Notes and Editorial Reviews
Graffiti (2009) is Magnus Lindberg's first major choral work, indeed one of his few ventures in vocal writing, and it's wonderful. Lasting about half an hour, the text consists of advertisements, scribbling, and the usual scatological commentary found on your typical city walls, only here the language is Latin, and the walls belonged to Pompeii before its annihilation in an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The best way to enjoy the piece is to read the text first (helpfully printed with English translations in the booklet), then simply listen as the music evokes the variegated moods and activities of an ancient city literally dancing on the edge of destruction.
Stylistically, Graffiti is one
of Lindberg's most tonally oriented pieces, not just because he uses modal harmony to give the music a certain primal, even barbaric splendor, but also (I like to hope) because he has realized that more than 30 minutes of continuous music benefits from having strong tonal underpinnings. And even the most virtuosic singers (the Helsinki Chamber Choir is certainly that) benefit from having traditional melodies and harmonies to assist in projecting the text. In short, Graffiti is as intelligent as it is beautiful, appealing, and exciting, and its less obviously modernist style certainly does not represent a retrenchment on Lindberg's part, but rather an adaptation of his personal idiom to the music's expressive demands.
Seht die Sonne (2007) for some reason takes its title from the final chorus of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder. I truly don't get the modern need to find cute titles for new works--Lindberg could have called it "Contraption 43" for all that it matters--but like Graffiti this is an absolutely bewitching piece of orchestral writing. Once again the mixture of tonal and textural elements creates a compelling musical tapestry, with moments of really powerful beauty and expressive intensity. I'm thinking particularly of the transition between the first and second movements, with its voluptuous violin writing, as well as the last several minutes of the entire work (its three movements run together without a break). As already suggested, the performances are vivid, even thrilling, the engineering outstandingly lifelike and (in Graffiti especially) well-balanced. Hot stuff!
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Graffiti by Magnus Lindberg
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Helsinki Chamber Choir
Period: 20th Century
Seht die Sonne by Magnus Lindberg
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Be the first to review this title