Magnus Lindberg's Concerto for Orchestra reviewed(February 2004)
Magnus Lindberg's new Concerto for Orchestra, revelling in orchestral colour and instrumental virtuosity, was unveiled in September by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The premiere performances at the Barbican in London and the Concertgebouw in Bruges were conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who also directs the first Finnish performance with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the opening concert at the Musica Nova festival in Helsinki this month. The Japanese premiere takes place on 28 May at Tokyo Opera City with Saraste and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, as the finale of Composium’s all-Lindberg concert.
"Lindberg, in his mid-forties, has come of age: this is a piece on another level with extraordinary confidence, boldness of gesture and an architectural logic that makes it immediately familiar…In recent years, Lindberg has written a series of purely orchestral pieces and a series of concertos; this work is a triumphant combination of the two with real concertante demands on all sections of the orchestra and the occasional big solo for individual members…Palpable was the enjoyment of the players (and the audience) for this 30-minute work."
"As always with Lindberg, the orchestral writing is striking, consistently finding new ways of blending and contrasting in a work where, as the title suggests, everyone is a soloist. At the opening, the brass dominates, in music with a Rite of Spring energy and savagery, while towards the end the whole achieves a Turangalîla-like complexity of many layers. But some of the most effective writing was in the cool heart of the work: an alto flute ululating over a quartet of solo violas, four clarinets fanfaring each other, the piano breaking into a brief cadenza… the Concerto for Orchestra's approachability should ensure further chances to hear it."
"This concerto makes deeper forays into harmony than anything Lindberg has composed so far, and is gorgeously scored. There are wonderful passages, rich and strange… Lindberg's concerto develops two sharply different chaconnes in alternation, combining them only in the grand finale. It works superbly."
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