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Lindberg: Sculpture/Campana in Aria/Concerto for Orchestra

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra , Esa Tapani , Sakari Oramo , Magnus Lindberg Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Magnus Lindberg
  • Composer: Sakari Oramo
  • Audio CD (24 Nov 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B001HADFBS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Review

This terrific disc brings together three of Magnus Lindberg's colourful, large-scale works from the past decade. The most recent of them, Sculpture, was inspired by Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and explores a fascinating sound-world dominated by the orchestra's low instruments.
Campana in aria (1998) sets a high-lying solo horn against a surprisingly luxuriant chamber orchestra; and the Concerto for Orchestra goes on a fascinating journey of harmonic richness and textural ingenuity. Sakari Oramo and his superb Finnish orchestra give performances that can only be described as definitive. --Matthew Rye, Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2008

Product Description

OND 1124; ONDINE - Finlandia; Classica contemporanea Orchestrale

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Aural Banquet 24 Feb 2010
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
To get the few reservations out of the way I would say that I would have preferred a little more resonance in the recorded sound. this is still a five star recording, however.

Sculpture and the Concerto are big works. The Concerto seems to be compared to Bartok and Kodaly as an achievement and, whilst very much a Lindberg work it deserves to be mentioned in the same class as those works. It is cast in five linked movements and there is no lack of continuity between the movements. the finale brings the work to a rousing climax before fading out, similarly to his violin concerto.

like so many Lindberg works, the cocnerto has a seeming inevitability of each new sound layer or development; it has the weight of a symphony with the requisite instrumental virtuosity of a concerto. This inevitability of form, shared with many of his works including Sculpture, is the use of a chaconne like ground base chord progression throughout the piece.

Sculpture, again like many Lindberg orchestral works amounts to a very rich mixture and the concentration on lower sonorities to blend with the Walt Disney Hall of its premiere might seem like too heavy a meal for some. I love it though and this, for a 22 minute work feels like a massive piece. The work sounds consciously American with a sense of epic and panoramic American landscape finishing even with a flourish from the organ near the work's conclusion.

The horn piece is a bit more lightweight with a little less sense of tonal centre. It follows a similar formal process to the other two but is lightly scored and shorter. It doesn't outstay its welcome and makes an attractive filler.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lindberg's recent orchestral works, with clearer textures but thankfully that same sense of fun 1 Dec 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Ondine continues their generous support of the Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg with this 2008 disc, featuring three of his pieces performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo. These are pieces squarely in Lindberg's mature style, each unfolding as a colourfully and powerfully orchestrated chaconne.

"Campana in aria" for horn and orchestra (1998) was written for the 40th birthday of Esa-Pekka Salonen, who studied with Magnus Lindberg at the Sibelius Academy first as a horn player before moving on to composition and ultimately conducting. "Campana in aria" isn't as much a horn concerto, a piece conceived as a sort of dialogue, as a soliloquy for horn with the orchestra backing it up. This strikes me as a very minor work and it's no big loss that it hasn't been commercially released until now.

The Concerto for Orchestra (2003), on the other hand, is something I've eagerly awaited through these years of only having the radio recording of its premiere under the BBC SO. This is one of Lindberg's mightiest works, offering his recent clearer textures and bold sense of development but without sacrificing the caffeinated exhuberance that marked his best output of the 1990s. There's a fine sense of closure when the work ends with the same horn calls as it began, against a more peaceful harmonic background. Too bad this isn't available on DVD, as it is very impressive to see every member of the orchestra exert themselves towards this very demanding writing.

"Sculpture" (2005) explores much the same soundworld as the Concerto for Orchestra, though with less virtuoso writing and a strange violin-less ensemble. There a lot of fine detail here, and even some agressive gestures which hark back to one of Lindberg's student works, "Sculpture II", composed in a radically different stylistic period.

Lindberg fans will want to pick this disc up for the Concerto for Orchestra. However, I'm not sure how it would serve as an introduction to Lindberg's work for those as yet unacquainted with it. I'd recommend instead a Sony Classical disc which is overall less satisfying, but offers a wider view of Lindberg's writing.

On a side note, Ondine needs to fire their graphic designer and hire someone new. The last couple of years have seen some amateur cover art from the label, and it's embarassing (further examples one, two and three). And yes, cover art does matter. I've talked to several classical music fans who bought Wolfgang Rihm's JAGDEN UND FORMEN because they were so impressed by DG's remarkable design. But I don't like to have a CD like this laying around when guests have come over.
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! What a time to be alive and love classical music!!! 12 Nov 2008
By Ryan Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Today, I believe Magnus Lindberg is the most exciting living composer, and also the one I look forward to most, taking the reigns from Rautavaara, who has been somewhat redundant for the last decade or so. How far Lindberg has come, as well as the new classical base, from the dreadful sounds of the last four decades. Lindberg, like many of the young[er] generation of composers have identified and assimilated the finest traits from that period and have returned to respect tradition instead of scorning it and all those who follow it. This is a far cry from early Lindberg, which was often overbearing and overtly virtuosic. The Lindberg trademarks are still here; complete instrumental mastery and orchestral wizardry, but with a mesmerizing finish that was missing before. The mature lindberg now uses his vast orchestral powers to musical ends and the results have been remarkable and mesmerizing. I believe the Clarinet Concerto and Piano Concerto were the major pieces that began this new phase of lyricism, though those too pieces still seemed to use virtuosity, at times, for display effects. With the violin concerto, Lindberg combined his virtues to perfection, accomplishing, in my opinion, the finest modern violin concerto. This trend has continued with Seht die Sonne[BPO and SFO dual commition] and now this release.
If you havent heard magnus liindberg, get the violin concerto and this album for the perfect introduction.
We are in a great time period now. Saariaho is also making a similar change-her recent album is fantastic and Orion is one of the finest modern compositions I have heard. WHAT A TIME!!!!!!!!!
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Magnus loses his mojo 4 Dec 2008
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It's been six years since the great Sony orchestral set from Lindberg, and I was ready for more of the neotonal synthesis he had created in his 1990s works. Bad news -- the style is the same, but the energy is gone. These more recent compositions are vapid, languid and ennui-inducing, rising to no more than pleasant background muzak at their best moments. Incredulous, I compared this disc to the earlier works that I so admired. "Aura" from the DG 20/21 disc released in 2000 still sounds fantastic. And the Sony disc Music of Magnus Lindberg too holds up well. See my reviews of both. By comparison, this newer music is totally uninspiring.

"Sculpture" was commissioned for the opening of the new Walt Disney Concert Hall of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led at the time (2005) by Lindberg's friend Esa-Pekka Salonen. Basically a fanfare with an extended coda, I can easily imagine it as pleasant ambience for a wine and cheese reception in the Frank Gehry-designed structure. "Concerto for Orchestra," the longest piece here at almost half an hour, sounds languid and Debussean, with a Glass-like sheen. It evokes an underwater court, with elegant aristocrats strolling slowly amidst the coral. Emphasis on slowly.

I suppose there are those that wish Lindberg was still a radical writing works like KRAFT -- see my review. Personally I don't think Lindberg made a good radical; I was impressed with his conservative compromise of the 1990s. It's not the style that I object to, it's the execution. Where's the energy? The passion? These pieces sound like they could have been written by Lindberg's computer program, one which was programmed for slow tempos and pretty Debussean orchestration with the ghost of Elgar rattling around inside. One unfortunate aspect of this music is a tic Lindberg has developed -- regular staccato motifs, rising here, falling there, leading nowhere. Not quite as annoying as Glass's arpeggios, but similar.

I have avoided the most recent Lindberg releases on Ondine because they looked like swindles -- the Clarinet Concerto with two short pieces and the Violin Concerto with yet another recording of the Sibelius concerto. If both concertos had been included on one disc, I would have bought it. This is the first full-length all-Lindberg disc for years, and it is a major disappointment.

I hope Magnus gets his mojo back!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deja vu 7 Feb 2010
By Personne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Only a few composers have invented really new worlds of sound. One might include Carter, Stravinsky, Boulez in that group. Many others, while perhaps not so bold, have created personal and creative worlds within established boundaries. Think of George Perle, Donald Martino, or Stefan Wolpe. I'm always looking forward to new discoveries in either category, as loosely-defined as those categories may be. Then there are composers who are so derivative that you can't get past the composer they're modeling. The music of Magnus Lindberg had been on my to-do list for a couple of years, and this album was my first exposure. I am afraid it belongs fully in the derivative group.

These three pieces show Lindberg to be a late-romantic composer at heart, with just enough lip gloss and eyeliner to make it seem modern. His all-too-obvious model is the early music of Witold Lutoslawski. Two techniques which were just a part of Lutoslawski's toolkit appear to be the foundaation of Lindberg's. Building chord structures of thirds, without matching at the octaves, creates a sound that's triadic in feel, while still dissonant. Holding a chord while the harmony has moved on can also create sort of a faux dissonance. Underneath it all is still a harmonic line and formal sensibility that owes much more to the nineteenth century than to the twenty-first.

That is not to say this music is devoid of its own attractions. The horn concerto (Campana in aria) has some very nice writing that places the soloist against the horn section. Lindberg still manages to create space between the roles of instruments that sound the same. The horn writing itself is treacherous and Esa Tapani handles it well. Lindberg's sense of the orchestra is first-rate, and the orchestral sound is lush and powerful, with details still audible. I'm occasionally reminded of Debussy. At times the orchestration becomes a little gaudy, sounding like a really good film score.

It's not fair to judge a composer by three pieces. But I'm not bowled over by what I've heard so far.
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