ØRJAN MATRE (b.1979): Concerto for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 09U072
Label: LAWO Classics
Description: This is both a conceptual piece - music about music, playing on the idea of a concerto in the form of a concert - and a magnificently successful large-scale work in its own right. The title isn't the only punning cross-reference; the music is full of them. Intrada I consists of the sounds of the audience filing into the hall, during which the orchestra starts playing ambient sounds with bell-like sonorities (some of which are Arne Nordheim's bell composition for the hall where the recording was made); this leads into Intrada II, with the brass playing fanfare figures offstage, while the onstage orchestra answers with expectant phrases. Here for the first of many times we hear fragmentary gestures which refer to Le sacre. Overture is properly propulsive and energetic, rousingly raising the curtain (and more explicitly and at greater length presenting material derived from Stravinsky's ballet. There are some extraordinary percussive effects, then the solo violin (in the stalls) enters with a pulsating alarum which leads into the "concert's" concerto; a condensed version of Matre's own Violin Concerto (available on 05R074), with its rich, dark harmonic masses, ominous pulsations and soaring violin line. 'Intermission' is a two-minute movement with recorded sounds of the audience milling about in the lobby, overlain by bell sounds. The "concert" continues with a four-movement 'symphony'; a condensed reworking of the composer's PreSage (also on 05R074) written for the centenary of Le sacre, and telescoping episodes from it into a tumultuous ritual dance; a looming, dark 'Lament' full of tolling bells, which turns into a ghostly nocturnal 'Berceuse', the bells transformed into music boxes; a "Minuet" - yes, maybe, if danced by goblins at a witches' sabbath - and a propulsive Finale which sounds designed to encapsulate the idea of 'finale'. The violin soloist returns with the last word in a disintegrating epilogue, rounded out with the offstage fanfares from the beginning. Peter Herresthal (violin), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Peter Szilvay.