Music of Magnus Lindberg
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Top Customer Reviews
Production on the disc is excellent. The liner notes feature an informative, somewhat technical interview with the composer that touches upon important structural aspects of each work. Martin Anderson nails Lindberg's style when he writes: "...this surface busy-ness and longer-term harmonic evolution seem to exist as two parallel worlds - almost as if you have to look underneath the exterior of the music to see what's really going on." The fact that Lindberg creates such a gorgeous exterior out of such rigorous and intellectual planning is stunning. Sound quality is demonstration-worthy, the loudest, most complex counterpoint springing vibrantly to life (this is also, no doubt, due to the virtuosity of the Philharmonia and the dedication and ability of Salonen in music like this).
The first work on the disc, "Cantigas", was composed for the Cleveland Orchestra. The tempo relationships, intervallic content (focusing upon that very "tonal" interval, the perfect fifth) and "fundamental, open function of the bass" combine to make the piece instantly accessible. The piece is typically busy, in Lindberg's style from Corrente and other works from the 90s, and several listens reveal fascinating details and interconnections. It's amazing how virtuosic some of the writing is, and the wind and brass of the Philharmonia have a heyday. My jaw dropped several times.Read more ›
Lutoslawski was a major influence on Lindberg's neotonal synthesis, which is interesting because the Polish composer incorporated modern influences into his more traditional approach, whereas with Lindberg it is the opposite, incorporating tonality into his modernism. Elliot Carter seems to me to be an influence as well, as there is a muscular and dynamic progression in every piece, and Sibelius is no doubt a factor as well.
Lindberg began as a resolutely avant composer with his first works of the early 1980s. After a retreat in the late '80s, he returned with a new sound, one he has pursued ever since. Some may lament this as a turn to the past, but the avant-garde is way out ahead of most listeners, and Lindberg is now meeting them more than half-way with music that is still complex and challenging.
Unfortunately Lindberg has not produced music the equal of that found here since, and so this essential Sony disc is the only Lindberg you really need. I'm hoping that Magnus gets his mojo back some time soon, but until then we have this fantastic set of four compositions that mark the high tide of his creativity and energy.
"Cantigas" (1999) might be the finest piece Lindberg has written to date. While not a concerto, it gives an important role to the oboe, performed here by Christopher O'Neal. Based around the simple interval of a fifth, the piece marks a new phase in Lindberg's composition where pieces are more clearly broken into sections than before, allowing some room to breathe among the dense harmonies that Lindberg is known for. The five sections of "Cantigas" are cycles of increasing and decreasing tempos, and the music is very energetic and rhythmically compelling; Anssi Kartunnen writes that the room in which Lindberg composed the piece was littered with "empty instant espresso bags, energy drink cans, vitamin pill jars..." which explains a lot. I should note that "Cantigas" is a part of a "symphonic triptych" with "Feria" (1997) and "Fresco".
The "Cello Concerto" (1997-1999) was written for Anssi Karttunen, who performs here. Like "Cantigas", this piece is part of Lindberg's new technique of sectioning, and it is in five movements played without a break, each one of them divided into smaller sections. The concerto is similar to his early piece for cello and orchestra "Zona" in the use of a chaconne technique of continual variations.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This collection of works is another example of the orchestrational genius of Lindberg. You find yourself amazed at nearly every sound you hear, and then amazed that you continue to... Read morePublished on July 26, 2008 by Timothy Melbinger
Enough has been written in the other reviews, particularly the succinct editorial review, to give you an idea of this music,yet nobody seems to have said explicitly that you will... Read morePublished on April 24, 2007 by Gio
To hear the music of Magnus Lindberg performed live, in a good concert hall, call be overwhelming - in the best sense of the word. Read morePublished on August 31, 2002 by Grady Harp