SEBASTIAN FAGERLUND (b.1972): Violin Concerto "Darkness in Light", Ignite for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 04Q088
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Intense rhythmic drive is a fundamental characteristic of Fagerlund's distinctive and original style. In fact, much of his music occupies the opposing poles of unrelentingly energetic perpetuum mobile and utter stasis, with very little in between. When the orchestra is essentially used as a vast pitched percussion section, the material has a strongly tonal feel to it, inasmuch as harmony is important at all; the chord progressions and melodies also have a strongly tonal flavor to them, sometimes approaching the long-breathed, wide-spanning consonance of the New Spirituality composers. The exhilarating thrust of the fast movements, suggesting a hyperactive ADHD grandchild of Le Sacre, owes more to minimalism of the other kind, and the composer frequently adds an element of spatial dynamism by hocketing phrases all over the orchestra. Ignite is a whirling vortex of orchestral texture with a still center; the work is in a sort of spiral structure, with relentlessly active outer movements and linking interludes in which the persistent rhythmic pulse becomes more moderate but menacingly ominous, while the long slow movement is a vast, immobile eye at the center of the storm. The concerto suggests not so much a journey from darkness into light as the constant tension of the opposition between the two, as the soloist seems to interact with the incessant hectic motion of machines within machines, strenuously exerting the extremes of virtuosity in order not to be overwhelmed by the tumult. The central slow movement is full of ambiguous sounds and textures, even extending to some desolate microintervallic inflections, like the shocked reverberations of the movement's massive climax, before the momentum is resumed in the abrasive interchanges between soloist and orchestra of the rhythmically unstable, far from triumphant finale with its inconclusive, enigmatic epilogue. Pekka Kuusisto (violin), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hannu Lintu.