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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Bo Linde is little known outside Sweden and he was only discovered there in the last couple of decades or so, but he was a composer of great talent. In the Sweden of the 1950s and ’60s, when serial and post-serial music was all the rage, Bo Linde was left out in the cold. Linde rather disappeared from view until his Violin Concerto was recorded in 1972 by Karl-Ove Mannberg and the Gävle orchestra, and there was a subsequent recording in 1993 from Ulf Wallin and the Norrköping orchestra on BIS. Make no mistake this concerto, first performed in 1958, is a work of quite striking beauty and full of a gentle melancholy. Those who respond to the Walton, Szymanowski, Britten (or the Prokofiev D major) concertos will feel very much at home here. Linde’s craftsmanship is thoroughly assured, the invention warm and lyrical, and the writing for the orchestra highly imaginative and luminous. Its final touching coda is altogether magical. The young Tokyo-born, Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo is the elegant and expressive soloist and the orchestral playing is first class. The somewhat later Cello Concerto is a somewhat darker but no less intense piece, with a powerful Lento finale. True, there is a hint of Shostakovich in the middle movement, but Linde by this stage was very much his own man. This music has real nobility and a natural eloquence, and it inspires a totally committed performance from Maria Kliegel and the orchestra, from who Petter Sundkvist draws an excellent response. The recording is of demonstration standard, lifelike and with a truthful perspective between soloist and orchestra. This music deserves the widest recognition and the strongest recommendation.




Henry Fogel
Fanfare, November 2007

Bo Linde’s two conservative, audience-friendly 20th-century Swedish concertos deserve more exposure than they have gotten to date, and perhaps this recording—particularly Karen Gomyo’s deeply committed performance of the wonderful Violin Concerto, will help change that.

To read the complete review, please visit Fanfare online.



Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, January 2007

It's a cliche, but in this case, also true: the suicide of Bo Linde (1933-1970) at the age of37 shocked the world of Swedish classical music. He was considered the most promising composer of his generation by many of his compatriots, and the most likely to make a mark on the international front. Linde was a member of a young composer's group frequently referred to as "50-talisterna," or "belonging to the 1950s," whose exemplars were emotionally expressive composers that extended but did not abandon tonality. These included nationalists, such as Larsson (also Linde's teacher), and more prominent figures like Shostakovich and Britten.

The composer was undeniably precocious, submitting his Piano Concerto No. 1 as part of his application for admission to Stockholm's Academy of Music. Musical maturity also arrived early, so that the Violin Concerto of 1957 already displays an easy confidence, emotive power, and consistency of inspiration at a very high level. Linde's musical language is conservative but recognizably of the 20th century. The Violin Concerto recalls Barber and Prokofiev in general style, though Linde was more subtle in his neo-Romanticism than the former and less satirical than the latter. (Shostakovich comes to the fore in the Cello Concerto, though there is no sense in either work of Linde staking out part of the sound world of another composer as his own.) Movements in both con­certos break into multiple smaller expressive units, sometimes enclosing entire movements within themselves, and linked through the understated reuse of transformed themes.

Sundkvist leads a rhythmically taut pair of performances whose clarity helps bring out the nuances of Linde's orchestral thought. The relatively small (52 members) Gavle SO delivers both discipline and refinement. Gomyo's reading of the Violin Concerto is more assertive and varied in character than the one I've possessed for years, featuring Karl-Ove Manneberg under Rainer Miedel's direction: a mercurial, well-judged interpretation. Maria Kliegel is expansive and robust in the Cello Concerto, yet misses nothing of the lyrical warmth in the work's final movement.

Sound quality is good, with just enough plush to add bloom to the instruments, and not enough to smear the textures. Good liner notes accompany this release, and I only wish that Naxos had put the remaining time on this CD to use-perhaps with a recording of Linde's Sinfonia. Regardless, this is an excellent album by an unjustly neglected 20th-century master, well worth the purchase.



D Moore
American Record Guide, August 2006

Bo Linde (1933-70) was a Swedish composer.  His works are traditional in the best sense: they have inspired performers to program them instead of returning to the classics once more.  They are gratifying to performers, enabling them to make the kind of soloistic gestures they love in a fresh context.  Both the violin and cello concertos have this quality of performer as well as audience appeal, yet they are clearly 20th Century pieces, if more stylistically akin to the 30s or 40s than to 1958 and 1964, when they were actually written.  It is good to know that not everyone decided to go 12-tone after WW II.  Actually, there is a certain ruminative and relaxed character to Linde’s music that is more characteristic of music of today than of the period he lived in.  Both concertos end with long slow movements characteristic of our new romanticism.  It is a pity Linde died so young, or he might have become a mainstay of today’s compositional style.  The performances here are lovely.



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, August 2006

These two fine concertos deserve to be better known. They belong to that splendid school of 20th-century neo-classicism that gave us similar works by Walton, Barber, Britten, Prokofiev, and their kindred spirits. Both works feature attractive, tuneful ideas spiked with enough dissonance to keep things interesting, but without a single gratuitously harsh moment. The Violin Concerto has two large movements full of contrasting ideas, but holds together quite well despite its episodic construction. In contrast, the Cello Concerto's moderate/fast/slow sequence brings to mind Walton's contribution to the medium. Both works are very well performed. Maria Kliegel, always reliable in her work for Naxos, plays the music with admirable confidence, while violinist Karen Gomyo takes her concerto's lyricism and virtuosity easily in stride. The orchestra plays well, and Petter Sundkvist conducts with gusto. An excellent disc all around.



Robert Layton
International Record Review, May 2006

Bo Linde is little known outside Sweden and discovered there only in the last couple of decades or so, but he was a composer of great talent.  He was born in Gävle in 1933, the port north of Uppsala, and his career never took him very far from it.  Gävle has an active musical life and can boast a good concert-hall and a decent orchestra.  In the Sweden of the 1950s and 1960s, when serial and post-serial music was all the rage, Linde was left out in the cold.  I heard him play his Piano Trio in Uppsala in 1953 when he was only 19, a lean young man who looked a bit like Shostakovich at that age.  Alas, youth is a harsch judge and I thought it was far too heavily indebted to Shostakovich’s Op. 67.  I dare say it is much finer than I thought then.  He rather disappeared from view until his Violin Concerto was recorded in 1972 by Karl-Ove Mannberg and the Gävle Orchestra under Rainer Miedel (HMV E 055 34649).  There was also a subsequent recording in 1993 from Ulf Wallin and the Norrköping orchestra under Jun’ichi Hirokami (BIS CD621)

Make no mistake; the Violin concerto, first performed in 1958, is a work of quite striking beauty, and full of a gentle melancholy that strikes one as more Mediterranean than thoroughly assure, the invention warm and lyrical, and the writing for the orchestra wonderfully imaginative and luminous.  Its touching coda is quite magical.  The young Tokyo-born Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo is the elegant and expressive soloist and the orchestral playing is first-class.

The somewhat later Cello Concerto was written for Guido Vecchi, a wonderful player and first cello for the Gothernburg Orchestra, who premiered it in 1965.  It is a somewhat darker but no less intense piece, with a powerful Lento finale.  True, there is a hint of Shostakovich in the middle movement, but Linde is very much his own man.  This music has real nobility and a natural eloquence, and it inspires a totally committed performance from Maria Kliegel and the orchestra, from Petter Sundkvist draws an excellent response. Like the Violin concerto it is beautifully laid out for the orchestra. I must say that encountering the Cello Concerto was a joy- and I envy those coming to the Violin Concerto for the first time.

The recording is of demonstration standard, lifelike and with a truthful perspective between soloists and orchestra. This music deserves the widest dissemination and this disc the strongest recommendation.



Julian Haylock
The Strad, May 2006

Those readers with sensibilities attuned to the post-Romantic idioms of Prokofiev, Bartok and Walton should waste no time in investigating Bo Linde's sole violin concerto. Written for and dedicated to Josef Grunfarb in 1957, it's a remarkably assured and idiomatically written piece - especially from someone who didn't even play the violin. Like Nielsen's concerto, it is struc­tured in two movements that subdivide into smaller units, including a jaunty scherzo of exceptional power and forward momentum. Karen Gomyo, a former student of the Juilliard School and Indiana University, was only 22 when she made this recording, yet she already sounds like a seasoned artist. Not only does she produce a richly upholstered sound of Perlman-like depth and penetration, but she plays with a passionate intensity and impregnable technical command that arrests the attention from beginning to end. Played like this, one cannot help but wonder why the Linde Concerto isn't a regular concert item.

Maria Kliegel, Naxos's renowned house cellist, sounds no less captivated by the Cello Concerto, composed during the autumn of 1964 for Guido Vecchi, then the principal cellist of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Although written at a similarly high expressive voltage, the Cello Concerto is altogether darker, suggesting an affinity with Britten (by way of Mahler), Hindemith and, most especially, Shostakovich. Although stylistically more challenging than the Violin Concerto, it is also more intensely personal, and Kliegel rises to the occasion magnificently, playing with a tigerish spontaneity remi­niscent of the young Du Pre. Formidable accompaniments under Petter Sundkvist and high-impact engineering round out a musically exhilarating release



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, March 2006

Thanks again Naxos for once more championing the cause of some music that deserves a much wider audience. The two concertos presented here bear out the fact that Swedish composer Bo Linde (1933-1970) has languished in obscurity far too long. The one for violin is quite simply among the most gorgeous pieces of modern, Scandinavian music you could ever hope to hear. It's in two movements, but throughout the whole work the composer contrasts rhapsodic passages of commanding, melodic beauty with virtuosic, agitato ones to great effect. It shows that Linde, unlike his teacher Lars-Erik Larsson, was a master of extended symphonic forms; but, still there's an overall simplicity, transparency and directness that's reminiscent of Larsson. The cello concerto was reportedly the composer's favorite work and, if we can believe the album notes, had the distinction of being written over the telephone during hours of calls between Bo and the soloist to whom it was dedicated. Be that as it may, it's in the traditional three movements and much more progressive than the previous piece. There's a seriousness of purpose and intensity present that will remind you of the concertos by Sir William Walton and Dmitri Shostakovich for the same instrument. Hearing this disc one cannot help being saddened to learn that the composer died in his prime at the early age of thirty-seven. Let's just hope that Naxos will make more of his music available to us; but, in the meantime make sure you explore that of his fellow countryman Kurt Atterberg.



Scott Cantrell
The Dallas Morning News, February 2006

LYRIC MODERNISM: Linde's 1957 Violin Concerto could almost pass for Samuel Barber's second essay in the medium. Beautifully written for both violin and orchestra, it balances soaring lyricism and drama. The Cello Concerto was penned a decade later and is a little more astringent, if still open-hearted. One hears the influence of two composers Linde particularly admired, Britten and Shostakovich, and maybe a little of Hindemith. Both pieces certainly whet the appetite for Linde's other orchestra works: two symphonies, a concerto for orchestra and two piano concertos.

BOTTOM LINE: Marvelous music, beautifully mingling intellect and sensual pleasure. And superb performances by violinist Karen Gomyo, cellist Maria Kliegel, conductor Petter Sundkvist and the orchestra of Linde's own hometown. Highly recommended.






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8:28:58 PM, 30 July 2015
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