Golijov: The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind; Lindberg: The Erratic Dreams of Mr Grönstedt

Reviewed on Wed 28 Jun, 2017

There’s a great deal of fun to be had if you’re happy to go along with the helter-skelter twists and turns, chiaroscuro emotions and volte-face shifts in mood.

Beware Swedish cognac. Over-indulgence took Christian Lindberg into a world of hallucinogenic make-believe, out of which came his delirious clarinet concerto, The Erratic Dreams of Mr Grönstedt. Composed between 2011 and 2013 (a fierce drinking session by anyone’s standards), it is played here on his fine solo debut by Emil Jonason, for whom it was written. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride, full of compelling ideas, a characterful clarinet line and rich orchestral accompaniment. Jonason plays it to the hilt, seemingly as far gone in places as Lindberg. There’s a great deal of fun to be had if you’re happy to go along with the helter-skelter twists and turns, chiaroscuro emotions and volte-face shifts in mood. From a different hypnotic state comes Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for klezmer clarinet and string quartet. As richly variegated as the three ancient Jewish languages its central sections allude to, it carries itself with a feeling of spellbinding incandescence.
–Michael Quinn