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Dedicated To Christian Lindberg - Berio, Xenakis, Turnage

Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1638   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Luciano BerioIannis XenakisMark-Anthony Turnage
Performer:  Christian Lindberg
Conductor:  Peter Rundel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BERIO Solo. XENAKIS Troorkh. TURNAGE Yet Another Set To Christian Lindberg (trb); Peter Rundel, cond; Oslo PO BIS 1638 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 58:04)

Trombonist Christian Lindberg has received the dedications of 80 concertos since 1985, when, as a recent graduate, he first pleaded with an initially unresponsive Iannis Xenakis to write something for him. Here are three of those Read more works: two hits and a miss. If this statistic suggests that 53 of those 80 concertos are winners, well, we can forgive the one-third that don’t work.

In this case, the loser is Luciano Berio’s Solo , from 1999–2000. It’s quite difficult for the soloist, yet not a single note produced by Lindberg seems tentative or approximate. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the score is a sequence of sonic episodes and gestures trapped in a 1960s modernist mode of expression. The orchestra stays mainly in the background, making the whole thing seem texturally light and pointillistic, but that doesn’t render it any more coherent or effective.

But then there’s Xenakis’s Troorkh , from 1991 (the title combines the first syllables of the words “trombone” and “orchestra”). It’s more immediately appealing because the music makes obvious linear progress and employs identifiable patterns. The solo part is fiendishly difficult—according to Lindberg, almost unplayable—with the trombone kept very high in its range, making sometimes heraldic, sometimes woozy calls, while the orchestra responds with short phrases of Messiaenic dissonant harmony. Troorkh is by no means a throwback to old forms, but it’s further evidence that Xenakis could move beyond the gliss-and-cluster idiom that made him famous and still write compelling music in an individual style. The performance is stunning.

The newest work here is Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Yet Another Set To (2004–2005). Turnage wrote a single-movement piece for 10 brass instruments in 1993, and called it Set To (as in “argument”). Turnage adapted it for trombone and orchestra under the title Another Set To . Then, with some further revisions, he made that piece the last movement of this three-movement concerto he called, inevitably, Yet Another Set To . The first movement, “Cut Up,” takes a jazzy, Bernstein-like approach to rhythm, with loads of percussion spread across the back channels (in the other two works on this disc, the rear channels are used only for ambience). If we retitled the movement “Rough Sex with Lenny,” then the second movement, “A Soothing Interlude,” would be the cigarette après ; it’s scored for trombone and strings, and delivers exactly what the title indicates. The last movement is not as argumentative as its title suggests, but it is full of bluesy vitality. With its plentiful rhythmic hooks, Yet Another Set To could surely be an audience-pleaser, without compromising its integrity as serious contemporary music.

The performances by Lindberg and the Oslo Philharmonic under Peter Rundel are fabulous from beginning to end, and BIS provides its usual beautiful, deep sonics in all formats, but you really need to listen to the surround version to get the benefit of the percussion array. The disc is definitely worthwhile for the Xenakis and Turnage works, and for Lindberg’s artistry.

FANFARE: James Reel
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. Read less

Works on This Recording

Solo for Trombone and Orchestra by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Christian Lindberg (Trombone)
Conductor:  Peter Rundel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999 
Troorkh by Iannis Xenakis
Performer:  Christian Lindberg (Trombone)
Conductor:  Peter Rundel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; France 
Yet Another Set To by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Performer:  Christian Lindberg (Trombone)
Conductor:  Peter Rundel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005; England 

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