Magnus Lindberg: Gran Duo premiered by Rattle
Magnus Lindberg continues to be one of the most sought-after orchestral composers, with works commissioned by the leading international orchestras and conductors. His most recent work, Gran Duo for an orchestra of wind and brass, received a highly successful premiere on 8 March in London from Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under. This was followed by performances in Birmingham and on tour to the Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Cologne Music Triennale.
The new work was a CBSO/Royal Festival Hall co-commission as part of the finale to the ambitious Towards the Millennium project. The Finnish premiere of Gran Duo has been scheduled by Avanti! conducted by Oliver Knussen on 2 July at the Porvoo Festival, and further performances are planned by the Berlin Philharmonic under Rattle in his opening season as Chief Conductor.
"Lindberg, a master of orchestral sound, has chosen virtually the same forces as Stravinsky in his Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and with its five connected movements Gran Duo is a symphony in the modern sense… This is a 20-minute duo for two orchestral blocks, and although the part-dialogue, part-argument is linear in construction, it is also about vertical sonorities… a darkly brooding yet peaceful work that reflects something of a unique landscape." The Times
"…the piece quickly assumes a typically Lindbergian momentum, employing a series of textural motifs to explore the polarity between high woodwind timbres and lower, softer brass. Beneath their dialogue, a strong symphonic undertow seems to be at work. Despite his deliberately limited palette, Lindberg engineers an astonishing movement and variety of sound, each tempo and harmonic colour subsumed within a seamless argument." Financial Times
Lindberg’s Cantigas, inspired by the medieval Iberian song tradition, has also been travelling widely. It was premiered in 1999 by the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi, and the same forces revive the work in Cleveland in September (14,16,19), plus a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York on 5 October. In February/March George Benjamin conducted the Ensemble Modern Orchestra in the first European performances of Cantigas on tour to Cologne, Frankfurt and Vienna. The work was also performed by the Royal Flanders Philharmonic conducted by Mikko Frank in May, and can be heard at the Turku Music Festival (13 August) and the Helsinki Festival (20 August) with the Sibelius Academy Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam, followed by a tour to Berlin (22 August), the World Expo in Hannover (23 August) and Frankfurt (25 August).
> Further information on Work: Gran Duo
Photo: Finnish Music Information Centre/Maarit Kytöharjn