Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Magnus Lindberg, Sakari Oramo, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra|
Magnus Lindberg: Arena 2 (1996) / Coyote Blues (1993) / Tendenza (1982) / Corrente (1992) - Avanti! Chamber Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
Listen to Samples
Good performances of somewhat minor Lindberg
Christopher Culver | 07/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Magnus Lindberg's writing for larger ensembles is extensive, and he has often quipped that his "favourite instrument is the orchestra". Here the Sakari Oramo leads the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra in four pieces for chamber orchestra.
The style of Lindberg's youth--up to "KRAFT" in 1985, was focused mainly on rhythm. "Tendenza" (1982) is a good example of this, very energetic, violent even, its soundworld is something like Elliott Carter's with stranger textures. This is good listening, but in spite of the ingenuity of some of its ideas, the total result is somewhat immature. KRAFT showed great progress, and the best was yet to come, for after that massive piece, Lindberg entered a hiatus of two years while recovering from a tropical disease and rethinking his style, ultimately reappearing with a focus on extremely rich harmonies.
"Corrente" (1992) was one of the first pieces Lindberg wrote after his comeback trilogy "Kinetics"-"Marea"-"Joy" and the first version of his piano concerto, but breaks new ground in introducing a form that was to be widely used in the Clarinet Quintet, "Related Rocks", and the Concerto for Orchestra. A smooth, even orchestral sea (the title does mean "flowing") dominates in the first portion, while towards the end there's a dance-like ostinato. It also inaugurates an occasional use of quotation; here we hear a bit of Purcell's "Funeral Music for Queen Mary" buried in the waves. Later that year, Lindberg reworked the piece as "Corrente II" for large orchestra, but I think the original version for chamber orchestra works better.
Lindberg had received a commision from the Swedish Rikskonserter for a vocal work, but responded with the purely instrumental "Coyote Blues" (1993). The work is built up from small melodic motifs that allowed to move freely in what might be described as aural arabesques; indeed, Lindberg has called this "fake Arab music". This is an unusual move, and the piece sounds very different from Lindberg's mature work. I find it lacks real power or excitement, and rarely return to it.
"Arena 2" (1996) is the latest of the works here. It's a scaled-down version of a piece Lindberg wrote the previous year for the 1st Jean Sibelius International Conducting Competition. Much of the music is based on toying with a brief motif and frequent trumpet fanfares (perhaps explaining the piece's title), compelling engine-like moments first on low instruments and later on high winds, and even elements of true melody (which are generally not one of the composer's concerns). "Arena" showcases all sorts of different orchestral possibilities and is extremely elegant in its construction, showing that Lindberg had made progress since the overlong "Aura" for orchestra of 1996 before. Now, I prefer the version for full orchestra, which is awesome in its proportions and sounds better with fuller percussion, but "Arena 2" is very useful indeed for understanding the structure of the piece.
"Corrente" and "Arena 2" are good pieces, and tie into "Corrente II" and "Arena" in such a way as to make the whole remarkable, but all in all the four individual pieces on the disc are somewhat minor Lindberg. If you are looking for an introduction to his post-KRAFT work, the Sony disc with "Cantigas"-"Cello Concerto"-"Parada"-"Fresco" is good, as is the Ondine disc with "Feria"-"Corrente II"-"Arena"."