For this, his first solo recording exclusively featuring new music, Anders Kilström has put together a programme of favourite pieces from this repertoire and tried to create a unifying flow through the programme, which includes a succession of virtuoso numbers. Kilström is one of the foremost Swedish pianists, active as both soloist and chamber musician, as well as being Professor of Piano at the Royal University College of Music
Anders Kilström plays new swedish piano solo pieces by Johan Hammerth, Pär Lindgren, Anders Nilsson, Per Magnus Lindborg and Rolf Martinsson
1018 Anders Kilström Solo
For his first solo recording, Kilström chose a number of recent works by living Swedish composers - all in their fifties at the time of writing. The music forms part of his repertoire and for which he obviously has a close affinity.
Johan Hammerth is the only composer here whose name and music are new to me. I welcome this fine opportunity to make contact with his idiomatic piano music. I note that he was trained as a pianist and a composer. He composed a set of 24 preludes between 1999 and 2000, each of them exploring a different musical and emotional world, although – judging by the two preludes heard here – his approach to piano writing is remarkably consistent.
Lindborg’s Runs and Resonances perfectly lives up to what its title implies. In the main it consists of short animated sections of varied character mostly ending on a resounding chord, be it soft or loud.
Lindgren already has a sizeable and hugely varied output. An all-Lindgren disc [Phono Suecia PSCD 21] including the magnificent orchestral piece Fragments of a Circle as well as the highly entertaining Guggi-Guggi for trombone and tape bears ample proof of Lindgren’s wide-ranging concerns. His substantial piano piece Winding Threads is in effect an idiomatic and beautifully made study in two-part counterpoint. It is rather demanding, though ultimately rewarding; a trifle too long for its own good.
Anders Nilsson’s music also features on an all-Nilsson disc (Phono Suecia PSCD 53) including his superb Organ Concerto (1987/8). His beautifully impressionistic Les Cloches de la Nuit inspired by a stay at the well-known Mont Saint Michel in France is a most welcome addition to his discography. It is a really fine piece that clearly deserves wider exposure.
Rolf Martinsson has composed a cycle of twelve piano pieces freely inspired by the Signs of the Zodiac. Three of these are recorded here. The composer describes his Zodiac pieces as written improvisations. For all their variety, the three pieces recorded here make one eager to hear the complete cycle some day. An all-Martinsson disc including the beautiful Kalliope Op.66 for strings and the Kurosawa-inspired orchestral work Dreams Op.35 is available from Daphne [Daphne 1022].
Kilström is a formidable pianist and a very fine musician from whom I definitely look forward to hearing more soon. This debut recording of his is much more than a brilliantly recorded curriculum vitae. It is first and foremost a splendid collection of fine, idiomatically written recent Swedish piano pieces. All merit much more than the occasional hearing..
Contemporary music has tended towards likening to the installations of modern art – piece that are as much enacted as performed, improvised from guidelines more than fully scored. Such principles have produced, in this case, a disc of vital playing and imaginative compositions. At times, one fears it falls too readily into Scandinavian stereotypes, too much a post-Sibelius, post-Glass music of forests and snow, at others, it satisfyingly shows that the traditional language of classical music is far from exhausted.
Of the composers, only Lindgren is well-known outside Sweden – his Winding Threads begins appropriately as filigree, which is made ever more complex, before unravelling at the finish. Nilsson's impressionistic, other-worldly portrait of Mont St Michel is the most obviously winning piece on the CD, less esoteric than Lindborg, whose exploration of chords is Cubist in its multiple viewpoints, less repetitive than the minimalist-inclined Hammerth Preludes. Martinsson's Zodiac portraits are the most pianistic items, vivid, colourful and distinctive.
Kilström has excellent technique; he is energetic and brings clarity and order to the music, while sustaining a delicate melodic line ( Libra ) and possessing limpidly weighted chordal technique ( Les Cloches de la Nuit ). His playing can be excessively literal - in his Hammerth, there is a sense more of repetition than stasis, while Leo can seem more Billy Goat Gruff than King of the Jungle and the gear changes in Gemini seem over-deliberate.
The recorded sound is extremely bright, with tendencies to harshness, but this may suit such modern repertoire. Readable notes and attractive design (with the faintest New Age tinge) complete a well-produced issue. An excellent introduction to modern Swedish music.
This is Swedish pianist Anders Kilstrom’s first recording of new music by his contemporaries. The idea of the album is to create continuity between the pieces, even though they are by different composers. The opening and closing preludes by Johan Hammerth are quiet, pensive bookends. Per Magnus Lindberg’s ‘Runs and Rhythms’—exactly what the title promises—is a bracing follow-up to the opening’s static ambiguity, brilliantly played (listen to the repeated notes at the top and bottom of the keyboard). Lindberg’s theatricality is followed by the attenuated voices of Par Lindgren’s ‘Winding Thread’; its severity is redeemed by the poetic sonorities of Andres Nilsson’s ‘Bells of the Night’.
All the pieces were written between 1997 and 2000. Is there a Swedish end-of-the century piano style? If this release is any indication, the answer is yes. All the pieces have an ambiguous, implied tonality, a determination t, a determination to explore evocative piano sound, and a cleai sense of structure—the latter quality reinforced by Anders Kilstrom’s finely sculpted pianism. This music is new to me, including the three works by the most represented com poser, Rolf Martinsson; I found it for the most part imaginative and well composed for the instrument. The recorded sound is extremely bright and resonant.
American Record Guide September/Ocober 2006