- Aura, in memoriam Witold Lutoslawski, for orchestra
- Engine, for orchestra
With its firm footing in the postwar avant-garde tradition, Magnus Lindberg's music might remind you of the dizzying contrapuntal flurries of György Ligeti or the striking orchestration of Luciano Berio; his work has been championed by Pierre Boulez, and he dedicated Aura to the memory of Witold Lutoslawski. But Lindberg, born in 1958, has sufficient distance from the old school to pick and choose his influences, treating them as inspiration rather than doctrine. In a sense, this Finnish composer has done for the European avant-garde what John Adams did for American minimalism, weaving radical innovations back into the fabric of the classical (and especially the orchestral) tradition, expanding and enriching it at the same time. Lindberg has by no means rejected the influence of the greatest Finn of all, Jean Sibelius, whose distinctively barren Nordic landscapes can sometimes be heard hovering at a distance behind this music. Most striking in Lindberg's work -- both in the symphony-like Aura (1994) and the shorter chamber orchestra composition Engine (1996) -- are the consistently engaging musical layers he creates on top of a larger and precisely calculated architecture. Lively and colorfully orchestrated, Lindberg's work has a strong forward thrust that charges both time and space with anxious energy and drama. Conductor Oliver Knussen lends his composer's ear to meticulously detailed dissections of these two scores, revealing them as powerful statements from a bold, fresh, and ingenious musical voice.