MAGNUS LINDBERG (b.1958): Al largo, Cello Concerto No. 2, Era.
Catalogue Number: 03R073
Reference: ODE 1281-5
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Al largo is a thrilling orchestral showpiece with a secret. Much of the music is very fast and propulsive, even explosive, but the apparently paradoxical title points to a slower underlying pulse that gradually makes itself felt as a glowing string chorale makes itself felt toward the end of its two large sections. The vocabulary is a perfect example of Lindberg's recent style, with abundant tonal referents (and a memorable reflection of Verklärte Nacht's ambiguous step away from tonality in the closing minutes), and masterful use of sonorous orchestral forces - not huge in this case, but magnificently deployed with telling use of the piano and percussion, something of a Lindberg trademark. The concerto is a greatly expanded version of Lindberg's expressive, rather neo-romantic and very accessible duo Santa Fe Project, with some entirely new sections including an extensive cadenza. Played without a break, the three movements introduce and explore the work's material, then an increasingly urgent middle movement introduces the rhythmically incisive, flamboyantly extrovert finale. The Era in question in Lindberg's large tone poem is the first couple of decades of the twentieth century, and the work is a deliberate homage to Sibelius and Strauss (via very recognisable allusions), Stravinsky, pre-dodecaphonic Schoenberg and Ravel, the final flowering of late Romanticism and its immediate aftermath. The music is built on powerful motifs in the bass register, over which monolithic structures and opulently orchestrated episodes of dramatic event succeed one another in a series of impressive tableaux. Anssi Kartunen (cello), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hannu Lintu.