BO LINDE: Violin Concerto, Op. 18, Cello Concerto, Op. 29
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Bo Linde (1933-1970)
Violin Concerto, Op. 18 Cello Concerto, Op. 29
\I write in very beautiful triads," Bo Linde explainedduring an interview for the Swedish BroadcastingCorporation after he had been accepted as a student inLars Erik Larsson's composition class at the Academyof Music in Stockholm at the tender age of fifteen. Hewas not only a precocious talent but, from an early age,he had a clear idea of what he wanted to do in music.
For example he submitted his first piano concerto aspart of his application for admission to the Academy.
Although he was a technically very gifted pianist herapidly abandoned the idea of a solo career. That wouldmerely interfere with his work as a composer. Most ofall he wanted to write organ music and music for thetheatre. In point of fact he was only to write a couple ofsmall-scale organ pieces and a children's opera in thesegenres. Instead, he devoted his powers to writingorchestral music, chamber music and, not least, songs.
Just like Benjamin Britten, whom he greatly admired,Bo Linde had an unfailing sense of how poetry andmusic could be united. The piano accompaniments inthe songs are often very lively and exciting.
The earliest of Bo Linde's compositions to havesurvived were written when he was between ten andtwelve years old and in his early teens, for example, hecomposed sonatinas for piano and oboe, piano andtrumpet and piano and cello. He was always a keenreader of poetry and even before he entered theAcademy he composed his first song settings. Amonghis earliest collections of songs there is one withChinese poetry and one that he called a "SwedishAnthology". Over the years he produced a considerablenumber of collections, two of which have become firmfavourites with Swedish singers: Fyra allvarliga s?Ñnger(Four Serious Songs) and Tio naiva s?Ñnger (Ten Na?»veSongs). Bo Linde's first major orchestral work was hisSinfonia fantasia, Op. 1, which dates from the autumnof 1951, before the composer was nineteen.
The Violin Concerto, Op. 18, is dedicated to theviolinist Josef Gr??nfarb. Forty years after its premi?¿reJosef Gr??nfarb explained that this violin concertodiffered from other concertos which various composershad offered him in that "Everything was complete. Itwas just a matter of playing the elegant passageworkand cantilenas. The concerto is remarkably violinistic.
His feeling for the instrument was unique for someonewho did not play it himself." Gr??nfarb's pupil Karl-OveMannberg has claimed that Linde's violin concertoought to be part of the standard repertoire alongsidethose of the great masters.
The violin concerto is the most regularly performedof Bo Linde's orchestral works and beyond the bordersof Sweden it has been heard in the United States,Germany and Norway. The soft opening on the oboe inthe introductory Andante grows out of the silence towhich the concerto returns via the lyrical mood of theintroduction, which recurs in the slow, concludingLento. After the soloist's cadenza, a lively scherzo takesover with a melodious second subject. The conclusion isreminiscent of that of Bo Linde's only published stringquartet (Op. 9) in which the shimmeringly lovelylyricism also disappears into the emptiness of spacewhere music can rise again out of the silence. The violinconcerto was first performed by Josef Gr??nfarb in Ume?Ñearly in 1958.
Bo Linde was even fonder of his Cello Concerto,Op. 29, than of the violin concerto, counting it amonghis very finest works. In a newspaper interview prior tothe premi?¿re he explained that "I am hopelessly in lovewith this noble and beautiful instrument". He wrote theconcerto for Guido Vecchi who was the principal cellistof the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and who alsogave the first performance of the work in Sandviken in1965. The concerto has a rather special history in that itwas largely written over the telephone between Gavleand Gothenburg. For hour after hour during the autumnof 1964 composer and prospective soloist discusseddetails in the composition, especially details in the solopart. At times the telephone bills in the young Lindehousehold became almost prohibitively large.
The soloist opens the concerto with a musicalsubject that contains most of the melodic and sonicmaterial in the work as well as a major-minor thirdtension in a sonata form that, in the second movement,transforms itself into lively, almost stormy rhythmsbefore the beautiful concluding movement with thetempo indication Lento, ma tempo flessibile gives us anopportunity to hear many of the cello's beautifulaspects. Maria Kliegel, the soloist in this recording,explains from the cellist's point of view that theconcerto is conceived on a grand scale, requiringinstrumental virtuosity to meet the technical demandsbut that it is exciting enough to represent an alternativeto standard repertoire such as the concertos of Elgar andDvofiak. The romantic warmth of Bo Linde's musicalimagination splendidly captures the essence of thecello's character and if the cello concerto has yet to begranted the same interest as the violin concerto, this isprobably the result of continued ignorance of BoLinde's music rather than of the actual quality of thiscomposition. "It may seem somewhat banal", Bo Lindewrote of the last movement in the programme note tothe premi?¿re, "but I have consciously tried to bring outthe fundamental quality of the cello (its warmmelodiousness)".
Among the works that Bo Linde wrote aftercompleting the cello concerto were his Serenatanostalgica, Op. 30, the diverting and humorous Suiteboulogne, Op. 32, and Pensieri sopra un canticovecchio, Op. 35, a set of highly romantic orchestralvariations on the famous hymn Es ist ein Rosentsprungen. At this period he also wrote some tencollections of songs based on Swedish poets includingElsa Beskow, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Edith Sodergran,Gunnar Bjorling and Verner von Heidenstam. Some ofhis finest chamber music also belongs to his final activeyears, for example his String Trio in B major, Op. 37,and his Sonata a tre, Op. 38.
Bo Linde's final orchestral work, Pezzoconcertante, Op. 41, is also a solo concerto, this time forbass clarinet and orchestra. It was dedicated to theclarinettist Lennart Stove who gave the firstperformance a couple of weeks before the composer'sdeath at home in Gavle where he had been born only 37years previously.
Besides his work as a composer, Bo Linde taughtpiano and composition in Stockholm as well as in Gavle.
He also wrote more than three thousand articles andreviews on musical topics in the local Gefle Dagblad.Ulf Jonsson