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David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, December 2013

When was the last time a composer in residence at a major orchestra produced three first-rate pieces? Here is your answer. Magnus Lindberg is unquestionably one of our very greatest living composers, and he can be heard here at the top of his form.

The work [Piano Concerto No. 2] has sufficient individuality just being what it is: a great piece of music, superbly played by Yefim Bronfman and, as with all these works, magnificently conducted by Alan Gilbert at the helm of the always virtuosic New York Philharmonic.

The engineering is also amazingly lifelike and the live audience more than usually quiet coming from this source. If you care at all about the best contemporary music, you will be delighted to own this remarkable disc. © 2013 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, October 2013

…this is an exciting, almost nonstop display of sheer virtuosity for both the pianist and the orchestra. It’s not entirely easy music to listen to, having the usual thundering dissonances associated with new music, but there are also traditional virtuoso flourishes at the keyboard and even identifiable themes and rich harmonies…

The partnership between the New York Philharmonic and Dacapo, which began with an exciting version of Nielsen’s Second and Third Symphonies, seems likely to produce some really treasurable recordings if the current one is any indication. The performances are brilliant throughout—Bronfman is a wonder of stamina and control—and the live recordings…are both bright and sumptuous. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Bruce Hodges
The Juilliard Journal Online, October 2013

In the Piano Concerto No 2 (2011–12), Yefim Bronfman…alternates between introspection and explosive color…giving heroic effort to Lindberg’s demanding piano fireworks. Huge chords herald the concerto’s end as the orchestra sweeps in for a brilliant conclusion. Throughout, Gilbert elicits a powerful response from the players; the chemistry is palpable. 

Exultant brass and scurrying strings open Al largo (2009–10), and listeners will continue to marvel at Lindberg’s orchestration skills, whose penchant for lushness and detail are reminiscent of Ravel. Gilbert brings clarity and suppleness to what might turn impenetrable in other hands. His sense of urgency, coupled with the expert response from the orchestra—the versatile percussion section in particular—makes the score pulse with life. © 2013 The Juilliard Journal Online Read complete review



Christina Petrowska Quilico
The WholeNote, September 2013

…this CD was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic under the leadership of music director Alan Gilbert. You couldn’t ask for a better orchestra or performances. The New York Philharmonic and Israeli/American pianist Yefim Bronfman are both incredible virtuosos who can play anything and make it sound effortless.

EXPO…is a stunning opener for the CD and it is no surprise that [it] has received numerous performances.

Yefim Bronfman does not disappoint [in the Piano Concerto No 2]. He has the skill and energy to make scales, arpeggios and fast repeated notes sing and flow…I applaud the work and performance. This should become a standard in piano concerto repertoire.

The New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert showcase the horns in the opening fanfares [of the Al largo] with energy but also highlight the lyrical strings with their lush intensity. It is an extraordinary mix of fresh chamber music and Mahler-like symphonic grandeur. These are excellent performances from all the musicians and conductor. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review



Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, September 2013

The largest work is the Second Piano Concerto…its three continuous movements each embodying elements of dynamism and stasis, development and reprise during their course. Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto is the acknowledged influence behind its main themes—notably the hymn-like dialogue between soloist and orchestra, and the propulsive march-like passage—yet these have been artfully subsumed into an expansive and panoramic musical landscape that culminates in a cadenza which sounds tailor-made for the barnstorming virtuosity of Yefim Bronfman. Alan Gilbert secures an opulent and impressively unanimous response from the New York Philharmonic, recorded to advantage in the frequently recalcitrant acoustic of Avery Fisher Hall, while the booklet note provides an insightful overview of Lindberg’s compositional idiom—which, it might be added, has never sounded so overtly ‘listener friendly’ as here. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Mark Sealey
Classical Net, July 2013

The openness, airy, upward-seeking orchestral qualities of Finnish composer, Magnus Lindberg…are well to the fore in this excellent CD on Da Capo containing three major orchestral works with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under…Alan Gilbert, with Yefim Bronfman soloist in Lindberg’s Second Piano Concerto.

The orchestra stands four square behind the composer’s intentions. They understand his pre-occupations, support his intentions, and are familiar with his large-scale idiom. Indeed they are also highly suited to the expansiveness and breadth of Lindberg’s musical conceptions. Their own technique aids what many will find a stimulating…hour’s music.

Admirers and collectors of Lindberg’s varying and intriguing larger scale works will want to get this release… © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review



Gwyn Parry-Jones
MusicWeb International, July 2013

As you listen, you become more and more aware of how cunningly shaped [Linberg’s] music is, following definite emotional paths, and evolving, as it were, organically. The performance [of Expo] by the NYPO in the première, recorded here, is quite wonderful, reminding us what a very great ensemble this is.

They are matched by the astonishing pianism of Bronfman in the concerto. There are also numerous specific references to the French composer’s themes, rhythmic patterns and textures that are both fascinating and maddeningly elusive. It is a fine and often thrilling work, and Bronfman’s performance…is breathtakingly assured.

This is an exciting CD, brilliantly performed and recorded; as an introduction to one of the most approachable and individual voices in contemporary music, it could hardly be bettered. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, June 2013

…we have this spectacular recording of music of Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg…The Piano Concerto No 2…is a powerful work of massive substance…both soloist and orchestra are very active. Bronfman plays it spectacularly…Al largo is a vast symphonic picture including a number of brilliant fanfares. All of this music is played spectacularly by the NYP, and the audio is terrific…Don’t miss this exciting recording! © 2013 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2013

Gilbert, the NY Philharmonic and piano virtuoso Yefim Bronfam give us a lingering, unstinting look at the three works and everybody comes out a winner. Composer, artists, producers-engineers and listeners.

The Second Piano Concerto sounds pretty monumental. The orchestra jousts with Bronfam, contrasts him, completes him in masterful ways. Lindberg has orchestrational mastery in him and it comes out continually in this music.

The concerto makes for essential listening. “Expo” and “Al Largo” serve as excellent end pieces in the program.

Bronfam, the New York Philharmonic under Gilbert, and the audio production team all do a terrific job getting this music into our hearts. You do not want to miss this if you want to know what a modern piano concerto of this decade can do for you! © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




MaestroSteve
Cinemusical, June 2013

Of the three works, the piano concerto may hold the greatest interest and it will be interesting to see what future performers will tackle the work in the coming years. It is certainly the strongest of the pieces here. Bronfman’s rather pounding style does help cut through the texture and it will be interesting to hear other interpretations to see of more could be made of the lyrical aspects of the work, but his energy certainly adds a perfect level of bravura excitement necessary for introducing the piece to a new audience. He certainly has mastered the many technical difficulties the work presents and performs with great panache. The orchestra sounds great here…the hall helps as well lending a crisp clarity captured here. © 2013 Cinemusical Read complete review



Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York), May 2013

EXPO…tingles with a sense of anticipation, while Al largo…is suffused with breathless wonder. But the real treat here is Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, thanks to yet another brilliant creative partner: Yefim Bronfman wrestles a sensationally virtuosic solo part into submission with playing as musically acute and expressive as it is athletic.

These are live recordings, which means that the audience can be heard to erupt into a chorus of bravos the moment the concerto’s last chord sounds, and it’s hard to imagine a crowd that wouldn’t do the same. It’s clear that Lindberg’s Second, a concerto in the grand tradition of the form, is a potent and exhilarating addition to the repertoire, and Bronfman’s thunderous account is irresistibly compelling. © 2013 WQXR (New York) Read complete review




Norman Lebrecht
La Scena Musicale, May 2013

The Swedish composer in residence at the New York Philharmonic presents three large works in shimmering, rich textures that remind me of an ocean liner seen from afar. The filling in this convoy is a big-boned piano concerto for Yefim Bronfman. Every orchestra should have a resident like Lindberg. © 2013 La Scena Musicale



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

The Finnish-born Magnus Lindberg has become one of the most successful and fashionable composers born in the second half of the 20th century. Generally working in the world of tonality, and showing his points of inspiration by quotations from other composers, the disc is replete with easily accessible music often painted in primary colours. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in 2009, Expo is a short orchestral showpiece that reflects the pleasing appointment of Alan Gilbert as the Philharmonic’s new Music Director. Lindberg had already written a wide range of symphonic music including five concertos, the second, for piano, being completed in 2012. While in some ways it continues in the mode of the Romantic concertos, it contrasts that style when frequently placing the soloist as a lone voice against a very differing orchestral backdrop. Neither is it, in the accepted sense, a virtuoso score, but it is exceedingly difficult and calls for sheer stamina in its highly charged writing. In the conventional three movements, it does not contain the usual moment of calm in the second, while the finale is akin to the classical Rondo. Certainly requiring all the skill of the great pianist, Yefim Bronfman, the score gives the soloist hardly any physical respite. Al Largo is translated by the composer as being ‘offshore’, the work readily depicting the unremitting force of the sea, its depth and feeling of impenetrable vastness. In content it is mainly hyperactive and obviously placing huge demands on the musicians. At times I find Lindberg’s music coming very close to a Hollywood film backdrop, particularly in the moments of tranquility. Taken from concert performances over the past four years, the sound is quite spectacular… © David’s Review Corner






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