J Anderson’s In lieblicher Blaue – poem for violin and orchestra, Alleluia and The Stations of the Sun performed by Carolin Widman

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COMPOSERS: Anderson
LABELS: LPO
ALBUM TITLE: J Anderson
WORKS: In lieblicher Blaue – poem for violin and orchestra; Alleluia; The Stations of the Sun
PERFORMER: Carolin Widman (violin); London Philharmonic Choir; London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Vladimir Jurowski
CATALOGUE NO: LPO 0089  

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Celebration permeates the London Philharmonic’s second Julian Anderson disc. The Stations of the Sun reflects a sense of various seasonal festivities and was a relatively early marker of Anderson’s ability to create complex, whirligig orchestral textures that nonetheless remain lucid. The other two pieces were written for the LPO. Alleluia marked the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall in 2007 and is a prime exemplar of Anderson’s choral writing, notably the extraordinary vocal murmuration at the climax, brilliantly unleashed by the London Philharmonic Chorus.

In lieblicher Blaue (In lovely blueness) is described by Anderson not as a concerto, but a ‘poem for violin and orchestra’, the title taken from a Hölderlin poem (puzzlingly omitted from the booklet) that Anderson stumbled across as a teenager. If all this emphasises the work’s lyrical qualities, there is also an element of theatre, the violinist starting off-stage and concluding with back turned to the audience. Carolin Widman is superb as the often diaphanous, yet frequently impulsive soloist negotiating an uneasy relationship with the orchestra in this recording of the world premiere. Vladimir Jurowski ensures everything is deftly paced in all three pieces, while the LPO’s joyous commitment to new music shines through. Alleluia indeed.

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Christopher Dingle