Author Topic: Magnus Lindberg's lair  (Read 17180 times)

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Offline CRCulver

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Magnus Lindberg's lair
« on: October 03, 2008, 03:49:25 AM »
Though I should start off any discussion about Magnus Lindberg's music with a long explanation of his style and why I like him so much, I'm a bit pressed for time, so I'll limit myself to the news I wanted to share.

At the beginning of this month Naxos released a CD featuring Magnus Lindberg's works for piano solo and two pianos:



What is interesting about this disc is that it features some juvenalia which I had never before seen mentioned in catalogues of the composer's work.

It's a pity Lindberg himself has not recorded these pieces (perhaps an Ondine disc will eventually appear?), though he is a capable pianist and premiered a few of these in concert. Ralph van Raat, however, is far from the sort of marginal musician Naxos often records, having trained under Oppens and Aimard and currently enjoying some acclaim in the Netherlands.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2008, 05:06:21 AM »
Thanks for starting a Lindberg thread.  I'm a big fan of his work, too, and coincidentally, just got this new CD a couple of days ago, Abandoned Time, with the International Contemporary Ensemble playing Lindberg's Linea d'ombra (1981).  The disc also has works by Dai Fujikura, Mario Davidovsky, Kaija Saariaho and Du Yun.

Other Lindberg favorites: Corrente (1992), Related Rocks (1997) and his Clarinet Concerto (2002).

That Naxos CD looks very interesting; I haven't heard any of his solo piano music.

--Bruce
« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 05:11:15 AM by bhodges »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2008, 05:18:00 AM »
I too am a (moderately big) fan of Lindberg. I love those in-yer-face big orchestral scores: Aura; Cantigas; Fresco and the like. The earlier, punkish stuff (like Kraft) is entertaining but too experimental to bring me back for repeated listening.

While I enjoy his Clarinet Concerto (which has received tons of praise), it feels like he is curbing his natural instincts there in the interests of populism. Nothing wrong with that, and if it helps him catch on, so much the better. But I prefer the more aggressive and daring earlier works overall.
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Offline CRCulver

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 05:23:42 AM »
While I enjoy his Clarinet Concerto (which has received tons of praise), it feels like he is curbing his natural instincts there in the interests of populism. Nothing wrong with that, and if it helps him catch on, so much the better. But I prefer the more aggressive and daring earlier works overall.

It might be just getting older instead of deliberately selling out. Anecdotes from the 1980s and 1990s portray him as a man of boundless energy, always moving about, never sleeping during festivals, and perhaps that expressed itself in his music. I love Anssi Karttunen's story that the cabin in which Lindberg wrote Cantigas and the Cello Concerto was strewn about without empty energy drink cans, vitamin bottles and cigar stubs. I've met Lindberg twice now, and he doesn't seem like the old legend.

My favourite work of his is Cantigas followed closely by Kinetics (though it's a pity there's no really good recording of the that) and the Concerto for Orchestra.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2008, 05:31:51 AM »
The earlier, punkish stuff (like Kraft) is entertaining but too experimental to bring me back for repeated listening.

I forgot that I have the recording of Kraft, coupled with Action-Situation-Signification on the disc below (the only scan I could find quickly).  I'm kind of with you on this one: Kraft is fun but I don't find myself returning to it often.

I love Anssi Karttunen's story that the cabin in which Lindberg wrote Cantigas and the Cello Concerto was strewn about without empty energy drink cans, vitamin bottles and cigar stubs. I've met Lindberg twice now, and he doesn't seem like the old legend.

Cool, where did you meet him?  :D

--Bruce
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2008, 05:42:09 AM »
It might be just getting older instead of deliberately selling out.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply anything pejorative in my comment ("selling out" would imply that, yes?). I have no problem with a composer writing deliberately populist and audience-friendly works at times, even if they don't reflect his "true voice." (On the other hand, if he consistently repressed his true voice - I guess that would be selling out.)

But you may be right, it might just be natural mellowing - I believe he turns 50 this year.
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Offline Senta

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2008, 09:07:44 AM »
Thanks for the thread.  :D

Lindberg and his firebrand group of classmates at the Sibelius Academy (the Ears Open group) all modified their styles as they got older, which is something I find really interesting, as there seem to be various different reasons in each case. This is an area I've done some research in lately. Some did it very abruptly, while for Lindberg it was more gradual. I feel it has something to do with his time outside Finland, in Paris, but am not quite sure. I don't think it has anything to do with selling out - I believe he doesn't feel his true voice is high modernist anymore, but that it has changed as he has grown older. In fact, his language has about caught up styles now with his compatriots of the same age.

It is quite evident in the language of his new Violin Concerto (who has heard it? :)), his Clarinet Concerto, and also his Concerto for Orchestra. And even his high-octane pieces like Cantigas, Fresco, etc show a move away from his earlier language of the 80s.

Lindberg is a really interesting composer, as is the background he developed out of, which was very much a reaction to and challenging of the Finnish music of before. He studied extensively in Paris, as Saariaho did, and this has been an influence on his music. There is a spectral element in his writing, in the way he uses color and harmony, which makes his works fascinating to listen to.

I find much of his music also challenging to listen to however, as it is often in love with elements other than melody, but I do find it very well-written in structure and orchestration.

I could also get into a long discussion here about what I like about his different periods, but I will just say that there is a lot of great stuff to explore in his output. Perhaps also things to stay away from too.

His early musique concrete stuff is still fun, such as Action-Situation-Signification, Kraft is now not much more than a curiosity, representing a stage (thankfully) long past. I like some of the Piano Concerto (which is on my disc of Kraft), such as the lovely 2nd mvmt, but it doesn't connect with me as a whole.

Kinetics-Marea-Joy, and Aura (in memoriam of Lutoslawski), I love those pieces, I think they are among some of the best things he has written. Cantigas and Fresco, all of the disc they are on - I have listened to those often as there is just so much going on - they are excellent works, but will also wear you out. ;)

Of his more recent stuff, it is consistently very enjoyable, but for me the Concerto for Orchestra (2003) deserves a special mention. I don't have a decent recording of it though.  :'(  Does one even exist?

This piece shows his unique way of writing space, and it equally features all sections, all instruments of the orchestra. It has a lot of chamber music type-writing, and a juxtaposition of brassy chorales and percussive rhythms with delicate impressionistic, almost Messiaenic filigreed figurations. Harmonically I would say it is very representative of his style as well. There are also some places about halfway through where he alludes strongly to his Clarinet Concerto in the woodwind solos.

An attempt to crystallize a work that kind of defies a short description...but it is a very engaging listen, and a work that desperately is in need of a good recording.

I really want to hear his new piece Seht Die Sonne.... 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 09:11:07 AM by Senta »

Offline Brewski

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 09:30:56 AM »
It is quite evident in the language of his new Violin Concerto (who has heard it? :)),

I heard the premiere in 2006, at the Mostly Mozart Festival, where it was the festival's first-ever commission by a living composer (albeit one surrounded by Mozart on all sides  ;D).  Excellent piece, with some echoes of Sibelius here and there, which is interesting since Lisa Batiashvili's recording of it is coupled with the Sibelius concerto.

And an excellent post, Senta!

--Bruce
« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 09:36:09 AM by bhodges »
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Offline UB

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2008, 09:34:59 AM »
Thanks for the thread.  :D

Lindberg and his firebrand group of classmates at the Sibelius Academy (the Ears Open group) all modified their styles as they got older, which is something I find really interesting, as there seem to be various different reasons in each case. This is an area I've done some research in lately. Some did it very abruptly, while for Lindberg it was more gradual. I feel it has something to do with his time outside Finland, in Paris, but am not quite sure. I don't think it has anything to do with selling out - I believe he doesn't feel his true voice is high modernist anymore, but that it has changed as he has grown older. In fact, his language has about caught up styles now with his compatriots of the same age.

It is quite evident in the language of his new Violin Concerto (who has heard it? :)), his Clarinet Concerto, and also his Concerto for Orchestra. And even his high-octane pieces like Cantigas, Fresco, etc show a move away from his earlier language of the 80s.

Lindberg is a really interesting composer, as is the background he developed out of, which was very much a reaction to and challenging of the Finnish music of before. He studied extensively in Paris, as Saariaho did, and this has been an influence on his music. There is a spectral element in his writing, in the way he uses color and harmony, which makes his works fascinating to listen to.

I find much of his music also challenging to listen to however, as it is often in love with elements other than melody, but I do find it very well-written in structure and orchestration.

I could also get into a long discussion here about what I like about his different periods, but I will just say that there is a lot of great stuff to explore in his output. Perhaps also things to stay away from too.

His early musique concrete stuff is still fun, such as Action-Situation-Signification, Kraft is now not much more than a curiosity, representing a stage (thankfully) long past. I like some of the Piano Concerto (which is on my disc of Kraft), such as the lovely 2nd mvmt, but it doesn't connect with me as a whole.

Kinetics-Marea-Joy, and Aura (in memoriam of Lutoslawski), I love those pieces, I think they are among some of the best things he has written. Cantigas and Fresco, all of the disc they are on - I have listened to those often as there is just so much going on - they are excellent works, but will also wear you out. ;)

Of his more recent stuff, it is consistently very enjoyable, but for me the Concerto for Orchestra (2003) deserves a special mention. I don't have a decent recording of it though.  :'(  Does one even exist?

This piece shows his unique way of writing space, and it equally features all sections, all instruments of the orchestra. It has a lot of chamber music type-writing, and a juxtaposition of brassy chorales and percussive rhythms with delicate impressionistic, almost Messiaenic filigreed figurations. Harmonically I would say it is very representative of his style as well. There are also some places about halfway through where he alludes strongly to his Clarinet Concerto in the woodwind solos.

An attempt to crystallize a work that kind of defies a short description...but it is a very engaging listen, and a work that desperately is in need of a good recording.

I really want to hear his new piece Seht Die Sonne.... 


Excellent post - I have a couple of recordings of the Concert for Orchestra with the BBC SO. They are both good for radiocasts but of course not cd quality. Also have a recording of the Violin Concerto and Seht Die Sonne.
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greg

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2008, 10:58:28 AM »
Kinetics. That's all I have to say.  0:)

Bulldog

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2008, 11:29:42 AM »
It's a pity Lindberg himself has not recorded these pieces (perhaps an Ondine disc will eventually appear?), though he is a capable pianist and premiered a few of these in concert. Ralph van Raat, however, is far from the sort of marginal musician Naxos often records, having trained under Oppens and Aimard and currently enjoying some acclaim in the Netherlands.

Perhaps once upon a time Naxos tended to use some marginal musicians; that's no longer the situation. 

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 10:27:01 PM »
Perhaps once upon a time Naxos tended to use some marginal musicians; that's no longer the situation. 

Also I don't know what "marginal" is suppposed to mean here. There are plenty of musicians who are excellent despite being little-known.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2008, 12:46:04 AM »
Lindberg's Concerto for Orchestra is now available. Here's a glowing review from Everyone's Favorite Critic:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11999

Anyone heard this disc yet?
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Offline CRCulver

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2008, 09:46:41 AM »
Lindberg's Concerto for Orchestra is now available. Here's a glowing review from Everyone's Favorite Critic:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11999

Anyone heard this disc yet?

I've heard the disc, although I've already known the Concerto for Orchestra for years from a radio recording of its premiere under the BBC SO, as well as a performance of it in Helsinki last spring. I think it's Lindberg's masterpiece, constantly in motion and abounding in ideas, but with a clearer form than his work of the '90s. Nothing he has done sense has really pleased me that much. He seems too mellowed now, when he used to be the caffeinated wonder composer.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2008, 11:27:52 AM »
Thanks CR - I guess this one goes on the wish list  :)

"Caffeinated wonder composer" - very nice description.
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greg

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2008, 08:13:14 PM »


"Caffeinated wonder composer" - very nice description.
Yes, and I wish he'd go back to that. I've tried that disc with Aura, the Cello Concerto, Parade, and Fresco several times, and twice I've fallen asleep to it.  :P

In contrast, Kinetics is just a masterpiece of new music.

springrite

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2008, 08:41:05 PM »
I must be still really really young at heart. I do listen to KRAFT often!

greg

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2008, 09:17:01 PM »
I must be still really really young at heart. I do listen to KRAFT often!
It goes good with a certain brand of macaroni and cheese.  8)

snyprrr

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2010, 10:31:31 AM »
No one has mentioned my favorite Clarinet Quintet, which I have on the Arditti disc (the other version, I hear, is NOT to be preferred).

I went through the Lindberg phase, snapping up all those ondine cds, and...uh...yea, I don't have them anymore. I did enjoy his "never wrote a slow mvmt." style, but, apparently, they wasn't anything beyond the kinetic energy for me. Still, the Clarinet Quintet is perfectly within my sweet spot.

Sean

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Re: Magnus Lindberg's lair
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2010, 10:50:30 AM »
By Lindberg I've persevered with Arena, Away, Fresco, Grand duo, Kinetics, Marea & …de Tartuffe, je crois… (piano quintet) & Six Piano jubilees (piano).

He's another socially well-placed musical nobody with very very little to say, one more example of the massive decline of the art of music. In any earlier time since the medieval such a small talent would hardly have even been retained on paper. God help us, and the likes of the misguided posters here.