Magnus Lindberg: EXPO - Piano Concerto No. 2 - Al largo
02 September 2013
Fruits of Lindberg's spell as the NYPO's composer-in-residence
Having already begun a major Nielsen project, Dacapo continues its association with the New York Philharmonic in this collection of the three works written by Magnus Lindberg as the orchestra's composer-in-residence. Although he first attracted attention through an uncompromising modernist stance, Lindberg has long pursued a more mainstream ethos in his music - its often intricate harmonies and textures being geared towards a benign overall resolution. Such is evident in EXPO (2009), a curtain-raiser whose alternately energetic and ruminative motifs are variously combined and transformed prior to an atmospheric close. More complex in content and evolution, Al largo (2010) falls into two continuous parts the first as dense and eventful as the second is luminous and thoughtful - with a climactic burst of energy spilling over into a Sibelian string threnody redolent of those found in numerous Lindberg orchestral works these past two decades.
The largest work is the Second Piano Concerto (2012), its three continuous movements each embodying elements of dynamism and stasis, development and reprise during their course. Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto is the acknowledged influence behind its main themes - notably the hymn-like dialogue between soloist and orchestra, and the propulsive march-like passage - yet these have been artfully subsumed into an expansive and panoramic musical landscape that culminates in a cadenza which sounds tailor-made for the barnstorming virtuosity of Yefim Bronfman.
Alan Gilbert secures an opulent and impressively unanimous response from the New York Philharmonic, recorded to advantage in the frequently recalcitrant acoustic of Avery Fisher Hall, while the booklet-note provides an insightful overview of Lindberg's compositional idiom - which, it might be added, has never sounded so overtly 'listener friendly' as here.