Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist Symphonic cycle continues

This release is the third recording of Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist symphonies by Sterling, and the fourth overall of his music. The two symphonies here both have unusual origins.

Lundquist wrote a work for the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble in 1976. The project inspired him to do something larger, using the ensemble. The result was his eighth symphony.

Symphony No. 8, “Kroumata” features the ensemble in an orchestral setting — but it’s not a concerto for percussion. Lundquist uses the percussion instruments as part of the orchestral texture, albeit in an often prominent manner.

I was most impressed with Lundquist’s orchestration. Although the Kroumata Ensemble is using standard percussion instruments, Lundquist combines them in unusual ways. At times, the sound reminded me of Harry Partch (without the microtones).

Rather, the symphony has a moderately modernist sound. The strong syncopations, jagged melodies, and thick chords resembled late 1950s monster movie scores in character. Although at a much higher quality!

The liner notes try to make the case that Lundquist’s Symphony No. 5 is a tribute to Viennese classical music. Sure, the subtitle “Die Wienerische” suggests that, but the tribute is quite subtle. Lundquist’s symphony has Haydeneque proportions, cast in a modern language.

The work is quite lyrical and uses modal harmonies and scales to great effect (though not very Viennese). I thought the style more in line with composers like William Schuman and Roy Harris — which is not bad company at all.

The recordings and performances are excellent. Lundquist conducts his Fifth Symphony with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. It’s a live recording, and the sound is quite good (and the audience quite well-behaved).

Lundquist didn’t live to premiere the Kroumata symphony. This performance features the ensemble with the Malmöaut; Symphony Orchestra. So I’m sure the composer’s intentions are well-represented.

Sterling has released six of Lundquist’s nine symphonies. Only his first and seventh symphonies remain (there is no Symphony No. 6). I look forward to that final volume.

Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 5
Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Kroumata Percussion Ensemble; B. Tommy Andersson, conductor
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist, conductor
Sterling CDM 3007 

More Recent Posts

  • Classical Interviews – Chamber Music Festival

    We spoke with David McCormick, executive director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, about this year’s virtual Chamber Music Festival. Daily releases of performances from around the world from September 15 – 24th at cvillechambermusic.org. A total of 10 performances, each accompanied with artist interviews, bios, harmonic pictures, and more. For more on the Charlottesville Chamber […]

  • New Blues News – 9/22/2020

    New Blues News – 9/22/2020 Eric Johanson – Below Sea Level (Nola Blue): “Louisiana native, guitarist, singer and songwriter Eric Johanson makes his solo Nola Blue Records debut with ‘Below Sea Level’ out September 18, 2020. A long time blues protégé of Tab Benoit, he released his first album, ‘Burn It Down’ on Whiskey Bayou […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 9/22/2020

    New Jazz Adds – 9/22/2020 JD Allen – Toys / Die Dreaming (Savant): “Giovanni Russonello in The New York Times said, “Mr. Allen has become one of today’s most exciting tenor saxophonists not by trying to spotlight his own virtuosity…but by defining a new way of playing in a group.” Allen’s current release, “Toys / […]

  • #ClassicsaDay #ClassicalBubble Week 3

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    This month’s Classics a Day theme follows a trend. In May 2020 we were sheltering in place. The theme was #ClassicalDistancing — music for unusual solo instruments best played at home. In June, social bubbles were allowed, and so the theme #ClassicalBubble called for duos. Again, for unusual instruments best played at home. This month […]