TOBIAS BROSTRÖM (b.1978): Piano Concerto “Belle Epoque”, Kaléidoscope, Violin Concerto, Transit Underground, Lucernaris for Trumpet, Live Electronics and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 05N087
Label: Swedish Society
Reference: SSACD 1145
Description: Broström’s orchestral output is thoroughly approachable, and although his vocabulary spans a wide range of idioms it remains more or less firmly grounded in tonality. His unusual standing as a percussionist-composer is reflected in the tendency to lively rhythmic structures and an inventive approach to orchestral sonority - not just of the percussion instruments - as though the conventional symphony orchestra is seen from an alternative viewpoint. The piano concerto is especially tonal; a most appealing work with a deliberately retrospective feel; a modern composer’s affectionate view of warmly approachable music of the past, kin to Prokofiev’s third piano concerto and Classical symphony, or Shostakovich’s second piano concerto, or Poulenc. Kaléidoscope consists of two movements of shimmering color followed by one of greater rhythmic activity. The highly atmospheric first movement suggests a contemporary take on French impressionism, light and movement more important than solid forms; this gives way to a movement of even more indefinite form consisting of glowing chords gently flowing into each other; a central section suggests temple bells. The last movement is much more rhythmically delineated, an increasingly energetic journey through some impressive, rather Sibelian imaginary landscape. The violin concerto is a lyrical virtuoso vehicle in conventional form, with a mysterious opening giving way to lively dancing music in the first movement, echoed in the exhilaratingly propulsive folk-music influenced finale, and a powerful and mysterious slow movement in arch form, prefaced by a violin cadenza. Transit is jauntily rhythmic, humorously mechanical and ironically portentous. Lucernaris explores themes of light and dark, both in the nature of the solo material and in the hugely varied range of orchestral textures, to which electronic treatment lends a subtle extra dimension. The music rises from shadow, with mournful interjections from the soloist, before the textures brighten and strongly rhythmic material takes over. A lively dialogue between soloist, ensemble and electronically augmented sounds then ensues, with the soloist at one point setting off a kind of quasi-miinimalist passage by interacting with layers of his own accumulating looped echoes. Mysterious fluid textures then give way to a solo cadenza and a cumulative final chorale, during which the soloist retreats into the distance. 2 CDs. Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Karen Gomyo (violin), Per Tengstrand (piano), Gävle Symphony Orchestra; Johannes Gustavsson. SACD hybrid.