Lindberg Campana in aria; Concerto for Orchestra; Sculpture
Magnus Lindberg has been dedicated in exploring the potential of the modern orchestra, as this disc confirms. Odd that Campana in aria (1998) was unrecorded until now, as its lively investigation of horn sonority makes for the composer’s most entertaining concertante piece, especially when Esa Tapani is so in control of its virtuosity.
Each decade in his maturity has seen Lindberg pen an orchestral work as a statement of intent: thus the modernist outpouring of Kraft (1985), then the reconciliation of innovation and tradition in Aura (1994). Fine that the Concerto for Orchestra (2003) is a further step along this path, but quality is simply lacking – whether in the actual ideas or, especially, the interplay of textures such that the harmonies sound derivative of earlier works, while melodic lines are insufficiently defined. Ensemble writing in the latter half fails to sustain momentum, and the apotheosis is perfunctory by Lindberg’s standards. Fortunately, Sculpture (2005) seems intent on righting its predecessor’s wrongs – not least in its skilful mediating between extremes of motion without sacrificing either harmonic or textural intricacy, with a final section that fairly saturates the sound-space.
Quite a piece with which to have opened the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony fully appreciate its opportunities for meaningful orchestral display and are accorded spacious sound that lacks nothing in impact. Sculpture makes this a mandatory purchase for Lindberg’s admirers, many of whom may well find in the Concerto more than incidental pleasures.