ROLF MARTINSSON (b.1956): for Orchestra: Opening Sounds, Op. 94, Tour de force, Op. 95, for Soprano and Orchestra: Ich denke Dein…, Op. 100, Into Eternity, Op. 103.
Catalogue Number: 08V054
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Apparently, Martinsson started out writing in a "challenging contemporary style", whatever that might mean, though he did study with Ferneyhough ... None of that here. At some point around the turn of the century he was transformed into a full-blown neo-Romantic with an apparent nostalgia for the rich emotional expressiveness and saturated color palette of the late 19th century. These works are more recent than those on the splendid 06T065, and if anything the intervening years seem to have led Martinsson even further down this path. The two orchestral pieces are concert openers. Opening Sounds is a rush of exciting, propulsive energy, not unrelated to the Danse infernale from L'oiseau de feu, with perhaps a touch of Hollywood about it. The sumptuous orchestral song cycle "I Think of You..." sets passionate love poems by Goethe, Rilke and Eichendorff, in a lush Romantic style best described as a cross between Richard Strauss and a Broadway musical, tending more consistently toward the former than the latter (there seems to be an acknowledgement of the Strauss influence in the final song). That final number, Eichendorff's "Mondnacht" is ravishingly beautiful. Tour de force is certainly that; beginning with thunderclaps, the ten-minute curtain-raiser is a gradual accumulation of energy, texture and momentum. From the tenebrous depths of the orchestra it increases in density, orchestral timbres and tempo, finally approaching the explosive conclusion with pounding rhythmic propulsion. It is up to the listener to decide which of the work's apparent references to similarly spectacular 20th-century models - one in particular - are deliberate and which are odd coincidences. Fully the first half of Into Eternity is a surging, powerful orchestral tone poem, seemingly with its own dramatic narrative of unbridled passions played out against sweeping landscapes. The music comes to an expectant standstill, and resumes in gorgeous settings of two breathlessly ecstatic poems by Karin Boye, preceded and linked by a soaring vocalise. German, Swedish-English texts. Lisa Larsson (soprano), Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mägi.