Nomade*; Water Atlas
*Nicolas Altstaedt (cello); Finnish Radio Symphony/Hannu Lintu
BIS BIS-2455 (CD/SACD) 58:34 mins
Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund’s music is a beguiling mix of the fiercely energetic and glitteringly intricate. His previous concertos have won wide acclaim, including the celebrated Darkness in Light (2012) for violin and orchestra, and his landmark bassoon concerto Mana (2016). Fagerlund’s cello concerto Nomade (2018) pulses with all the composer’s characteristic textural invention and shifts in energy, and this outstanding new recording features a dazzling performance from Nicolas Altstaedt and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
By turns fierce and fragile, Nomade is an abstract account of journeying which places the soloist as a ‘cellist-wanderer’ passing through different ‘landscapes, moods and events as depicted by the orchestra’ in the work’s six vibrant movements. Nicolas Altstaedt gives a bravura performance that captures every colour and nuance of the work, from the plaintive to the soaring to the percussive, while Hannu Lintu’s attentive reading opens up Fagerlund’s complex score with space and clarity.
The disc is completed by the substantial orchestral work, Water Atlas (2017–18), the last of a trilogy of pieces exploring the elements. The work conjures the idea of water as a site of daunting power, ever-shifting surfaces and slow-moving change, and Fagerlund finds in this subject a perfect fit for the grandeur, intricacy and motion of his music. The score, by turns, bristles with hectic polyphony, settles to luminous repose and heaves with great glittering swells of sound. Once more, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra respond with total assurance, and the recording itself is of the utmost quality. Highly recommended.