Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Sandström
WORKS: Don Quixote; Wahlberg Variations; Emperor’s Chant; A Short Ride on a Motorbike
PERFORMER: Christian Lindberg (trombone)Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä


Despite its long history the trombone had until recently accumulated a pitifully small and mainly forgettable solo repertoire. Christian Lindberg’s achievement in rescuing the instrument from its soloistic backwater cannot be overpraised. His huge musical personality, vibrant stage presence and adventurous technique seem to encourage creative risk-taking that composers might avoid if the instrument had a back catalogue of a dozen great classical concertos. Sandström’s idea of Don Quixote on the trombone is inspired. Other instruments may sound heroic, noble, romantic or even sentimental, but can they also be clumsy, misguided, comical or bray like a donkey? The trombone is not just accompanied but combined with the orchestra in a hundred glittering ways. In the resulting cascade of musical imagery it comes as no surprise to hear that the soloist has to shout, sing, laugh and stamp. None of this nor the various multiphonic techniques seems at all incongruous in this arresting yet sympathetic picture of the most human of heroes. Lindberg’s playing radiates personality and his colourful, everyday singing voice allows us to see the world through Quixote’s eyes in a way not afforded to us by Richard Strauss. Christopher Mowat