Classical CD Reviews

‘Brain Rubbish’ = ADAM GORB: Yiddish Dances; LINDBERG: Suite from Galamanta; Brain Rubbish; GERSHWIN: An American in Paris; FERRERO: Homenaje a Joaquín Sorolla – Swedish Wind Ens./Christian Lindberg – BIS

Light, entertaining and very well-played brass music – no “rubbish” here!

Published on October 26, 2012

‘Brain Rubbish’ = ADAM GORB: Yiddish Dances; LINDBERG: Suite from Galamanta; Brain Rubbish; GERSHWIN: An American in Paris; FERRERO: Homenaje a Joaquín Sorolla – Swedish Wind Ens./Christian Lindberg – BIS

‘Brain Rubbish’ = ADAM GORB: Yiddish Dances; CHRISTIAN LINDBERG: Suite from Galamanta; Brain Rubbish; GEORGE GERSHWIN: An American in Paris (arr. M. van Gils); BERNARDO ADAM FERRERO: Homenaje a Joaquín Sorolla(arr. A. Högstedt) – Swedish Wind Ens./Christian Lindberg – BIS Records CD-1958, 81:16 (Distr. by Qualiton) [5/10/12] ****:

Christian Lindberg has been known for a long time as one of the world’s greatest trombone virtuosos. For the past several years he has been making a name as a composer-conductor and to great success. This a very fun, entertaining disc of some fine wind music proves what a versatile artist he is!

First, the really attention-getting title is that of one of two pieces on this disc by Lindberg, himself. Brain Rubbish is a piece commissioned by the Spanish Brass and was written at the same time as Lindberg was finishing a very big and serious work for the Chicago Symphony. Brain Rubbish, according to the composer’s notes is a bit of a collection of ideas and motifs that he had been carrying around as ideas for both the Chicago commission as well as his Concerto for Chamber Orchestra. As Lindberg mentions, many of these ideas would have been “nothing but rubbish thrown in the bin” were it not for forcing himself to get into the Spanish Brass commission. This buoyant, technically challenging and exciting work for fifteen brass players was re-orchestrated into the larger version heard on this recording (done so for the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra.)

Lindberg’s other work heard here, Suite from Galamanta, is taken from his score to a “arte commedia”, Dawn from Galamanta; a theatre work for Share Music Sweden which gives disabled people a chance to produce and perform music and theatre works. This is a very interesting and “theatrical” piece that clearly has an emotional and choreographic tone. It is easy to envision acting and dancing behind this big, rather “sound track”-sounding score. From what I have heard, Christian Lindberg is a very talented composer and conductor and is also a very personable man with a great sense of humor. These works are great additions to the wind ensemble repertoire.

The work that begins this set, Yiddish Dances, by Adam Gorb is self-explanatory. Written in 1998 for the 60th birthday of brass music pioneer Timothy Reynish, this is a five-movement work based on traditional Klezmer dance forms. Music of the Yiddish culture has such a defining and recognizable “sound” that new works have to really be attention getting to offer something new. Gorb’s Yiddish Dances are quite artfully orchestrated and arranged to be delicate one minute; raucous the next. This is great fun to listen to and challenging for the players as well!

The wind ensemble arrangement of Gershwin’s  An American in Paris is equally entertaining, of course. The question for this recording of a very familiar score would be the arrangement and the pacing compared to the many well known renditions of the original. Lindberg’s pacing throughout is a little on the leisurely side but provides a nice, clean and “unrushed” sound unlike what some orchestral recordings turn out to be. Mari van Gils’ arrangement is well done and maintains all the well known wind solos and beefy brass parts while making judicious use of the clarinets and flutes in lieu of strings.

Bernardo Adam Ferrero is a new name for me. This Spanish composer has written a number of works performed worldwide but remains a bit of an unknown. Homenaje a Joaquín Sorolla is based on four paintings by the artist in the title. The paintings, respectfully, depict seaside Spanish scenes, a sacred procession and a battle from the Spanish resistance to Napoleon. The arrangement by Anders Högstedt, a member of the Swedish Wind Ensemble, is well done and makes for a very engaging and dramatic piece of wind music.

This is a very nice, enjoyable album of somewhat unusual wind ensemble works, played very well by the Swedish Wind Ensemble. Clearly the ensemble and the music matters a great deal to Lindberg, a native Swede. I remain a big fan of Christian and all he does. I suspect this collection would make a very good addition to fans of wind ensemble music as well as for people who only know Christian Lindberg as a wonderful trombonist. He is that; but so much more.

—Daniel Coombs




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