Parada (U.S. premiere)
Length: 12 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes (2 = piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons (2 = contrabassoon), 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bell tree, bongos, chinese cymbals, crotales, glockenspiel, 2 marimbas, mark tree, spring coil, cymbals, tam-tam, toms, triangle, vibraphone), harp, piano ( = celesta), and strings
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performances (U.S. Premiere)
Magnus Lindberg is one of the triumvirate of composers (along with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho) to emerge from a musical fellowship entitled Korvat auki ("Ears open"), formed at Helsinki's Sibelius Academy in the early 1970s. This group of self-proclaimed revolutionaries made it their purpose (along with irritating the establishment) to compose, perform, and promote new music that reflected the fresh creative paths developed by John Cage, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. The idea was to "bump Finland up to the post-serial world," as Salonen phrased it. The group seems to have succeeded in bringing Finnish music out from behind the shadow of their Academy's namesake. Finland's musical establishment, however, was certainly doing something right as their country (with a population significantly smaller than the county of Los Angeles) has produced more prominent musicians per capita than any other country in recent history.
When Salonen and Lindberg (who were born only a few days apart) met in a music theory class, Salonen remarked that he had just met "this guy who had a kind of computer for a brain." Actually, Lindberg's training included courses in contemporary mathematics and logic. As Lindberg himself says, "The tools I have developed for computer-assisted composition enable me, using well-defined rules, to generate harmonic transformations which it would be fairly difficult to calculate by hand."
The opening chord sequence of Parada may utilize this technology. The string instruments are divided into 13 individual parts, and through the use of playing multiple strings ("double stop"), intoning 18 pitches. The sound is rich and luminous, with a kind of divinely mathematical sonority. Rapid French horn gestures interrupt the glassy texture and, with their entrance, we have the two contrasting "musics" which will expand, overlap, and develop, like much of Lindberg's recent music, "in this kind of twined rope-like structure." Lindberg has named Parada, in hindsight, the middle work of a trilogy (with Cantigas and Feria) in the tradition of Debussy's Images. Parada began as the composer's attempt to create a slow movement within this trilogy, something that, if you know Lindberg's work, takes extra effort on his part. "Physical motion and rapid figuration have been an obsession of mine over the years," the composer says. What emerged in Parada was a "fusion between a slow movement and some scherzo material."
Parada received its world premiere in February of 2002 at The Anvil in Basingstoke, England, as part of a festival called Related Rocks, a series which continues to present programs of Lindberg combined with works of "related" composers. David Murray of The London Financial Times hailed Lindberg in his review of the new Sony CD featuring Parada, the Cello Concerto, Cantigas, and Feria as "always new, and invariably exciting." Parada is dedicated to Esa-Pekka Salonen.
— Christopher Anderson-Bazzoli is the Los Angeles Philharmonic Publications Assistant and editor/copyist of Esa-Pekka Salonen's LA Variations, among other works.