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Ingvar LIDHOLM (born 1921)
Poesis per orchestra (1963)
Greetings from an Old World (1976)
Kontakion (1978)
Stund, när ditt inre (1998)a
Peter Mattei (baritone)a;
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Lü Jia
Recorded: Louis de Geer Concert Hall, Norrköping, Sweden, April 202 (Poesis), May 2000 (Kontakion, Greetings) and November 2001 (stund, när ditt inre)
BIS CD-1240


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Like some of his contemporaries, such as Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Lidholm began his composing career by writing in a fairly traditional idiom. Some time later influences from Hindemith and Bartók surfaced as in Music for Strings (1952). Later still, Lidholm considerably enlarged his expressive palette and his musical style underwent some drastic modifications. The first mature result of Lidholm’s stylistic emancipation was the quite novel Ritornell (1955, first performed at an ISCM festival in 1958). Poesis per orchestra (1963), a brilliant study in ear-catching, imaginative orchestral textures, consolidates Lidholm’s mature style, which will characterise all his later major works till the present day. This is quite clear in Greetings from an Old World (1976) and Kontakion (1978) which, in spite of their emotional and expressive differences, obviously breathe the same air. Greetings from an Old World, a commission from the Clarion Society to celebrate the bi-centenary of the USA, is based on Heinrich Isaac’s Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen though Isaac’s tune is most of the time deeply imbedded in the musical fabric to be heard in full near the end of the piece. Kontakion was commissioned by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert tour in the Soviet Union. This time, the composer took his inspiration from a hymn from the Russian Orthodox tradition (in this case, a hymn for the dead, which Britten also used in his Third Cello Suite) which gives this powerfully impressive piece the nature of an orchestral Requiem.

stund, när ditt inre, completed as recently as 1998, is an expressive dramatic monologue for baritone and orchestra setting a poem of the Romantic writer Stagnelius "conjuring up the feelings of a person in deep crisis and the hope that ultimately returns". Lidholm’s music preserves all its dramatic intensity and the writing is as imaginative and gripping as ever.

Most pieces here have already been available on records before (actually re-issues in CD format of somewhat older LP recordings: Poesis on Swedish Society Discofil and Kontakion and Greetings on Caprice), whereas a similar programme is available on Chandos CHAN 9231 in which Toccata e Canto and Ritornell receive their first modern recording.

The present performances recorded in the presence of the composer are superb and the recorded sound is BIS at their best. This release, apparently the first of a Lidholm series, augurs well for what is to follow; and I am eagerly waiting for the next instalment.

Hubert Culot

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