TOMMIE HAGLUND (b.1959): Flaminis Aura for Cello and Orchestra with Tape (Ernst Simon Glaser [cello], Gothenburg Symphony; David Afkham), Serenata per Diotima for Strings (Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Joachim Gustafsson), Il regno degli spiriti for String Quartet (ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen w/Julia Kretz-Larsson [violin]), Sollievo (dopo la tempesta) for String Trio (ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen).
Catalogue Number: 07T069
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: The 35-minute Flaminis Aura attempts nothing less ambitious than to create a sonic cosmos, with the soloist as a lonely wanderer through the void. The composer describes the piece as a 'song of the Earth' - not in a Mahlerian sense but that of the 'music of the spheres'. To underscore the point, late in the work an extract from the eerie recordings of our planet's radio wave emanations translated into audio frequencies is integrated into the texture. Haglund's idiom, while not conventionally tonal, contains a great deal of tonal harmony, often at climactic points of arrival as though our celestial wanderer is temporarily in orbit around the roiling cauldron of some giant planet or star's atmosphere. The gravitational pull of tonal centers is frequently felt too; long pedal points often achieve this effect. The cynical among us might suggest that the composer throws everything but the kitchen sink into his grandiose vision of an infinite empyrean, but the results are undeniably most impressive. "The Spirit Realm" is a large quartet based on a Native American legend similar to the Orpheus myth. Like the concerto it dates from 2001 and is similarly a single span with a slow basic pulse out of which dramatic episodes advance and recede, in the same free, tonally anchored harmonic language. The other works are more recent, and more linear, with suggestions of Renaissance polyphony and more explicit tonality. The 'solace' of the quasi-autobiographical trio is the composer's relief after a painful medical episode, but judging by the music's turbulent episodes a degree of the pre-solace trauma is depicted as well. The serenade to the mythical and poetic figure of Diotima is the most tonal work here, gorgeously and opulently neo-romantic.