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M Lindberg: Tempus fugit; Violin Concerto No. 2

Frank Peter Zimmermann; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu (Ondine)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

M Lindberg Tempus fugit; Violin Concerto No. 2
Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin); Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
Ondine ODE 1308-5 (hybrid CD/SACD)   58:27 mins

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Magnus Lindberg’s style has evolved with the times – and with this recording it takes wing in often astonishing ways. These two recent works, the Violin Concerto No. 2 (2015) and a big orchestral work, Tempus Fugit, show a composer at the height of his powers and make wonderful additions to the contemporary concert repertoire.

Tempus Fugit was written for the centenary of Finnish independence in 2017, but it transcends that occasion. In five sections, unified by elements of the thematic material, it could well have been called a symphony. It is comparable in certain senses to late Sibelius: surging, uncompromising, driven by ingenious development and inspired sonorities. Lindberg’s language is very much his own, allowing recurring themes to come into sharp focus before melding back into the mass of invention taking place in the generous textures and unpredictable harmonic progressions. Solo instruments and concertante groups contrast with the big-hewn full orchestra – for instance, a clarinet quartet ushers
in the third section, and occasionally the pianist is in the spotlight alone. Hannu Lintu shapes a magnificently assured performance with the excellent FRSO, luminous at the colourful core and rugged in its embrace of granite-like grandeur. In the Violin Concerto No. 2 Frank Peter Zimmermann, for whom the work was written, is a serene soloist, rock-solid throughout and cool as the proverbial cucumber through every virtuoso challenge. His eloquent tone soars through the orchestral richesse, while a keenly attuned ear makes him a collegial soloist for Lintu and the FRSO in this exceptionally interactive work. Enhanced by superb sound quality (super audio), this is a tremendous recording all round.

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Jessica Duchen