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|Prelude, Fnugg and Riffs
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
1. Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1955) [7.19]
Oystein BAADSVIK (b.
1966)/Svein H. GISKE (b.
2. Fnugg Blue (2002/2003) [7.56]
Boris DIEV (b.
3. Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (1966) [9.09]
Mark Anthony TURNAGE (b.
1960) (arr. Anders Högstedt)
4. A Quick Blast (2000) [8.01]
Fredrik HÖGBERG (b. 1971)
5. Trolltuba [7.53]
Daniel NELSON (b.
1965) arr. Anders HÖGSTEDT
6. Metallephonic Remix [15.48]
Baadsvik (tuba) (2-6)
Christian Lindberg (trombone) (2)
Swedish Wind Ensemble/Christian Lindberg
rec. January 2006, May 2006, Nacka Aula, Stockholm.
BIS CD1625 [57.33]
tuba virtuoso Øystein Baadsvik continues to forge new areas
of repertoire. Having recorded two CDs of music for tuba
and piano the present disc is a collaboration with the Swedish
Wind Ensemble, whose chief conductor is the trombone virtuoso
Christian Lindberg. We are offered a selection of contemporary
works for tuba and wind ensemble, with the addition of Bernstein’s Prelude,
Fugue and Riffs. Thanks to a slight lack of clarity in
the booklet notes, I was expecting - perhaps ‘dreading’ is
a better description - an adaptation of Prelude, Fugue
and Riffs for tuba and wind band. Thankfully this is
not what happened. Closer reading led to the realisation
that Baadsvik plays in four items and the Swedish Wind Ensemble
alone play the Bernstein and the Turnage.
performance of the Bernstein is very creditable, with some
fine solo clarinet playing from Anita Bohlin. As a whole
the playing lacks a certain swing and leans closer to the
Stravinskian element than to swing/jazz. On the whole the
players sound as if they are having immense fun.
Blue is a concertante work for tuba and wind ensemble by Baadsvik and composer
Svein Giske. Originally Baadsvik wrote the piece as a tuba
solo and Giske expanded it into a work for tuba, synthesizer
and brass band. It uses all sorts of advanced techniques
on the tuba including multiphonics - singing and playing
simultaneously - and percussive effects.
opening sounds as if Baadsvik is playing variants of the
Rolling Stones ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ on a didgeridu.
It is not the melodic material per se which is of
interest but the sheer joy with which Baadsvivk manages to
conjure such a wonderful variety of sounds out of the instrument.
In case you are wondering, ‘fnugg’ is a Norwegian word for
something small and weightless.
Boris Diev is from an older generation and is Russian-trained.
His Concerto for Tuba and Wind Orchestra was composed in
1996 and written for Baadsvik who gave the first performance
in 1996. It is relatively short for a concerto, but Diev’s
material is pretty tough and concentrated. The single movement
work uses highly expressionistic melodic material, mixing
contemporary techniques with a feeling for tonality, albeit
of a more challenging type.
takes a rest in the next piece as the Swedish Wind Ensemble
play Mark Antony Turnage’s A Quick Blast. This forms
the first part of Etudes and Elegies which was commissioned
by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2002. Each of the three
movements of Etudes and Elegies is written for a different
combination of instruments. A Quick Blast is
scored for the wind and percussion sections of the symphony
orchestra. The version played here has been slightly re-scored
to suit the requirements of the Swedish Wind Ensemble. In
many ways the piece comes over as a tougher version of the
Bernstein. It has the same rhythmic drive and melodic verve;
it is just that Turnage’s harmonic language is stronger and
Fredrik Högberg’s Trolltuba I was expecting another
tuba concertante work, this time based on the Norwegian fairy
tale Three Billy Goats Gruff. The CD booklet omits
all mention of the fact that the work includes a narrator
and a chorus. The narrator tells the story with the tuba
and wind ensemble providing background material and illustrative
musical interludes. The narration is in English, but the
unnamed speaker’s distinctive accent might become a little
annoying on repeated listening. The author of the narration
is uncredited but it is a little too knowing and self-referential.
Towards the end the chorus have to coax the speaker into
finishing the piece. Högberg’s music is dramatic and illustrative,
but tends to take a back seat to the text. I hope that Högberg
has the confidence to drop that narration and rely solely
on his musical and dramatic talents to tell the story.
Daniel Nelson’s Metallephonic Remix. Nelson trained
at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Chicago
but currently lives in Sweden, where he has studied with
Lars-Erik Rosell. He has a close relationship with the Nordic
Chamber Orchestra for whom he wrote Metallephonic for
tuba and orchestra, which Baadsvik premiered. For this disc
Anders Hogstedt has re-orchestrated the piece for the Swedish
work arose when Nelson’s neighbour started to play heavy
metal rather loudly. Nelson became intrigued by the synthesis
between this and his classical music. The result is exciting
and up-tempo with an emphasis on percussion. Nelson’s harmonic
and musical language is complex but his manipulation of material,
with its pulses and repetitions is akin to the later music
by such minimalists as Glass and Adams.
all of these pieces, Baadsvik’s tuba playing is dazzling.
His tuba is never over-spotlit so that he is very much primus
inter pares. He makes light of the extreme technical
demands that the pieces make and concentrates on making music.
He is well supported by the Swedish Wind Ensemble under Christian
Lindberg’s fine direction. They show their true mettle in
their two solo items.
is very definitely a disc of wind music for people who think
they don’t like wind ensemble. The dazzling playing and fearless
approach to contemporary idiom mean that this is a disc to
enjoy and to challenge.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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