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Bystrom, Linde, Lindroth & Nilsson
New Swedish music from STIM ( contact: Odd Sneeggen)

Another stimulating batch of new CDs from Sweden, substantiating our Evis Sammoutis' assessment that "The cultural authorities in Sweden must be very proud to have such talent within the contemporary music scene, and it must give great hopes for the future of this particular genre in that country."

Bo Linde's orchestral works, Vol 2, [Svenska Klassika SSACD 1132] has music mostly from the late '50s & '60s, gave us pleasure for the composer's expert orchestral craftsmanship, and generally unproblematic good humour, though this is not a disc to play straight through. Short lived, 1933-1970, Linde remained wedded to a crowd-pleasing tonal idiom; is the cigar in his portrait a clue to his early demise?

Sad to realise that programming this accessible music here across the North Sea in UK would probably reduce ticket sales... The BBC could surely find space to put some of Linde's music out on R3?

Interesting music for piano and organ, Thorsten Nilsson's, much of it engaging and sounding semi-improvised. But it has to be deplored that the presentation lacks essentials. In the conversational notes, the pianist and organist have a recorded chat together, finishing "Let's have some coffee".

Worth hearing though to suggest the possibilities in music colleges (Malmo's here) for organ, piano and composition departments to get together. Thorsten Nilsson's concerto for grand piano and organ opens real possibilities, even if some of the material here sounds a little desultory...

One ought not to have to go to Google to (fail to) find out the dates of the compositions; as it happens, searching ends with "The biography of this composer is currently not available. ..." [dB Productions dbCD92]

Most interesting to me, though problematic and it won't suit everyone, is the very individual Peter Lindroth's Boxed Chamber on the interesting Nosag label [Nosag 146]. Candid in his notes, his completely original saxophone quartet "a peculiar piece of music taking shape that didn't resemble anything else", followed by Gravel Music Case "musical gravel strewn through a computer" of long ago, turned and moulded into a sequence for a young contemporary music ensemble; a quirky bagatelles-like suite of short pieces. An eclectic mix of a portrait disc, there is music for string quartet, a solo for cello (written for Peter Schuback who has been featured in Musical Pointers), a piano Ricercare for Bengt Forsberg and Lute for lute in which he decided to eschew 'modern' extended techniques and "let the lute be a lute". Try it.

Britta Byström
is a young composer (I haven't been able to discover her age...) whose disc's title comes from her literary penchants for Jane Austen's "Persuasion" etc, and her CD of orchestral music can be recommended confidently [Phono Suecia PSCD 174].

"A study in scarlet" had at its starting point reading Conan Doyle, Calvino's The Baron in the trees likewise astimuli to her imagination, and taken as a whole this collection is far more "persuasive" than some of the others received. Her early diploma work has more tension and drama than some in her more mature style with its self imposed limits; e.g. the delightful percussion concerto eschews "the deep beating of membranes" in favour of vibraphone, cymbals, gongs, bells and woodblocks, handled with great delicacy.

I don't go along with her commentator's "impressionistic minimalism" label. And asingle token aria does not persuade me that Byström is a natural opera composer; it seems too tied to the separate lines of the text - but it's early days yet...

As an orchestral composer Britta Byström's is a fresh voice and this is an auspicious disc.

Peter Grahame Woolf