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20/21 - Lindberg: Aura, Engine / Knussen, London Sinfonietta

Release Date: 08/08/2000 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 463184   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Magnus Lindberg
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London SinfoniettaBBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Magnus Lindberg burst onto the contemporary music scene in the 1980s with his early work Kraft (as in "power", and not the American food conglomerate and inventor of Velveeta cheese by-product substance), an avant-garde spectacular that took the "sound mass" procedures of Berio or Xenakis and wedded them to an explosive rhythmic energy. He's broadened his style since then, taking in tonal elements and even the occasional tune, but the rhythmic vitality remains, and his coloristic gifts, his ear for ever new and remarkable instrumental sound combinations, have only increased. Aura is a four-movement symphony as indescribable as it is a joy to hear. Dedicated to the memory of Lutoslawski, the piece shows its composer Read more similarly possessed of a vibrant, communicative personal musical language. Although it plays continuously for about 37 minutes, newcomers to Lindberg's sound creations should start with the finale, a sort of dance that begins with simple tunefulness before finding itself in a sort of riotous minimalist hell. It's hugely fun, as is the entire work. Lindberg's ability to sustain large stretches of music such as this with effortless mastery makes him, along with his very different-sounding older compatriot Rautavaara, virtually unique in the world of contemporary music today.

The composition of Engine involves some computer-generated procedures, but the result sounds like Lindberg all the same. Working with a virtuoso chamber ensemble, he evolves a 14-minute fireball of a piece out of tiny thematic cells. All of this music is ferociously difficult to play, and Oliver Knussen deserves full credit for his passionate advocacy and impactful leadership. Not everything is perfect, though. The recording balances the brass--horns in particular--too forwardly, and clearly suffers from the presence of extra microphones. With music of this complexity, it's best to trust the composer and the players rather than to engineer the finished product at the mixing board. Still, this release offers music of exceptional beauty and power by a major composer that, taken with Ondine's various Lindberg discs, deserves a place in every contemporary music collection. Great stuff.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Engine by Magnus Lindberg
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 14 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Aura by Magnus Lindberg
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 11/1998 
Venue:  B. B. C. Maida Vale Studio no 1, London 
Length: 37 Minutes 0 Secs. 

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