TORBJÖRN IWAN LUNDQUIST (1920-2000): Symphony No. 3 “Sinfonia dolorosa”, Symphony No. 4 “Sinfonia ecologica”.

Catalogue Number: 10U009

Label: Sterling

Reference: CDM 3004-2

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: A highly unusual and individual 'tall poppy" in the far from sparse field of first-rate Scandinavian tonal symphonists, Lundquist produced a body of massive works of great intensity and power in the medium to which he was most attracted (making as many as 13 attempts, of which at least 8 are extant). There is nothing shy or retiring about these huge, granitic works, characterised by avalanches of fury and crushing climaxes. Their searing forcefulness is reminiscent of Tabakov (08S009, 09U059) or Pettersson (04T056, 03P014 et al.), though they are more different than they are similar. Lundquist takes the natural world, about which he was passionate, as a starting point to frame and immeasurably amplify the most turbulent human emotions. The 3rd symphony was written in memory of his wife, and as the title suggests it is a work of profound tragedy and mourning. It begins quietly, and sounds as though it might be a grand landscape-canvas, the composer immersing himself in nature's grandeur in contemplation. It soon reveals itself to be nothing of the sort; each of the three main sections of its single span culminates in a furious, pounding climax, a shattering outburst of uncontrolled anger. The 4th expressly addresses the composer's concern with the endangered natural world, but here is no sunny postcard scene or new-agey celebration of our one-ness with Mother Earth; the work announces itself with a volcanic introduction, and the momentum barely lets up from this point for the next three-quarters of an hour. As in the 3rd, each section works itself up into an inexorable, motoric climax. However, this work takes a turn toward more optimistic territory in its final part, with rich, almost cinematic surges of rushing energy; the 'pure spring waters' of Sibelius 6 reimagined as a cascading torrent. The final grand statement of the work's opening motif, piling splendour upon splendour, could almost fall into self-caricature, were it not so magnificent. Gothenburg Symphony; Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist (No. 3; live Sept. 18, 1928), Sixten Ehrling (No. 4; live Oct. 3, 1985).

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