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Christian Lindberg plays Classical Trombone Concertos
Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Concerto in D major for Alto Trombone (1764) [16:41]
Georg Christoph WAGENSEIL (1715-1777) Concerto in E flat major for Alto Trombone [8:03]
Johann Georg ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809) Concerto in B flat major for Alto Trombone [14:09]
Leopold MOZART Concerto in D major for Alto Trombone (1755) [11:30]
Christian LINDBERG (b. 1958) Dreams of Arkandia [5:17]
Mats LARSSON GOTHE (b. 1965) Prelude and Dance [5:09]
Christian Lindberg, alto trombone
Austrian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti
Recorded December 2002 at Sydney Conservatorium, Australia DDD
BIS-CD-1248 [62:28]

Once upon a time, in the middle of the 18th century, in Austria, there lived an alto trombonist named Thomas Gschladt. His prowess on his instrument was unsurpassed, and between 1750 and 1780 his virtuosity inspired the greatest composers of the Austrian courts. Indeed, in Salzburg Gschladt had works written for him by Leopold and W.A. Mozart, and Michael Haydn (the brother of Franz Joseph Haydn, and a very notable composer in his own right). When some of these works were later discovered, specifically the work of Johnann Albrechtsberger (who was one of Beethoven’s teachers), it was decided that the part could not actually have been written for trombone. They were simply far too virtuosic to have been written for the instrument.

Due to the difficulty of these pieces, they were largely lost to history until very recently. It was with great difficulty that Christian Lindberg (b. 1958) and his assembled cast of musicologists reconstructed these works from hand-copied parts. Often the original scores no longer exist in any form, and in some cases even the authorship is debatable. Some of the works available here are recorded for the first time.

As for the performances by Christian Lindberg and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, they could not be better. Lindberg is an incomparable virtuoso on the alto trombone. Having heard countless trombonists perform both symphonic and jazz, the only names which come readily to mind as technically comparable would be players such as Bill Watrous or J.J. Johnson. As these masters were working in fundamentally different musical styles (jazz-rock fusion and bebop respectively) it must be noted that Lindberg is unique. The pieces demand countless lip trills, a soaring range, make use of a dizzying number of fast-tongued passages, and are simply among the most demanding ever written for trombone.

As for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, they do a marvelous job. The performances seem flawless, even upon repeated listening. They bring to life music that one would have thought dead and buried centuries ago, but marvelously reanimated for the modern listener.

At the end of this album there are two bonus tracks written, not for Gschladt, but included for Lindberg to display his hand as a conductor. The first was even penned by the virtuosic trombonist himself, and Dreams of Arkandia is an enchanting work for flute and orchestra, performed by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra with Sharon Bezaly on flute and alto flute. It is definitely an enjoyable piece, and does a good job of inciting the listener to find the larger work, known as The World of Monteugretta. The second bonus track is with the same instrumentation, and hearkens to Stravinsky works written between 1900 and World War I. Indeed it bears a considerable resemblance to the Rite of Spring. These tracks serve as pre-releases for albums that will be issued in the next few months. It is this reviewer’s hope that I will be granted the pleasure of these recordings when they become available.

As for this disc, anyone who has ever played a trombone will be delighted at these recordings. Any lover of rarely recorded works, who enjoys the discovery of unfamiliar music rather than collections of Beethoven and Haydn symphonies will doubtlessly enjoy this album as well. It cannot be more highly recommended.

Patrick Gary

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