This week Liverpool heralds the arrival of conductor and trombone virtuoso, Christian Lindberg. Christian will be conducting a Scandanavian programme of works to include : Helios Overture by Nielson; Sibelius’ second symphony; the piano concerto by Grieg; and the tremendously exciting ‘Ecos De Eternidad’ – a concerto for two trombones and symphony orchestra by Jan Sandstrom.
Christian will not only be performing as a soloist in the Sandstrom, alongside our own Principal Trombone, Simon Cowen, but will be conducting this unusual work, too.
The work begins with the orchestra tuning up by itself, then the strings gradually form a chord. Two trombones are heard offstage, on opposite sides of the auditorium, each playing distant cadenzas. The soloists emerge separately and stand together at the front of the stage.
I copied the following description of the piece from the RTE/National Symphony of Ireland website:
Commissioned by the Extremadura Symphony Orchestra in Spain for the candidacy of Cáceres for the European Capital of Culture 2016, Echoes of Eternity (Ecos de Eternidad) is a concerto for two trombones and orchestra, with one trombonist (Christian Lindberg) also conducting. It was premièred in Cáceres and Badajoz in November 2009, with soloists Lindberg and Ricardo Casero.
Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city’s blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. On Cáceres and the heart of Echoes of Eternity Sandström writes: ‘It’s about communication. And friendship. A city in love. Sounds of the storks that will no more leave. Longing voices from from the ancient walls. Melt-down music from distant places that constantly enriches the soul of the old charming city. Echoes from all times and all places. Echoes of love and longing. Eternal echoes.’ In the course of the work, Christian Lindberg recites the following poem about Cáceres:
Echoes of Eternity
I hear cries and echoes,
Voices from times that have passed,
Voices from times to come,
From the alleys and from the walls,
From the chimneys;
Voices of storks that have ceased to migrate,
That have chosen to stay.
Cries from a woman – confined in the monkey house.
The voice of a soldier by the ancient wall,
Longing for home.
Voices from a city that ever was,
Voices from an eternal city.
Echoes of eternity.
Check out Simon Cowen’s thoughts on the piece in his interview in the Liverpool Echo this week.
Christian described the ‘Monkey House’ section is a description of a lord in Caceres who liked to travel. This nobleman had a very attractive wife, so to be on the safe side he locked her in a house with a few trusted servants, whilst he went on his excursions. For her entertainment he filled the house with monkeys. On his return, he noticed an appalling smell coming from the house and on entering discovered all the servants and his wife dead and the monkeys jumping around all over the place.
It is not the first time that Jan Sandstrom and Christian Lindberg have collaborated. Amongst other works, Christian premiered Sandstrom’s ‘Odyssey for Motorcycle.’