EMMY LINDSTRÖM (b.1984): Clarinet Concerto No. 1 “At the Hills of Hampstead Heath”, Song About Em, W.A. MOZART (1756-1791): Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622.

Catalogue Number: 03W075

Label: Swedish Society

Reference: SCD 1177

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Lindström's concerto is an immensely enjoyable neo-romantic, tonal specimen with abundant good humour, Romantic warmth, and engaging energy. Lindström and Jonason are married with children and cats, and apparently share an enthusiasm for English eccentricity, including Monty Python and, pertinently to this concerto, the long-running science fiction TV series "Doctor Who", and that peculiarly English geographical folly, Hampstead Heath, a large park of multifarious uses and extraordinary history which has existed in North London for a thousand years. The concerto, aside from its form and content as a traditional virtuoso concerto in three movements, is a kind of musical portrait of or soundtrack to The Heath, with its famous kite-flying hill, its (sometimes) tranquil naturescapes and panoramic views of London, and its bustle of activity of all kinds (and flocks of noisy green parakeets). Also included are multiple references to the Doctor Who theme music and other less instantly recognisable themes from the series. The first movement is lively and buoyant, and sneaks in the first Doctor Who reference, sufficiently fleeting that an uninitiated audience member might be brought up with a start: "Hey, that sounded like ...!" The second is a songlike idyll, evocative of warm spring evenings and hawthorn blossom-scented air. For any poor souls who are not card-carrying Whovians (what's wrong with you?) "A big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff" is a recurring phrase used to describe time in the Doctor Who universe, especially prominent in the episodes featuring the 10th and 11th incarnations of The Doctor. The finale begins as a bubbly galop, has a jazzy episode, and then starts time-travelling all over the place before introducing the Doctor Who title theme in the course of an extended cadenza - quite unequivocally this time - Jonason producing some remarkable extended timbres along the way, before an enthusiastic coda rounds out the work. Song About Em was written for Jonason as an encore for the Mozart, and inhabits a similar soulful world to Mozart's Adagio, while expressing the tenderness that Em(my) and Em(il) feel for each other, in a warm, slightly melancholy modally tinged tonal idiom related to traditional Swedish choral singing. In case anybody resents being compelled to buy standard repertoire in order to enjoy Lindström's pieces, it is worth noting that Jonason provides a three-minute post-minimal cadenza for everybody’s favourite Mozart Adagio in addition to many felicitous - and "normal" - aspects of his elegantly crafted performance. Emil Jonason (clarinet), Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra; Stefan Solyom.


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