Bo Linde – Orchestral Works, Volume 1

0 of 5 stars

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op.18
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op.29

Karen Gomyo (violin)

Maria Kliegel (cello)

Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Petter Sundkvist

Recorded March 2003 (Violin Concerto) and April 2004 in Gevaliasalen, Gävle, Sweden

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: December 2007
Duration: 56 minutes



Bo Linde (1933-1970) was precociously gifted, not least as a fine pianist, and offered a concerto for his instrument in order to gain entry to the Academy of Music in Stockholm where he studied in Lars Erik Larsson’s composition class.

This first volume of Linde’s orchestral works couples concertos for string instruments. The two-movement Violin Concerto (1957) begins with a plaintive idea sounded on woodwinds before the violin ushers in a rhapsodic, rather nostalgic melody – the opening of Walton’s Violin Concerto comes to mind. Such rhapsodising is interrupted by a cadenza that continues the mood and then increases in propulsion to herald a scherzando section notable for its galumphing rhythms and witty bonhomie. This is agreeable music, written with innate skill, warmly expressive and skittish. The second movement begins purposefully and, as in the first movement, drifts off into reverie – however lovely, one feels a lack of direction, yet a powerful climax seems to tie loose ends together and the work end in subdued and melancholy fashion, albeit Linde remains always-inviting of the listener.

This is music that is consistently beguiling but never obvious, and transparently orchestrated. Certainly admirers of Walton’s concerto – and Samuel Barber’s – will find Linde’s example a very attractive proposition.

The Cello Concerto (1965) is a darker work – quite intense and certainly deeply heartfelt and sometimes suggesting Shostakovich in its lonely thoughts. In three movements, the first is actually quite varied in mood and tempo – rather too much, maybe – but as the movement progresses, the listener becomes aware of Linde’s considerable developmental and contrapuntal skill. The short second movement scurries like a scared cat, gathering fervour in its wake, the cellist kept very busy but with no cost to tone and long-held notes. The finale is like a retreat to a tranquil island; there is a need to recuperate with gentle, lapping waters to calm the ravaged soul, the cello reflecting in a sustained rather shell-shocked song. Contented and ecstatic, Linde’s Cello Concerto – a work that requires a few listens in order to get under its skin (the Violin Concerto is not so secretive) – demands to be better known.

The performances are excellent, the Gävle Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1912) fully attuned to Linde’s demands and sympathetically conducted by Petter Sundkvist. Both soloists give all of themselves in technically challenging music that offers much to the listener. The recordings, a little bright perhaps, are gratifyingly lucid, Karen Gomyo very well balanced and Maria Kliegel sometimes seeming just a little too distant, but no more so than in a concert.

All in all, a very recommendable release.

  • Swedish Society
  • This recording is also available, in CD-only format, on Naxos 8.557855

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