Mussorgsky, Bach, Schumann, Stravinsky & Lindberg

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COMPOSERS: Bach,Mussorgsky,Schumann,Stravinsky & Lindberg
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Los Bandidos
WORKS: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Lindberg)
PERFORMER: Christian Lindberg (trombone), Roland Pöntinen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-988
When Swedish humour and the wit of the classically trained musician meet, the rest of the comedy world may well stand by and scratch its head. As it happens, the presentational high jinks and Christian Lindberg’s two-minute Los bandidos to which they refer – Latin-American adventures around the note C – are merely the preface to some inspired trombone-and-piano banditry of music for other mediums. The Mussorgsky transcription essentially gives Pöntinen’s evocative palette free, imaginative range, with very few alterations to Mussorgsky’s piano score; Lindberg doubles up or comes to the fore to sing the minstrel’s ballad outside the Old Castle and the melody of the lumbering ox-cart. Substituting for the treble delicacy of kids in the Tuileries or chicks in their shells, Lindberg inevitably turns our attention to virtuoso trombonery as an end in itself; a better purely musical result at such moments might have come from the additional voice of trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger (there’s a thought for a concert tour de force).

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For the rest of the programme, though, nothing’s lacking. Matching his stylish pianist, Lindberg differentiates between Baroque and Romantic legatos in Bach and Schumann, and the Stravinsky Firebird pieces extend the boundaries of the possible in terms of orchestral pianism and trombone weight. David Nice