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Christian LINDBERG
(b 1958)
Los Bandidos a 1'51"
(1839 - 1881)
Pictures from an Exhibition ab 32'53"
(1685 - 1750)
Sonata in G Minor. BWV 1029 b. 11'30"
(1810 - 1856)
Fantasie-Stücke. Op 73 a 9'46"
(1882 - 1971)
Extracts from "L'Oiseau de feu" *a 11'19"
(* Guido Agosti's piano transcription used for this arrangement)
Christian Lindberg (trombonea - Alto tromboneb ) Roland Pöntinen (piano)
Recorded Sept 1998 in Danderyd, Sweden. DDD BIS CD-988 [69'05"]

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Subtitled "The criminal trombone No 2 ½" this is another release by two Swedish musicians, Christian Lindberg and Roland Pöntien. Previously issues by the pair have included "The Criminal Trombone" featuring 'stolen works' with Lindberg as 'defendant' and Pöntinen as 'accomplice'. This CD continues in a similar vein with comic illustrations and a spoof introduction.

In these days of near saturation in the CD market the need to stand out and catch the attention of the buying public is obviously not easy. Artists, or their agents, take different routes and try different things. The current trend in classical music seems to want performers to be pre-pubescent or to dress as skimpily as possible - practices which may help to hide limitations elsewhere. In the case of the two performers on this recording they have absolutely no need to try anything in the least gimmicky - their skills should sell records by the bucket-full. They just need to convince that a coupling of trombone and piano will hold the interest for a full CD. After all, how many other duos of this instrumental combination do you know?

Lindberg is a trombone virtuoso - one of the best around. He has a phenomenal technique and seemingly tremendous lips. (Careful now, I don't fancy him). On this CD he employs two instruments ( one an alto ) and 5 mouthpieces. With a splendid partner such as Pöntinen their collaboration seems well-nigh perfect. The matter of finding material is clearly not a problem as the arrangements on the disc are by Lindberg himself.

This is a studio recording so one assumes that breaks were made, but a complete version of Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition, almost 33 minutes of it, is a tremendous challenge for a brass player, (does he do a live performance of this material, one wonders?) Lindberg seemed to sail through it without any problems. His rich, warm tone was even throughout the full register, with breath enough to carry him through the longest phrases. (The recording is precise enough to allow some breathing to be heard).

Outstanding in Pictures were the portrayal of the Unhatched Chicks, the rapid ostinato passage in Samuel Goldenberg, a ferociously fast Limoges and a richly resonant Promenade and Great Gate of Kiev with a telling piano contribution. Elsewhere on the disc the arrangement of Bach's Sonata BWV 1029 (written for viola de gamba ) includes an Adagio with a lingering long phrased melody, Schumann's Fantasie-Stücke (written for clarinet and piano) with some delightful piano playing in an arrangement that retained much of the original of this work of changing moods. The three final extracts from an arrangement of Firebird allowed Christian Lindberg to dazzle again. It is remarkable how the ear tricks the brain into believing more of the score is being heard than is reality.

A recording that is different in many ways. I enjoyed it and recommend it highly.


Harry Downey


Harry Downey

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