Liverpool Lullabies; Waves of Wollongong; 2017
Evelyn Glennie (percussion); New Trombone Collective; Antwerp Symphony Orchestra/Christian Lindberg (trombone)
BIS BIS-2418 (CD/SACD) 72:00 mins
In 1997, long fêted for his prodigious artistry as a trombonist, Christian Lindberg discovered an equal flair for composing. More recently, he has won accolades as a conductor. This ebullient album reveals him a force of nature in all three roles alongside superb collaborators including an ever-agile Antwerp Symphony Orchestra.
As soloist and new music commissioner, Lindberg has always revelled in the trombone’s possibilities. In The Waves of Wollongong (2006-9), a piece he considers ‘a milestone for me as a composer for large orchestra’, he puts a whopping nine trombones up front in a kind of choir electrically performed by the New Trombone Collective. Memories of the Australian ocean inspired Lindberg to envision the trombones as different-sized waves. From surging ascending scales and splashing dissonances to rugged, briny melodies – and rich fanfares recalling Gabrieli’s Venice – the fecundity and juxtaposition of the material dazzles while weaving into a satisfying whole.
Again in Liverpool Lullabies (2015-16), a double concerto for trombone and percussion based on memories of the city and childhood lullabies, the apparently incongruous is rendered fantastically akin. Vividly played by Lindberg and Evelyn Glennie, flashes of savagery add spice to a dynamic mix that sweeps into jazzy tenderness with ease.
Lindberg’s theatrical instinct takes a darker turn in 2017, a response to the year which saw Trump take office amidst deepening environmental crisis. With Shostakovian irony, the orchestra skitters and bludgeons through seven sections with titles like ‘Fake News’ and ‘The Bragger’ that say it all.