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Magnus Lindberg, "Souvenir (in memoriam Gérard Grisey)"

August 25, 2017

Souvenir (in memoriam Gérard Grisey)

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Magnus Lindberg

Born: June 27, 1958, Helsinki, Finland

Composed: 2010

Duration: 25 minutes

 

Souvenir (in memoriam Gérard Grisey) was commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 2010, while Lindberg was enlisted as composer-in-residence for the ensemble. The three-movement chamber work was written in memory of the composer’s colleague and friend, Gérard Grisey. In an interview with James M. Keller of the New York Philharmonic, Lindberg stated,

 

I didn’t start out planning this work to reflect my thoughts about Gérard, yet it ended up having that connection. It’s also connected to the fact that another important feature of my life was the summer I spent with Franco Donatoni in Italy, and my appreciation for his chamber symphony, titled Souvenir, from 1967. The connection of two of my teachers within this project made sense; it became a kind of “souvenir” world that led me back to the concept of the sinfonietta, the works for small orchestra. When you think about the sinfonietta, Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony stands as a reference point, but I would also say that sinfoniettas became a big thing in the 1960s and ’70s, when groups like the London Sinfonietta and the Domaines Musicales provided small-scale symphonic opportunities for composers who didn’t have the opportunity to work with full orchestras. I felt nostalgic to get back to this world of the sinfonietta, and so I have scored this work for just one instrument per part — strings and winds (with two horns, because I think of the horns as a pair) — and two percussionists. Having spent many years working with big orchestral textures, I was suddenly faced with the challenge of writing for what, in comparison, seems like an almost “naked” ensemble.

 

Magnus Lindberg, Souvenir (in memoriam Gerald Grisey)

Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, Daniel Nesta Curtis, conductor

 

Additional Resources:

- Composer Biography (Boosey & Hawkes)

- "Conjuring Up Wondrous Sounds," Anthony Tommasini (New York Times review of Souvenir's Premiere)

- A Guide To Magnus Lindberg's Music (The Guardian)

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