Lindberg, M Clarinet Concerto; Gran Duo; Chorale

Ravishing orchestral writing from a Finnish master of sonority

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Magnus Lindberg

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Ondine

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: ODE1038-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Gran Duo Magnus Lindberg Composer
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo
Chorale Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo
Magnus Lindberg Composer
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra Kari Kriikku
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo
Magnus Lindberg Composer
The clarinet has featured prominently as a solo instrument in Magnus Lindberg’s output throughout his career, though it was only in 2002 that he set about writing a concerto for his longtime colleague Kari Kriikku. The finished article, however, is really very different from 1980s pieces such as Ablauf and Linea d’ombra.

Running for 25 minutes, the work’s four sections play continuously, if not seamlessly. Beautifully written for the instrument, there are hints of Debussy in the opening pages and – in the orchestration – of Barber and Copland later on, but the Concerto is in no way derivative. It proceeds with ineluctable momentum through a varied tonal landscape (including some decidedly jazz-like passages) to an ecstatic peroration that is deeply moving and uplifting, before closing out serenely: Rautavaara meeting Gershwin, perhaps.

There is something of Rautavaara’s manner in the modest Chorale (2001-2), written to precede Berg’s Violin Concerto (both use the chorale ‘Es ist genug’). The larger Gran Duo for winds and brass (1999), with its suggestions of Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, is utterly different though no less impressive. The duo is between the woodwinds and brass en masse, the work a bracing dialogue across some 20 minutes with fascinating incidents along the way, not least where the textures pare down to chamber proportions, though the dark-hued coda has considerable cumulative power.

Coming hard on the heels of flautist Sharon Bezaly’s wonderful ‘Nordic Spell’ disc (BIS, A/05) it is clear that the concerto is alive and well and flourishing in Northern Europe, especially given Kriikku’s breathtaking virtuosity. And there’s excellence aplenty in the couplings, so it is a shame that Ondine did not add more: there is enough room on the disc. Very strongly recommended, nonetheless.

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