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ClassicsOnline Home » LINDBERG, M.: Graffiti / Seht die Sonne (Helsinki Chamber Choir, Finnish Radio Symphony, Oramo)
Another Lindberg masterpiece
Few contemporary composers have produced as steady a stream of intellectually engaging and accessible music as Finland’s Magnus Lindberg. Lindberg has excelled in so many genres that it’s surprising he has never written a choral work until now. Graffiti, a large-scale work for choir and orchestra, premiered in 2009 and won the Finnish Teosto Award.
The work is in one long movement and in it the composer sets ancient Latin graffiti inscriptions that were found on the walls of Pompeii. It’s a fascinating idea and these little snippets – some are as banal as notice for a missing pot, while others such as “You are dead, you are nothing”— are especially poignant considering Pompeii’s grim fate. Lindberg weaves some lean but extremely colorful orchestral writing around a rather eclectic vocal style that has some echoes of Britten and, more obviously, Orff. The comparison to Orff’s Carmina Burana is surely going to be made by some, but Lindberg makes a potent statement without any of Orff’s vulgar excesses.
The balance of the recording is devoted to Lindberg’s 2007 Seht die Sonne (Behold the Sun), an orchestral piece that takes its title from the final choral section of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder. This is muscular and ecstatic orchestral music on the grand scale. Lindberg’s music is filled with big gestures and whether it’s the concerto grosso-like passages for solo instruments (the cello cadenza in the second movement) or the haunting chorale in the final movement, everything works brilliantly. I don’t think there has been such a powerful orchestral work in the post-Messiaen era.
The performances by the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra are miraculous. The choir sings with power, passion and athleticism – this is difficult music! Men’s voices are richly sonorous and the women are their match at the upper end of the register. Outstanding in every way, I can’t wait until the next Lindberg premiere.more....
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LINDBERG, M.: Graffiti / Seht die Sonne (Helsinki ...