Magnus Lindberg’s music has been well served by recording
companies, and quite deservedly so for it is superbly crafted, gripping
in its own peculiar way, imaginative but always very accessible.
His recent works, i.e. from Kinetics
onwards, show a renewed interest in harmony and a pronounced liking
for full, almost lush orchestral textures. The present release, coupling
four very recent pieces, amply proves the point. Here are four highly
characterised, varied works in which Lindberg’s musical qualities are
clearly evident. Lindberg’s music may often be complex in conception
and technically demanding but it always communicates directly through
its sheer drive and expressive power.
Fresco, completed in 1997, is a substantial
work developing a near-symphonic argument, a kind of "meta-sonata-form"
to quote Martin Anderson’s quite apt phrase. Lindberg admits that to
work on a large-scale structure, one has to make some distinctions between
sections in order to keep some logic. To a certain extent, Fresco
might be experienced as a symphony, in all but the name, in much the
same way as Aura which I consider his greatest work and,
I dare say, his masterpiece so far.
The Cello Concerto, written between 1997
and 1999 and revised in 2001, is another powerful statement. Its single
movement, though in several markedly characterised sections, is full
of drama and often tense lyricism. Writing for Anssi Karttunen freed
the composer from any inhibition he might have had. The solo part is
extremely demanding both from the technical and the expressive points
of view, but again this gripping score is hard to resist, such is its
expressive power. I often find that composers generally confide their
more personal statements in writing a cello concerto, and Lindberg is
Cantigas, completed in 1999, has an important
part for oboe though it is basically an orchestral piece. Again orchestral
forces are exploited to the full to render Lindberg’s often epic vision.
And, at the risk of repeating myself, the music, in spite of its complexity
and its elaborate harmonic scheme, communicates effortlessly.
The most recent work, Parada, completed
in 2001, is an attempt at writing a predominantly slow movement, but
the composer admits that it also has its more animated moments. Lindberg
refers to Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, but the music is pure Lindberg throughout.
These dedicated performances by artists enjoying a
long association with Lindberg’s music cannot be bettered, and are superbly
After their recent and superb recordings of music by
members of Korvat Auki ("Ears Open"), one hopes that
the next release from SONY will be of recent works by another member
of the group, Jouni Kaipainen who has also completed a cello concerto
within the last twelve months.
Full marks to all concerned.