WORKS: Mutanza; Notturno – Canto; Motus-colores; Riter
PERFORMER: Norrköping SO/Lü Jia
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1200
After the Second World War, a generation of young Nordic composers found themselves confronted with post-war central European modernism. Though in general they took to it more quickly than contemporary British and American composers, there is still often a sense of trying to feel comfortable in clothes that don’t quite fit. Ingvar Lidholm was the first Swede to visit the Darmstadt summer school for new music, source of so much theorising and ideological contention and so little enduring music. The works on this disc – all written between 1958 and 1963 – reveal Lidholm trying to make sense of that experience. The results are variable, and never entirely successful.
In parts of Notturno – Canto there’s a suave, dreamlike fantasy that distantly echoes Lutosawski; the spikier ballet Riter also has its darkly atmospheric moments, plus an intermittent rhythmic vitality often lacking in the other pieces. But too much of the rest of this is modernism by numbers; and there are times where Lidholm seems content just to imitate, as in the unmistakably Webern-derived climax to the ‘Procession’ movement from Riter. The performances sound authoritative – though could a more convincing case be made for some of this music? It’s hard to tell. Excellent recordings, though – lucid and sumptuous in tone. Stephen Johnson