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Magnus Lindberg: Clarinet Concerto
Magnus Lindberg: Gran Duo
Magnus Lindberg: Chorale
Classical CD of the Week*****
“Lindberg composed his Clarinet Quintet for Kriikku in 1992, and it is hard to imagine that this fabulously attractive work would ever have appeared without him to play it so brilliantly.”
“The clarinet has featured prominently as a solo instrument in Magnus Lindberg's output throughout his career, though it was only in 2002 that he set about writing a concerto for his longtime colleague Kari Kriikku. The finished article, however, is really very different from 1980s pieces such as Ablauf and Linea d'ombra. Running for 25 minutes, the work's four sections play continuously, if not seamlessly. Beautifully written for the instrument, there are hints of Debussy in the opening pages and – in the orchestration – of Barber and Copland later on, but the Concerto is in no way derivative. It proceeds with ineluctable momentum through a varied tonal landscape (including some decidedly jazz-like passages) to an ecstatic peroration that is deeply moving and uplifting, before closing out serenely: Rautavaara meeting Gershwin, perhaps. There is something of Rautavaara's manner in the modest Chorale (2001-2), written to precede Berg's Violin Concerto (both use the chorale Esist genug). The larger Gran Duo for winds and brass (1999), with its suggestions of Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, is utterly different though no less impressive. The duo is between the woodwinds and brass en masse, the work a bracing dialogue across some 20 minutes with fascinating incidents along the way, not least where the textures pare down to chamber proportions, though the dark-hued coda has considerable cumulative power. Very strongly recommended.”
“Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto has enjoyed phenomenal success since its 2002 premiere… A marvellous vehicle for the amazing virtuosity of clarinettist Kari Krikku, this is a shiny, sophisticated, nostalgic cultural artefact, indubitably contemporary in language yet sensuously easy (tuneful, even) on the ear. ...is a stunning disc.”