Ruske has chosen highlights the horn's heroic and lyric qualities without making the kinds of outrageous technical demands that the Baroque and Classical transcriptions do. Bernhard Krol's Laudatio, Persichetti's Parable for solo horn, and Otto Ketting's Intrada are the most musically substantial works and are successful at creating solo-line pieces with distinctive character. Ruske plays throughout with nuance and passion, and his tone is rounded, warm, and incisive. Albany's sound quality is clean and vibrant.

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