Magnus Lindberg burst onto the contemporary music scene in the 1980s with his early work Kraft (as in "power", and not the American food conglomerate and inventor of Velveeta cheese by-product substance), an avant-garde spectacular that took the "sound mass" procedures of Berio or Xenakis and wedded them to an explosive rhythmic energy. He's broadened his style since then, taking in tonal elements and even the occasional tune, but the rhythmic vitality remains, and his coloristic gifts, his ear for ever new and remarkable instrumental sound combinations, have only increased. Aura is a four-movement symphony as indescribable as it is a joy to hear. Dedicated to the memory of Lutoslawski, the piece shows its composer similarly possessed of a vibrant, communicative personal musical language. Although it plays continuously for about 37 minutes, newcomers to Lindberg's sound creations should start with the finale, a sort of dance that begins with simple tunefulness before finding itself in a sort of riotous minimalist hell. It's hugely fun, as is the entire work.
Christian Lindberg, see, the best thing that's ever happened to the trombone. The man can actually fill concert halls for his solo recitals all over the world, and if you don't think that's astonishing, just ask yourself if any other trombonist alive could do it; in fact just ask yourself if you can think of the name of another solo trombonist. Yes, he's that good. And that means not only does Lindberg make marvellous sounds with his 'bone, but sometimes people write him marvellous music for it as well.
Despite the Swedish label for which this disc was recorded, and despite the Swedish origins of the group's leader, the Dowland Consort is English. It has a lot of competition in the realm of instrumental music by John Dowland, but less so for the seven linked pieces that open the program, based on the material used in the famous lute song Seven Teares. (This disc was originally recorded in 1985.) These seven pieces (and the pair of sevens would have had deep significance for Dowland's audience) are unique in Renaissance instrumental music.
In terms of genre, Allan Pettersson was uniquely single-minded: during his entire career as a composer (1953–80) he produced only a dozen or so works that were not symphonies. By name, Violin Concerto No. 2 is one of these, but it is fair to say that it straddles the divide. Pettersson himself remarked: ‘In reality my work was a Symphony for violin and orchestra. From this results the fact that the solo violin is incorporated into the orchestra like any other instrument.’ It should therefore not come as a surprise that Christian Lindberg has chosen to include this massive 53-minute work in his acclaimed and award-winning series of Pettersson’s symphonies, realised in collaboration with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. The concerto was written in 1977, 28 years after its predecessor, the Concerto for Violin and String Quartet (1949).
Subtitled "The criminal trombone No 2 ½" this is another release by two Swedish musicians, Christian Lindberg and Roland Pöntien. Previously issues by the pair have included "The Criminal Trombone" featuring 'stolen works' with Lindberg as 'defendant' and Pöntinen as 'accomplice'. This CD continues in a similar vein with comic illustrations and a spoof introduction.