MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Downloads available from

Sebastian FAGERLUND (b.1972)
Clarinet Concerto (2005-6) [23:30]
Partita for string orchestra and percussion (2007-9) [18:15]
Isola (2007) [15:50]
Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Dima Slobodeniouk
rec. June 2008 (concerto) and June 2010, Gothenburg Concert Hall, Sweden. Hybrid SACD.
BIS-SACD-1707 [58:36]

Experience Classicsonline

What a great pleasure it is to befriend an interesting person … to visit a beautiful city for the first time … to discover for yourself a new and strong composing voice! Sebastian Fagerlund writes music every minute of which is fascinating. It is modern and unorthodox, opulent and strange, masterfully composed and orchestrated. He has his own voice and is skilled and inspired. His music is very evocative, and often seems suitable for a modern ballet. I hear the wild rhythmic foundation of Stravinsky, the thrilling ostinato patterns of John Adams, and the angelic terror of Einojuhani Rautavaara. Still, Fagerlund’s style is completely independent and original. This is real 21st century music: standing on the shoulders of those who came before yet reaching higher than ever. This music is not easy to describe: changes so much and so often that describing it will take as much time as listening to it. Nothing is pleasant, soothing, lyrical here. The emotions are different: sinister, traumatic, tempestuous.

The structure of the Clarinet concerto is based on the classical model: introduction, Allegro, slow movement, cadenza and fast finale - all without clearly defined borders. That said, there is nothing classical about the music. It bursts with dark energy, with busy rhythms and mesmerizing depths. The textures are dense and daring, and, without having any “tunes”, it is still very approachable and fully “digestible”. The composer knows how to employ ostinato to a great effect. He knows how to hypnotize you into a mysterious cotton-wool trance. The clarinet part is very demanding, but the soloist Christoffer Sundqvist shows truly Paganinian devilry on the clarinet and extracts from of his instrument each color and every shade. There isn’t a single note that he does not make interesting. The elaborate cadenza is impressive, and the sparkling, explosive finale is totally fascinating.

The Partita for strings and percussion is dark and Bartókian. It starts with a slow, moaning movement entitled “Cerimonia. Misterioso”. It is steadily charged with power, and can be seen as a prolonged introduction to the fast and manic second movement, “Risonanza. Furioso”. It is rhythmically rich, like a new Rite of Spring. I want to praise the Gothenburg percussionists for their excellent, resonant drums. The fury stops and we enter a suspenseful, mysterious episode. The music seems to fade away, but then the storm and stress gradually return, like a volcano that continues to erupt after a pause. The music reaches complete frenzy and suddenly stops, as we enter the last movement, “Preghiera. Intenso”, full of lonely wailing sirens over gong and xylophone. The atmosphere remains sombre, but with an added scent of magic. Slow moving layers of sound are suspended in the air - grandiose and mysterious like the pictures from deep outer space made by the Hubble telescope: the vast nebulas, the lighted gas clouds, the majestic swirl of galaxies.

Isola is a gloomy symphonic poem - deeply disturbing. It also cannot be described briefly. It is such a mixture of madness and despair, and beauty, and fear. The beginning is like entering Dante’s Underworld. Over the echoing steps of the descending bass, the tension grows, and the nervous brass bring us to the fast second part. This music is like insurrection in an insane asylum, a terrifying bacchanal, which sucks us into the blizzard of the black ostinato. Suddenly the madness is cut off. The last couple of minutes are like catching the breath after a wild dance; they are quiet and misty, but tense and underpinned with sinister drum rolls.

The recording is very clear and vivid, with great feeling of presence and volume, even if you use a regular, non-SACD player. All instruments of the orchestra are heard in high definition. Gone are the days when a good recording gave us the true concert experience. Now a good recording is more than we could get in a concert: our brain is connected directly to the music. This can only happen when the performance is good, and the Gothenburg Symphony under Dima Slobodeniouk do an excellent job. Their playing is precise and colourful. Fagerlund’s dense textures are presented with graphic clarity. The striking effects are performed with verve, and the conducting is inspired.

Listening to the entire disc leaves me completely squeezed out like a lemon, and devastated, but awed, and wanting to hear this music again and again.

Oleg Ledeniov



















Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.