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Review; FROM THE NEW WORLD RLPO/Christian Lindberg.

Byline: Catherine Jones

THE RLPO's "artists in residence" season continues with the return of Swedish triple threat Christian Lindberg who proved such a hit when he appeared with the orchestra two years ago.

And if this opening concert of six - yes, six - is anything to go by, it's going to be an explosive fortnight on Liverpool's classical music front.

The trombonist/conductor/ composer is a Scandinavian whirlwind of energy in skintight trousers and series of satin shirts - sporting no fewer than three in one evening, graded from mauve to black.

But it's not just the shirts that make a powerful impact.

The programme for this Thursday night concert was a thundering trio of works which also had common musical connections - energy, force, expansiveness and excitement, and, despite the disparate nationalities of their composers, a distinctly American feel.

While Lindberg was ostensibly on conducting duties, the programme also included his 2012 concertino Peking Twilight, composed for the centenary of Sweden's Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra.

Peking was apparently the name of the town's football team which Lindberg followed as a child, but the work has a definite hint of the Orient in Chinese-inspired chiming over a relentless whir of strings.

Sonic brass and turbocharged percussion, and a driving discordant central theme vaguely reminiscent of An American in Paris, combined to create a heady concoction which proved as energetic as its creator.

It was matched in energy, and tone, by Bernstein's glorious Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, performed with pace and drive (not to mention clicking fingers and shouts of mambo) by the Phil.

Lindberg had the band bouncing breathlessly through the dance numbers, but there was also room for some delicate solo work in the Somewhere section and an aching sweetness in the strings' rendering of Maria's plaintive "I have a love".

Lindberg professes Dvorak to be a personal favourite, and the Czech's From the New World symphony proved an excellent balance to the drama of the first half.

The conductor's natural connection with the orchestra was evident in the fresh and exciting feel injected into an old favourite, which included a cor anglais solo of confidence and clarity from Will Oinn.

9/10 Exciting
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2014
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