Dedicated to Christian Lindberg
In the wake of the charming pair of Nordic trombone concerto discs I reviewed in the May issue comes another from a Nordic company featuring blistering expressive purpose from three mainstream European masters. The common denominator of the new collection is that they were all written for Christian Lindberg, with a technical difficulty designed to test his peerless technique.
The title of Xenakis’s Troorkh (1991) derives from the first syllables of the words “trombone” and “orchestra”. A typically individual response to the genre, soloist and orchestra form a duo in which “the climax is at the beginning and never stops”, although the work is considerably subtler than that suggests. In its unorthodoxy and single-span design it has much in common with Berio’s SOLO (1999, rev 2000), which its composer described as being “less of a concerto than a meeting of two individuals”. Turnage’s idiom may not be as “advanced” as either of these but it is every bit as vital and there is no denying the urgency of his expressive intent. His electrifying concerto Yet Another Set To (2004-05) evolved in part from his brass ensemble work Set To (1993) and Blood on the Floor (1994-95) but does not betray its piecemeal provenance to the innocent ear.
Almost a co-creator in each work, Lindberg’s understanding of each differing idiom is as impressive as his stunning technical facility. The Oslo Philharmonic under Peter Rundel perform wonders in supporting him and the BIS sound is sensational. Not for all tastes, perhaps, but devotees of brass or contemporary music should not hesitate.