ROLF WALLIN (b.1957): Under City Skin for Violin, String Orchestra and Surround Sound, Appearances for 15 Instruments, EIVIND BUENE (b.1973): Violin Concerto, Miniatures for Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 02T064
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: The violin concerto Under City Skin from the ever-fertile imagination of Rolf Wallin is probably as inventive and original work as you're likely to encounter this year, and manages to be challenging, fascinating and entertainingly accessible, just like the complex yet compelling works we offered previously (06Q087). A spatially projected surround-sound tape is an integral part of the work, presenting a musique concrète vision of a cityscape, blending into the orchestra's colorful transcription of the scenes, the whole accompanying the soloist's energetic commentary. The first movement follows footsteps through a sequence of quasi-cinematic situations; the second is an impressionistic nocturne; the propulsive 'locomotive' movement that follows divides the motoric frenzy of hurtling through the city between instruments and recordings, and in the 'pastorale' finale, the soloist-protagonist seems to have escaped the city into a strange natural landscape, even more bewildering than the sinister dynamism of the city. In Appearances the orchestra presents a huge range of ephemeral ideas which blend and evolve into one another organically, more freely than the fractally related ideas of the composer's earlier works. The composer compares the work to the Cambrian evolutionary period, when nature seems to have tried out a huge array of life forms before settling into a more linear course. At one point the randomly mobile organisms unexpectedly coalesce into a powerfully pulsating stream, before dissipating into their component parts again. If Wallin's piece is an entire evolutionary period, Buene's Miniatures are individual 'fossils'; brief explorations of a single idea - the transition between two adjacent pitches, a fragment of Schubert, a brief chord sequence. Here, as in the three-movement Violin Concerto, Buene uses quarter-tones and their rich textural implications in a work of allusion, memory and melancholy, with its constant references to the Berg Violin Concerto. Peter Herresthal (violin), Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta; Øyvind Bjorå.