Performances

Click the links for more information.

2017-11-23 Melbourne
Ich denke Dein...

2017-11-25 Melbourne
Ich denke Dein...

2017-11-28 Stockholm
Suite Fantastique

2017-12-10 Amsterdam
Carillon

2017-12-17 Vienna 1:2
Garden of Devotion

2017-12-17 Vienna 2:2
Garden of Devotion

2018-01-18 Kristiansand
Poem for Orchestra No. 1

2018-02-01 Katowice
Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1

2018-02-01 Polish Radio Live Broadcasting
Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1

2018-02-14 Malmö
Shimmering Islands

2018-02-15 Malmö
Shimmering Islands

2018-02-15 Palma de Mallorca
Ich denke Dein...

2018-02-24 Giresta
Suite Fantastique

2018-03-02 Växjö
Airy Flight

2018-03-03 Tingsryd
Airy Flight

2018-03-04 Hultsfred
Airy Flight

2018-03-11 Dalby
Lukaspassionen

2018-04-04 Arboga
Tidig gryning

2018-04-05 Västerås
Tidig gryning

2018-04-07 Södertälje
Tidig gryning

2018-04-08 Örebro
Tidig gryning

2018-04-13 Vänersborg
Suite Fantastique

2018-05-23 Stockholm
Ich denke Dein...

2018-05-24 Stockholm
Ich denke Dein...

2018-06-18 Amsterdam
Garden of Devotion
CD recording, Challenge Classics

2018-06-18 Amsterdam
To the Shadow of Reality
CD recording, Challenge Classics

2018-06-18 Amsterdam
Kalliope
CD recording, Challenge Classics

2018-06-18 Amsterdam
A. S. in Memoriam
CD recording, Challenge Classics

2018-06-21 Kaiserslauten (10.00)
Double Bass Concerto No. 1

2018-06-21 Kaiserslauten (13.00)
Double Bass Concerto No. 1

2018-06-22 Dillingen
Double Bass Concerto No. 1

2018-06-30 Zürich
Arrangement on Songs by Alexander von Zemlinsky

2018-07-03 Zürich
Arrangement on Songs by Alexander von Zemlinsky

2018-09-16 Lerum
Tidig gryning

2018-09-23 Växjö
Tidig gryning

2018-11-28 Zürich
Arrangement on Songs by Franz Berwald

2018-11-29 Zürich
Arrangement on Songs by Franz Berwald

2018-11-30 Zürich
Arrangement on Songs by Franz Berwald

2018-12-16 Helsingborg
Arrangement on Songs by Franz Berwald

2019-01-17 Malmö
Opening Sounds

2019-01-19 Malmö
Opening Sounds

2019-02-05 Malmö
To the Shadow of Reality

2019-05-10 Estonia
Ich denke Dein...

2019-05-11 Estonia
Ich denke Dein...

2019-05-12 Estonia
Ich denke Dein...

2019-06-13/14? Winterthur
A. S. in Memoriam

2019-06-13/14? Winterthur
Arrangement on Songs by Alexander von Zemlinsky

2019-09-05 Malmö
New piece (semi staged)

2019-09-06 Malmö
New piece (semi staged)

2019-09-07 Malmö
New piece (semi staged)

2019-10-25 Växjö
Till skuggan av en verklighet

2019-10-25 Växjö
Arrangement on Infelice by Felix Mendelssohn

2019-10-26 ??
Till skuggan av en verklighet

2019-10-26 ??
Arrangement on Infelice by Felix Mendelssohn

2019-10-27 ??
Till skuggan av en verklighet

2019-10-27 ??
Arrangement on Infelice by Felix Mendelssohn

2020-09 Stockholm
Amy Foster


Ongoing Work

A concert opener - HSO co-commission. World premiere 2017-05-18 with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Stefan Solyom at Helsingborg concert hall.


You are free to use quotations from the reviews, but make sure that you always state the reviewer's name. Click a quick link below to find a composition and belonging reviews.

Work reviews

A. S. in Memoriam  (6 reviews)

Bridge  (23 reviews)

Cello Concerto No. 1  (1 review)

Coloured Flames  (2 reviews)

Concert Fantastique  (3 reviews)

Double Bass Concerto No. 1  (2 reviews)

Dreams  (1 review)

Fairlight  (3 reviews)

Forlorn  (2 reviews)

Garden of Devotion  (4 reviews)

Gemini  (1 review)

Golden Harmony  (1 review)

Ich denke Dein...  (4 reviews)

Into Eternity  (2 reviews)

Kalliope  (2 reviews)

Leo  (1 review)

Libra  (1 review)

Lukaspassionen  (1 review)

Open Mind  (9 reviews)

Opening Sounds  (3 reviews)

Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson  (14 reviews)

Shimmering Blue  (1 review)

Symbiosis  (1 review)

Triptyk  (1 review)

Vid tidens slut  (2 reviews)

Violin Concerto No. 1  (2 reviews)

Portrait CD

Dreams (DAPHNE 1022)  (2 reviews)

Open Mind (DAPHNE 1029)  (4 reviews)

Solo (DAPHNE 1018)  (1 review)

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Work reviews

A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50a)
Concert review 2013-02-03
City Halls, Glasgow, UK
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Andrew Manze
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Manze; A Midsummer Night's Dream
by Fiona Maddock/The Observer

"A.S. in Memoriam, by the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson (b1956), was a crepuscular recreation of Schoenberg's already pretty shadowy Verklärte Nacht, exquisitely played but full of questions, chief among them "Why?""

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A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50a)
Concert review 2013-01-27
Queens Hall, Edinburgh, UK
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Andrew Manze
Manze Displays Intelligence and Ability to Communicate
by Simon Thompson/Music Web International

"...As you might guess from the name, it's a tribute to the hyper-Romanticism of Schönberg (his Pelleas and Verklärte Nacht days) but it works very well in its own right, with some ultra-lush harmonies. Scored for 15 solo strings (in this version) it's harmonically extremely rich but instrumentally fairly transparent, and some of the chording, especially towards the end, is sublimely beautiful..."

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A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50b)
Concert review 2007-03-29
State Theatre, New Brunswick, US
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Beethoven's Third Exalts Ideal Hero
by Victoria McCabe/The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains - Fanwood TIMES

"The "A. S." in the title refers to Arnold Schoenberg, a composer whose creation of the mathematical 12-tone compositional style makes his very name disdainful to many classical and romantic enthusiasts. But Martinsson draws his inspiration from Schoenberg's early music, post romantic and Wagnerian in style and affect, and his 12-minute homage is so passionate that, were it available on commercial recordings, this music critic (no fan of the aesthetics of 12-tone) would recommend it highly. Reflecting on the NJSO's performance of this work for strings makes The Star-Ledger's recent report that the orchestra will sell all or most of its Golden Age Collection of string instruments to save the organization from "crushing debt and the specter of bankruptcy" even more tragic than it would appear to the average arts-section reader. The symphony's string players have taken such advantage of the collection's prized instruments, and the most striking moments of the NJSO's interpretation of A. S. in Memoriam came from the superior caliber of those strings. The violins were sometimes a bit brash on particularly high forte passages, but the lower strings had a wonderful, rich tone quality, and the deep, dark sounds the musicians drew from their instruments for the piece's muted ending were beautiful and melancholy."

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A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50b)
Concert review 2002-11-30
Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
A Performance with a Sense of Vitality Different from Functional Beauty
by Takaaki Aozawa

"...In the first piece (A. S. in Memoriam), which is a lyrical ode to Schönberg's "Verklärte Nacht", the deep and organic quality of the strings evoked a sense of quiet yearning..."

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A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50b)
Concert review 2002-11-25
Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
by Okuda Yoshimichi

"The opening piece, "A. S. In Memoriam" by the contemporary Swedish composer Martinsson (1956-).....were of exceptional quality. It is possible to regard these selected works as a mere greeting by the orchestra..."

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A. S. in Memoriam (Op. 50b)
Concert review 2002-11-07
Concert Hall, Göteborg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Järvi makes Sibelius' notes fall like fresh snow
by Håkan Dahl/Göteborgsposten

"...this piece definitely has the impact to reach an international audience..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2016-01-29
Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
Håkan Hardenberger / Philharmonia Orchestra / Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Trumpet extraordinary: Nordic passions from Hardenberger and Rouvali
by David Karlin/BACHTRACK

"...In last night's all-nordic programme of Sibelius and Martinsson, it was clear that Rouvali is totally at home in this repertoire: his choices of tempi and dynamic phrasing were faultless and broadcast with energy and detail.

Rolf Martinsson's trumpet concerto Bridge is a phenomenal piece of music and Håkan Hardenberger, for whom it was written in 1999, is a phenomenal trumpeter. The work is so technically demanding and so interwoven with Hardenberger's personality that hardly anyone else has dared to attempt it. Two things struck me: the first was how similar Hardenberger sounds to some of the great bepop jazz trumpeters, playing cadenzas without the syncopation but with the same fluidity in extracting the shape of a melody from a rapid cascade of notes. The second was the extraordinary level of control that Hardenberger achieves when playing quietly. To watch him play those quicksilver runs of notes, at a mere fraction above the breath level where the instrument stops making a sound at all, was an awesome experience. Bridge is a work full of contrasts, and like Lemminkäinen's Return, it can be very cinematic. It saw Rouvali and the orchestra on safer ground, both in the quiet, sparse textures early in the work and then in the gigantic orchestral climaxes that ensue..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2016-01-28
Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
Håkan Hardenberger / Philharmonia Orchestra / Santtu-Matias Rouvali
by Antony Hodgson/classicalsource.com
4 / 5 stars

"...Precision was especially necessary when it came to the knotty orchestration of Rolf Martinsson's Bridge (1998). This work luxuriates in its colour; particularly the use of a large selection of percussion instruments, often combined with two harps to brilliant effect. Bridge begins darkly with threatening drums; other percussion then develops the sound until the trumpeter enters with a jagged idea - a dramatic beginning to an extensive score filled with a variety of moods. Despite many examples of aggressive 'modernism' this is a tonal composition that uses dissonance as spice to a clearly thought-out pattern. The trumpet part is extremely demanding but is written so that its themes emerge logically from intricate orchestration. Bridge is continuous if falling into five clear sections, the second and fourth being cadenzas. Martinsson (born 1956 in Sweden) unifies the whole by giving the listener identifiable markers such as an immense climax in the central section and an extensive, intensifying brass sequence in the last episode. The climactic passages are built in a consistent way - for example, there are crescendos which, although based on different material, are marked by a sequence of cymbal clashes that begin quietly and build. One striking moment involves the trumpet set against harps: it seems hardly reasonable to ask the soloist to repeat and imitate harp flourishes, but such impossibility was fluently achieved by Håkan Hardenberger; his committed and immaculate rendition persuasively championed this music..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2014-07-21
Tanglewood Music Festival
Håkan Hardenberger / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
A Conductor, a Band and a Critical Swath
by Zachary Woolfe/New York Times

"...The high points of the weekend were the first works by living composers that Mr. Nelsons played with the orchestra. On Saturday, Rolf Martinsson's jazzy, sweeping Trumpet Concerto No. 1, "Bridge" featured Hakan Hardenberger as its sly, agile soloist. And Christopher Rouse's "Rapture," the opener on Sunday, gleamed..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2014-07-20
Tanglewood Music Festival
Håkan Hardenberger / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
Tanglewood: Nelsons departs on note of triumph
by Andrew L. Pincus/Special to The Berkshire Eagle

"...The Swedish composer's boldly scored, half-hour work provided a vehicle for the virtuosity and artistry of soloist Hakan Hardenberger. He and Nelsons had performed the piece together several times before, and the collaboration sounded seamless in the BSO's brilliant orchestral colors. The showy work seemed a fit for the soundtrack of a noir film..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2014-07-20
Tanglewood Music Festival
Håkan Hardenberger / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
Håkan Hardenberger performs Rolf Martinsson's "Bridge" Sunday night at Tanglewood, under the direction of Andris Nelsons
by Hilary Scott

"...The Swedish Martinsson's piece starts out like Scandinavian noir - you can almost feel Inspector Wallander investigating a murder in Skåne before it turns into a Hollywood car chase, albeit a very thrilling one. Hardenberger's red face said all you needed to know about the speed that was needed on the convoy while Nelsons and the BSO kept up smartly..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2014-07-20
Tanglewood Music Festival
Håkan Hardenberger / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
Håkan Hardenberger performs Rolf Martinsson's "Bridge" Sunday night at Tanglewood, under the direction of Andris Nelsons
by Brian Schuth/The Boston Musical Intelligencer

"...The orchestra for the Concerto is gigantic-extra strings, piano, celeste, two harps, and an awful lot of winds and percussion. Martinsson is not one of these fastidious composers who fills the stage with instruments only to use them in subsets; he is quite happy to have everyone playing along all at once, and clearly has a lot of skill making that kind of music work. The concerto is big, splashy and busy, filled with vivid (even garish) colors that can't help evoking the movies. It has some similarities with Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto, a later composition by a Scandinavian composer for huge orchestra and preternaturally gifted soloist that trades in massive gestures and pushes the solo instrument to its limits. "Bridge" is constantly engaging...There's a particularly noir-ish melody in the first movement that sticks in memory, and a brooding line in second movement that touched an emotion. However, the finale is undeniably infectious, an essay in musical tachycardia that starts quietly but ominously with rapid snare drum beats and grows in size and ferocity, never letting up. Hardenberger's performance was as much a feat of strength, daring and endurance as a musical one; the orchestra is put through similarly challenging paces. It sounds fearsomely difficult, but also as though it must be a lot of fun to play. I was caught up in it despite myself..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2014-07-20
Tanglewood Music Festival
Håkan Hardenberger / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons and Boston Symphony brilliant at Tanglewood
by Clifton Noble Jr./Special to the Republican

"...Saturday's programming of "Bridge" marked the first BSO performance of music by Rolf Martinsson, and the first appearance at Tanglewood by soloist Hakan Hardenberger (he has played with the Orchestra before, and has collaborated many times with Maestro Nelsons, including performances of the Martinsson concerto). The Concerto was a wild ride, expertly copiloted by Nelsons and Hardenberger. Drawing from program notes we learned in advance that "Bridge" would unfold in three parts, played without pause and "suspended" from two solo cadenzas. Growing out of elemental rumbles from the orchestra to moments of apocalyptic threnody, the piece explored the extremes of both volume and activity for orchestra and soloist alike. Martinsson pushed the limits of the trumpet in velocity and altitude, while remaining idiomatically true to the instrument's strengths, like its ability to render repeated notes with crisp clarity. Hardenberger tossed off fiendishly difficult passages with the panache of a rock star, and gave voice to glorious lyrical phrases full of silvery, even tone. The composer had carved his soloist's name (which obviously contains many musical letters) into the score in recognizable ways, adding to the interest of the listening experience. Every music director in BSO history has heeded the call of new music in his own way, and Nelsons' choice of this trumpet concerto (his own career history includes a stint as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra), with its jazzy harmonies and over-the-top dramatic punch promises interesting times ahead..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2009-03-20
Joseph-Keilberth-Saal, Bamberg, Germany
Håkan Hardenberger / Bamberger Symphoniker / Andris Nelsons
Strong will to express oneself
Fränkischer Tag
English translation by Cecilia Emond Martinsson

"...The fact that contemporary music in an efficient, even suggestive way can unite dissonance and harmonious sound was proved in the trumpet concerto "Bridge", premiered in 1999, by Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson. The acclaimed soloist was Håkan Hardenberger, who played at the premiere and to whom the work is dedicated. His sparkling interpretation combined dazzling brilliance with amazingly soft tone and brilliant virtuosity with intense, even glowing force of expression. Andris Nelsons showed great flexibility as Bamberger Symphoniker with accuracy and force brought to sound this score, rich in contrast as regards style. Hardenberger rewarded the ovations of the audience with a restrained ardent encore..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2005-02
Maida Vale, London, England
Håkan Hardenberger / The BBC Symphony Orchestra / John Storgårds
by Colin Anderson/Classical Source (www.classicalsource.com)

"The 25-minute Trumpet Concerto (1998) by Rolf Martinsson (born 1956) also made a big impression. Its three movements linked by two cadenzas have enough contrasting material in each to effectively make it 'three movements in one' (and the cadenzas are brief). Occasionally the soundworld is all-purpose but Martinsson's material is vividly communicative, sonorously and decorously scored (not least the eerie use of wineglasses!), and the invention has a filmic appeal (certainly atmospheric, sometimes bluesy), the composer allowing himself some 'purple passages' within a range of lyrical and rhythmic entrees. Håkan Hardenberger's virtuosity was fearless and near-perfect..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
CD review 2004
BIS-CD-1208
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
by Guy Rickards/The magazine of NOMUS

"...A bright, appealing work, it is no surprise that it has proved popular with critics and audiences alike and won an ASCAP award in the USA."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
CD review 2004
BIS-CD-1208
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
by Martin Anderson/Tempo, Cambridge Journal

"...Martinsson's Bridge is in a single, 26-minute span of three main sections, linked by trumpet cadenzas. In the first part the music builds in plushly scored comfort to a climax that is half Scriabin, half Hollywood; after a slower, rather featureless central passage, the finale surges forth in an urgent, jazz-flavoured chase. Martinsson may not have a particularly individual harmonic profile, but by God he can chuck an orchestra around..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2004-11-27
Uhlein Hall, Milwaukee, USA
Håkan Hardenberger / Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra / Carlos Kalmar
Musician trumpets extremes - Hardenberger, with inspired MSO, brings together new music's themes
by Tom Strini/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"New music is often intelligent, engaging, amusing and moving, but it's hardly ever thrilling. Rolf Martinsson's Trumpet Concerto ("Bridge"), vintage 1999, is thrilling. Swedish trumpet whiz Hakan Hardenberger, for whom it was composed, played the daylights out of it Friday evening, with guest conductor Carlos Kalmar and an inspired Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. A nervous, jagged, jazzy edge marks one extreme of the music. Think Bernard Hermann's score for "Psycho" or Duke Ellington's for "Anatomy of a Murder". The other extreme is a lush, bluesy lyricism that recalls the extravagant slow themes in Gershwin's symphonic music. Martinsson made these influences his own by using them to celebrate Hardenberger's staggering virtuosity and by subjecting them to his fantastical yet convincing formal procedures. Two cadenzas - the first muted and moody, the second open and aggressive - connect the three movements. The first builds on a fractured theme of toe-stubbing rhythms and unlikely, leaping intervals. It sticks in the mind, to the extent that the organic development that follows makes compelling sense. The florid, lyrical outpouring of middle movement tops out in a climactic flood of melodic and orchestral lusciousness. The finale is a rave-up of speed and power, and Hardenberger has the chops to make it work. Kalmar was right on top of this piece..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
CD review 2003-07/08
BIS-CD-1208
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Trumpet Concertos. (Collections).
by Barry Kilpatrick/American Record Guide

"...The centerpiece is Bridge (Trumpet Concerto 1, 1998) by Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson, a showy tour de force that runs for 26 minutes. The polychromatic work includes spectacular virtuoso displays in both solo and orchestra, long moments of quiet rumination by the unaccompanied trumpeter, the delicate sound of water goblets, exchanges between trumpet and specific orchestral instruments or sections, and a ferocious ending that concludes several minutes of a driving pulse."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
CD review 2003-04
BIS-CD-1208
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
by Christopher Thomas/www.musicweb.uk.net

"...Instead Bridge, his Trumpet Concerto No. 1, is aurally coherent, skilful in its scoring, big on melody and ultimately a resounding tour de force of virtuosity, adrenalin and exhilaration.....Martinsson has a vivid ear for effect and scoring, a feature that comes through regularly as he pits soloist against orchestra in music that can often progress from passages of combative challenge to waves of bittersweet melody, almost Hollywood-like in their climactic lushness. The piece was written in close collaboration with Hardenberger and draws some fine, technically formidable playing from the soloist who is every bit as exciting and exacting as you would expect from a master of contemporary repertoire. The booklet notes mention that the work has been a real hit with audiences and it is not difficult to see why. I found it difficult to keep off the edge of my chair for much of the piece, particularly the white-knuckle ride of the headlong last seven minutes."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
CD review 2003-02-19
BIS-CD-1208
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Best trumpet concerto in a long time
by Fredrik Montelius/Kristianstadsbladet

"...A lot of present day works sound extremely forced when they have to try to sound modern while at the same time giving the listener melodic harmonies to associate pleasant feelings with. But Bridge is brilliantly composed! Here, harmony and discordant tensions meet in a natural way. This makes the concerto interesting from start to finish. At the same time as you want to stop the flow and allow the wonderful sounds to melt in your mouth, you cannot wait to hear what will happen just around the corner. Definitely the best trumpet concerto for many years..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2001-10-22
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
Håkan Hardenberger / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / B. Tommy Andersson
by Kenneth Walton/The Scotsman

"...Martinsson's amazing trumpet concerto was the big surprise of the evening. After its elusively spooky opening, few could have expected the opulent outpouring of Hollywood-style schmaltz that enabled Hardenberger to show off his complete vocabulary, from astonishing technical virtuosity to teasing out a golden-flavoured lyricism even Miles Davis would have been proud of..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2001-10-22
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
Håkan Hardenberger / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / B. Tommy Andersson
by Conrad Wilson/The Herald

"...it is clearly a brilliantly theatrical addition to Hardenberger's repertoire, progressing from a tenebrous opening to a frenzied and blazing finale..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2001-10-20
Music Hall, Aberdeen, Scotland
Håkan Hardenberger / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / B. Tommy Andersson
Unusual effects help night of rich and varied music stand out
by Alan Cooper/The Press & Journal

"...Best of all was Rolf Martinsson's trumpet concerto no 1. It had its orchestral roots as much in the lush sounds of 30s jazz or film music as in modern classical music. The startling brilliance of soloist Hakan Hardenberger matched the musical gymnastics of Miles Davies with the best of classical playing, and it vied for attention with the unusual orchestral effects. This was a performance I found thoroughly entertaining and exhilarating..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2000-10-15
Orchestra Hall, Detroit, USA
Håkan Hardenberger / Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
DSO magnificent in "Carmina Burana"
by Mark Stryker/The Detroit News/Free Press

"...But, before the carousing began, the crowed was treated to the U.S. premiere of a new trumpet concerto by Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson (born 1956), a 25-minute, one-movement work of bristling excitement and invention that balances immediate appeal with lasting depth. The music begins ominously with rumbling bass drum and an eerie scrim of strings from which the trumpet explodes in stuttering phrases. The piece sways between bustling activity and lyrical passages spread out in rich jazz-like chords. The pacing is subtle, the soloist often moving faster than the accompaniment and the music sliding between prickly and suave episodes. Martinsson also favors tumbling lines that fall in large intervals, advanced harmony, atmospheric orchestration and syncopated polyrhythms. The superb Swedish trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger, for whom the piece was written, was the soloist, revealing electrifying technique. Jarvi shaped the music in vast peaks and valleys of dynamics. Jarvi's rhythmic confidence translated into virtuoso playing from the DSO..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2000-01-30 Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
by Jan Kask/Svenska Dagbladet (English translation by Cecilia Emond Martinsson)

"...It is more than understandable that Rolf Martinsson's trumpet concerto, commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and performed for the first time this spring, appeals to the musical vein of both Järvi and Håkan Hardenberger. The piece is characterized by an immediately capturing, playful development from shimmering diffuse sound constellations to an increasingly tense dialog in the interplay between soloist and orchestra, an accelerating tour de force that finally takes the breath away from both performers and audience. The basically romantic concerto is made easy to grasp being divided into three parts with bridgering cadenzas. It should have the qualifications to become a repertoire piece and maybe it will also became Martinsson's public break through. Splendidly did Hardenberger perform the demanding solo part. Jan Sandström's Motorbike Concerto for trombone has got a challenger for the trumpet."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 1999-05-17
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
The thrill of the modern
by Christopher Morley/Birmingham Post

"...Best to view the Hummel as a warm-up for the two further concerti offered consecutively by the remarkable Hakan Hardenberger, for what came next was the demandingly substantial Trumpet Concerto no.1, Bridge, by Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson, here present to witness his work's British premiere (the only previous performance was in Gothenburg last month) recorded for subsequent BBC broadcast. Scored for a gargantuan orchestra including two harps and a pair of tuned water glasses, the piece happily parades its composer's fashionably polystilistic language. It climbs from the depths (as in Ravel's Left-hand Piano Concerto), it erupts into wind and string coruscations, moves into a bluesy big band sequence and climaxes in a lush romantic tune on full orchestra. From this material Martinsson builds a satisfying 25-minute structure, the solo trumpet virtually ever-present, often reiterating a rhythmic repeated-note figure, and imperceptibly climbing towards the highest reaches of its register. Sympathetic and understanding, Hardenberger's performance was delivered with security and stamina, concluding with a high-pitched blast of well-deserved triumph. The GSO under principal conductor Neeme Jarvi collaborated with vigour and sensitivity..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Advance article 1999-05-13
Invaded by civilised Goths
by Hilary Finch/The Times

"...Birmingham and Glasgow will be made aware of the orchestra's commitment to the newest of new music. Järvi was so impressed by a brand new trumpet concerto written by Sweden's Rolf Martinsson for Hakan Hardenberger that he is insisting on adding it to a Birmingham programme which also includes virtuoso concertos by Hummel and Arvo Pärt..."

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Bridge - Trumpet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 1999-05-09
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England
Håkan Hardenberger / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Mama mia, here he goes again
by Christopher Bowen, Scotland on Sunday

"...They were even genuinely thrilled to hear a new piece of music. But with Håkan Hardenberger the spinetingling soloist in the world premiere of Rolf Martinsson's Trumpet Concerto No. 1, what's not to enjoy? Certainly, with the full force of the Gothenburg Symphony sweeping through the sumptuous, film noir melodic line at the heart of his concerto, this piece has more body (and curves) than Jessica Rabbit. Sadly, Martinsson's marvellous concerto isn't scheduled on the GSO's British tour...(except Birmingham)..."

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Cello Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2005-06-04
Concert Hall, Malmö, Sweden
Mats Lidström / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Christoph König
When The Musician And His Instrument Melt Together
by Matti Edén/Sydsvenska Dagbladet

"The term "film music" is sometimes used as a feeble way of describing newly written music, presumably with intent to reinforce the feeling of detachment since one may think the material not strong enough in itself. But what, then, if the music gives way to lively and unstoppable pictures passing through ones head? These are the thoughts awakened by Rolf Martinsson's new cello concerto. The work was commissioned by cellist Mats Lidstrom for his London project From Sweden. Its structure is of a large scale and incites the imagination. The orchestration is truly full of finesse and élan, resembling that of Richard Strauss, there are hints of a big band with romantic overtones as well as a tone language which could easily associate with the later movies of Clint Eastwood. Is it just by coincidence that I have a sensation of a dark river - a Mystic River - in the lower register of the orchestra...? Is that Mats Lidstrom's cello floating as a fluorescent bridge, daringly swinging high in the sky...? The music becomes a reminder of how quality is created from the core of tradition, but at the same time there is sound distance to what could easily be labelled as 'skilful'. This is enhanced by the unique personality of Mats Lidstrom. A strong feature of the piece is displayed in the opening with interactions of great variety between soloist and orchestra. Instantly, the ability of the cellist to completely unite with his instrument becomes obvious. Mats Lidstrom melts the weightless with the substantial into a new alloy and freely, eagerly, climbs the tonal ladder. He does the unexpected before there was time to expect anything at all. Still, it is the result of listening rather than eccentricity..."

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Coloured Flames
CD review 2005
DAPHNE 1019
The Amadé Quintet
by Steven Ritter/American Record Guide

"Rolf Martinsson's (b 1956) Coloured Flames is sparse and ascetic, delving into an almost mystical ecstacy, teasing you with more than it delivers, and leaving you satisfied with the hollow, contrapuntal texture it gives."

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Coloured Flames
CD review 2004-12
DAPHNE 1019
The Amadé Quintet
by Rob Barnett/www.musicweb.uk.net (British Music Society Newsletter)

"Martinsson's single movement work is Bergian in idiom. This is for the most part melancholically ruminative although it does stir its thews towards the end; no conflagration though. Think in terms of a meeting of minds between Berg, Nielsen and Bernard van Dieren... The recording is larger than life with plenty of depth and width... Another fine and well-chosen production from Daphne."

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Concert Fantastique - Clarinet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2013-10-12
Kultur-Casino, Bern, Switzerland
Martin Fröst / Bern Symphony Orchestra / Rumon Gamba
Swedish Clarinet Gala
by Hannes Liechti/Der Bund

"...(The concert) was worth waiting for. Fröst took every opportunity to dazzle in this concert written especially for him. But it takes more than virtuosity to make a good concert. "Concert Fantastique" gave credit for its name thanks to the masterly blending of the solo instrument and ensemble. With closed eyes it was often difficult to clearly distinguish whether the sometimes expressionistic, sometimes seemingly modern harmonies originated from the soloist's instrument or from the orchestra. The following "Premiére Rapsodie" for clarinet and orchestra by Claude Debussy seemed with all its impressionistic harmonies almost colourless in comparison..."

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Concert Fantastique - Clarinet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2011-12-02
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK
Martin Fröst / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner
Martin Fröst/CBSO, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
by Norman Stinchcombe/Birmingham Post

"...Fröst's technical wizardry and engagingly extrovert musical personality make him the ideal interpreter of Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson's Concert Fantastique which received its UK premiere with the CBSO conducted by Edward Gardner. It was heartening to hear a contemporary work being greeted so warmly - deservedly so. The attention-grabbing opening featured dazzling bravura passages for Fröst. Imagine if Gershwin had transcribed The Flight of the Bumblebee for Benny Goodman and you'll get the idea. The concerto's five sections are full of fantasy and contrasts, from a passage where Fröst plays a single tone for a minute without a break to a lush romantic melody worthy of Korngold at his Hollywood ripest..."

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Concert Fantastique - Clarinet Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2011-11-28
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK
Martin Fröst / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner
CBSO/Gardner at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
by Hilary Finch/The Times

"...The concerto was exciting and easy on the ear: brilliance alternating with smoochy lyricism..."

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Double Bass Concerto No. 1
CD review 2013-01-25
SIMAX PSC1324
Dan Styffe / Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Jukka-Pekka Saraste
by Rob Nairn/Bass World, International Society of Bassists

"Martinsson is one of the more dynamic and best-known young Swedish composers, his highly melodic solo concerti particularly attracting considerable attention. The concerto opens in the lowest registers of the bass, with a dark orchestral accompaniment that sounds threatening and foreboding. The soloist has almost a narrative role in the first movement and the melodic writing is a great vehicle for Styffe's exceptionally lyrical and expressive tone, and his superb Da Salo instrument. There is a lot in the scoring, sounding at times very atmospheric, at others like a highly dramatic film score, and the dialogue-style writing means there is never any trouble hearing the soloist. The second movement also opens with the bass, this time with a long unaccompanied cadenza, and some dramatic writing in octaves and harmonics, which Styffe navigates with ease and great musicality. The scoring throughout is exceptional and gently supports the soloist. The movement ends as it begins, with solo bass and many double stops; again a great vehicle for the magnificently expressive playing of the soloist. The third movement is much shorter and more aggressive. Solo passages are inter-dispersed or answered by dramatic orchestral interludes, building ultimately to a huge solo passage in 16ths, from the highest registers and descending to cover the whole range of the instrument."

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Double Bass Concerto No. 1
CD review 2012-08-19
SIMAX PSC1324
Dan Styffe / Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Jukka-Pekka Saraste
by Henning Høholt/Kulturkompasset, Oslo - reviews of culture events

"The world premiere of Rolf Martinsson's double bass concerto is a brilliant highlight on Dan Styffe's new CD, presenting new music for the double bass. Dan Styffe, solo bassist in Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, in one of the world's leading soloists on his instrument. This, his forth solo CD release, includes solo, chamber music and a concerto. Together with his colleagues in the Oslo PO and chief conductor Saraste, Styffe presents the world premiere of a large, new piece for his instrument, recorded at the premiere in Oslo concert hall 7 April, 2011.

Rolf Martinsson's concerto for Dan Styffe and his Gaspar da Salo

The Swede Rolf Martinsson (1956) has a worldwide reputation as one of the foremost orchestra composers. His music is characterized by a strong stylistic skill and exceptional musical craftsmanship. Recently his clarinet concerto for Martin Fröst received great recognition. In the double bass concerto Martinsson has written not only for Dan Styffe but also for the fantastic instrument he is playing; a rare 1580 Gaspar da Salo, the crafter of double basses named as "father" of the instrument. The concerto opens in an almost apocalyptic atmosphere, and the expectations are set for an enormous virtuoso and spectacular concerto full of colour and dynamic."

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Dreams
CD review 2005
DAPHNE 1022
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Christoph König
by Allen Gimbel/American Record Guide

"The program includes with Dreams (1995), a large orchestral work inspired by the Kurosawa film, where "a succession of concentrated dream scenes from a complex whole replete with musical associations". That pretty much describes the goings on in this colourful opus. Martinsson's dreamwork links angular abstractions with sultry romanticism, shimmering glitter, and airy flight. There's some scary nightmare to remember, of course, including a forbidding death march and some mysterious thuds and taps, but a gentle violin solo escorts us harmlessly out of the darkness. Martinsson is a fabulous orchestrator, and he held my attention completely through these 23 minutes......This (CD), then, is a real sleeper, and I give it my most enthusiastic welcome. Sweden is no stranger to neoromanticism, of course, but this composer is an impressive new contributor. Performances and sonics are exquisite."

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Fairlight - Trombone Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2007-05-29
Musikverein, Vienna, Austria
Christian Lindberg / Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra / Bertrand de Billy
Willkommen im 20. Jahrhundert!
Die Presse (English translation by William Jewson)

"At the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra's concert under the baton of principal conductor Bertrand de Billy, the focus of the programme was clearly on more recent music: for example the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson's trombone concerto "Fairlight" (2004), an analogue tribute to the eponymous first sampling synthesizer. A piece that is multi-coloured, noisy, humorous and effusive like several street fairs going on at the same time. And only a soloist of the calibre of Christian Lindberg can dance at them all. Sonorous legatos, capricious leaps, rumbling extreme depths: like some Paganini of the trombone Christian Lindberg places a range of expressions at the disposal of the work.....entertaining in the best sense and, thanks to Lindberg's effortless virtuosity, a thrilling experience."

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Fairlight - Trombone Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2005-04-11
Concert Hall, Stockholm, Sweden
Christian Lindberg / Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Alan Gilbert
Det våras för trombonen (Springtime for the trombone)
by Thomas Anderberg/Dagens Nyheter

"...piece with shining potential... [Christian Lindberg] showed that he still has no competitors with regard to the beauty of his playing in Legato passages and precision in quick passages...The structure of the piece is elegant with the three movements connected. The grand opening captivates with large gestures, lots of motion and broken chords from the deepest bass register. After a couple of minutes the orchestra takes a breath while descending string chords continue the motion. After that there is an ominous adagio where the tension is never relaxed...It is a convincing piece that has a potential for becoming a great success both in Sweden and internationally..."

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Fairlight - Trombone Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2005-04-09
Concert Hall, Stockholm, Sweden
Christian Lindberg / Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Alan Gilbert
Gäspande trombon ger ett ljuvligt drömtillstånd
(Yawning trombone brings a sweet dream state)

by Carl-Gunnar Åhlén/Svenska Dagbladet

"...Even the most narrow-minded listener lowers his guard to Lindberg's charm and lets himself be seduced by the most contemporary passages from the far north...Rolf Martinsson will have great success with his first trombone concerto. Not a single note was superfluous in his concerto which entertains on a high level, starting with the big bang..."

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Forlorn
Concert review 2014-10-20
Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lisette Bolle, soprano / Netherlands Chamber Orchestra / Bas Wiegers
by Persis Bekkering/Volkskrant

"...Excellent was Bolle's performance of the world premiere of Rolf Martinsson's Forlorn on Poems by Rabindranath Tagore, a composition for cello (played by Jakob Koranyi), soprano and string orchestra. In an idiom that strongly reminds of the Schönberg of Verklärte Nacht and now and then on a Fifties' musical, the Swedish Martinsson (1956) set Tagore's poetry intensely and grievously. Conductor Bas Wiegers let the strings sparkle romantically up to an almost unbearably beautiful ending..."

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Forlorn
Concert review 2014-10-20
Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lisette Bolle, soprano / Netherlands Chamber Orchestra / Bas Wiegers
by Frederike Berntsen/Trouw

"...Jakob Koranyi got wings in Rolf Martinsson's 'Forlorn', a world premiere and a present from the chamber orchestra to the Biënnale in which Koranyi and soprano Lisette Bolle went for nice, nicer, nicest..."

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Garden of Devotion
Concert review 2016-09-26
Mozartsaal, Liederhalle, Stuttgart, Germany
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Matthias Foremny
Refreshing old-fashioned
by Frank Armbruster/Stuttgarter Zeitung
ENGLISH

"...The piece is written by Rolf Martinsson, a contemporary Swedish composer, who studied composition with the leading avantgarde composer Brian Ferneyhough, but the piece has nothing with avantgarde to do. That's probably why the audience liked it so much at this season opening concert with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and gave the orchestra and the fabulous soprano Lisa Larsson, to whom the piece is dedicated, a most cordial applause..."

GERMAN

"...Das Stück stammt von Rolf Martinsson, einem zeitgenössischen schwedischen Komponisten, der zwar beim Avantgardepapst Brian Ferneyhough studiert hat, aber Stücke schreibt, die mit dem, was man gemeinhin mit Neuer Musik verbindet, nichts zu tun haben. Wohl gerade deshalb kommt er beim Publikum so gut an, wie jetzt auch beim ersten Abokonzert des Stuttgarter Kammerorchesters, wo es herzlichen Applaus für das Orchester un die fabelhafte Sopranistin Lisa Larsson gab, der Martinsson die Lieder gewidmet hat..."

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Garden of Devotion
Concert review 2016-11-18
Konserthuset, Västerås, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Västerås Sinfonietta / Rumon Gamba
Love and English Elegance at the Concert Hall
by Birgit Ahlberg-Hyse/Vestmanlands Läns Tidning

"...The brilliant star of the evening was soprano Lisa Larsson, who, with scenic security and absolute control of her voice, interpreted Garden of Devotion, Rolf Martinsson's musical setting to poems by the Indian poet Tagore. Next week Martinsson receives the prestigious Christ Johnson Prize for his music on poems by Emily Dickinson. And with the Tagore interpretations he once again shows his skill in letting the instruments contribute organically to the nuances of the words. His melodies may be perceived as unpredictable, but become quite natural in their movements as they follow the meaning of the poems. When rising and falling strings follow the emotional changes - then the artistic balance is perfect. The work is composed for Lisa Larsson, and it tells a lot about their musical relationship. Without effort or mannerism she took on the most difficult passages with a light but yet rich sound. And her natural singer's joy in the midst of her professionalism, was wonderful..."

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Garden of Devotion
Concert review 2015-05-10
Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, UK
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Olari Elts
Martinsson's Attractive Garden of Devotion Receives UK Premiere
by Simon Thompson/Music Web International

"...Tonight's big interest, however, was the British premiere of Rolf Martinsson's Garden of Devotion. It's a song cycle of five poems from The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore, centring on a woman asking a man to devote himself to her fully but failing to receive a positive answer. I found it really attractive. Martinsson's musical language is firmly tonal and melodic, the orchestration (for strings only) repeatedly lush and welcoming, matching the soprano line perfectly as one complements the other. In some of the songs, the music is tailored acutely to the words, as in Do Not Keep , where the yearning of the voice is reflected in the yearning of the words, or Do Not Go where the lover's insecurity is reflected in the slight nervousness of the vocal line..."

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Garden of Devotion
Concert review 2015-05-10
City Halls, Glasgow, UK
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Olari Elts
Lisa Larsson/Scottish Chamber Orchestra, May 2015
by Miranda Heggie/The Herald, Scotland

"...The SCO brought a lyrical depth to Martinsson's vivid and animated score. Written in collaboration with, and dedicated to soprano Lisa Larsson, the poignancy of the plight of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore's lovelorn protagonist in his collections of poems entitled 'The Gardener', was exquisitely explored by Larsson as she skillfully communicated the angst ridden bewilderment of a deep yet unrequited love. Her voice, though focused and clear, had an almost jazz tinged elasticity and a rich, radiant tone..."

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Gemini
CD review 2005-09
DAPHNE 1018
Anders Kilström
by Hubert Culot/www.musicweb.uk.net

"...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]..."

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Golden Harmony - Soprano Saxophone Concerto No. 1
CD review 2013
PSCD188
Anders Paulsson / NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra / Christoph Altstaedt
Swedish Concertos for Soprano Saxophone
by Guy Rickards / Gramophone

"...This is a beguilingly lyrical work, in three movements playing continuously: Tranquillo- Dolcissimo- Energico. Martinsson, like soloist Anders Paulsson, has a foot in jazz as well as classical music, which may account for its tonal orientation and direcmess of approach; but the quality of its melodies comes from no school or medium..."

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Ich denke Dein...
Concert review 2015-09-10
Konserthuset, Göteborg, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Göteborgs Symfoniker / Antonello Manacorda
Lisa Larsson singt neue Martinsson-Lieder im Konzerthaus Göteborg
by Katharina Hogrefe/BACHTRACK
4/5
ENGLISH

"...At the heart of this night lay songs of the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson, premièred in Zurich in January 2015. Under the title Ich denke dein... (I think of you) Martinsson composed music to poems by Rilke, Goethe and Eichendorff that speak of different perspectives on love and of idyllic descriptions of nature. Together with soprano Lisa Larsson he set those well-known German verses to music in a shape ranging from sweet to programmatic. In the opening Liebeslied (Love Song) by Rilke the strings present a beautiful musical thought, a thought that flashes through his new vocal piece time and again. Like the famous tune of your favourite operetta, this melody remained with the listener long after the concert.

In the following songs, the composer repeatedly makes use of onomatopoeic techniques that are woven into the instrumental as well vocal lines. A particularly empathetic interpretation was presented in Eichendorff's Mondnacht, in which the voice is at times accompanied by a single instrument only. "Es war, als hätt' der Himmel die Erde still geküsst" the melody began in very simple fashion and immediately evoked the unearthly glow of a moonlight night. Larsson gave life to this magnificent natural scene with quiet, very pure voice. Without the use of vibrato and exaggerated dynamics, she effortlessly filled the hall with her brilliant soprano. The resplendent colour of her voice carried easily, yet was never obtrusive - a musical reflection of the vivid, admiring image in Eichendorff's words: even the most quiet of pianos were full of suspense, her lines always focussed. The sheen of the blossoms, the wide fields and quiet woods made audible in this song may have caused the souls of many in the hall to spread their wings.

As Lisa Larsson sang "her" new Martinsson songs, it wasn't mere performance, but a precisely fitting nestling of the work to her voice. Her considerable contribution to the creation of the songs was obvious in every note, be it breathed, spoken or in brilliantly bright heights. Her perfect, accent-free German allowed a deep insight into the development of music with text, and one forgotten line was immediately excused. Telling the tale of longing in the final song with the words "Ich denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer vom Meere strahlt" (I think about you when the sun's shimmer shines from the sea), one could have thought that this song had been especially written for this Gothenburg, full of autumnal light and sea air, in which it was performed. The reaction of the audience and the warm embrace of Larsson and Martinsson had me hope for future collaborations of this Swedish duo..."

GERMAN

"...Die im Jänner 2015 in Zürich uraufgeführten Lieder des schwedischen Komponisten Rolf Martinsson bildeten das Herzstück des romantisch sehnsuchtsvollen Abends. Unter dem Titel Ich denke Dein... komponierte Martinsson Musik zu Texten von Rilke, Goethe und Eichendorff, die von unterschiedlichen Perspektiven auf die Liebe und idyllischen Beschreibungen der Natur erzählen. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Sopranistin Lisa Larsson vertonte er die bekannten deutschen Verse in einer süßen bis programmatischen Manier. Im einleitenden Liebeslied von Rilke präsentiert er mit den Streichern einen wunderschönen musikalischen Gedanken, der in seinem neuen Vokalwerk immer wieder aufleuchtet. Wie die altbekannte Melodie aus der Lieblingsoperette trug man diesen schwelgerischen Klang auch nach dem Konzert noch mit nach Hause.

In den folgenden Liedern greift der Komponist immer wieder auf lautmalerische Techniken zurück, die er sowohl in die vokalen als auch in die instrumentalen Stimmen einbaut. Eine besonders einfühlsame Interpretation gelang mit Eichendorffs Mondnacht, bei der die Sopranstimme teilweise nur von einem einzelnen Instrument begleitet wird. "Es war, als hätt' der Himmel die Erde still geküsst", beginnt die Melodie ganz schlicht und beschwört damit sofort den überirdischen Schein einer hellen Mondnacht herauf. Mit leiser, ganz reiner Stimme erweckte Larsson dieses wundervolle Naturspiel vor dem inneren Auge des Zuhörers zum Leben. Sie setzte kein Vibrato ein, und auch ohne übertriebene Lautstärke gelang es ihr, den ganzen Raum mit ihrem brillanten Sopran zu füllen. Die strahlenden Farben ihrer Stimme trugen sich mühelos durch den ganzen Saal, ohne dabei je aufdringlich zu werden; selbst im leisesten Piano behielt sie größte Spannung und führte ihre Töne immer auf gerader Linie. Der Blütenschimmer, die weiten Felder und leisen Wälder die hier zu hören waren, ließen wohl so manche Seele im Saal die Flügel aufspannen.

Als Lisa Larsson "ihre"neuen Martinsson-Lieder sang, war es nicht eine bloße Darbietung, sondern ein passgenaues Anschmiegen des Werkes an ihre Stimme. Ihr großer Beitrag bei der Entstehung der Lieder war bei jedem Ton zu hören, sei er gehaucht, gesprochen oder strahlend hell in der Höhe. Ihr perfektes, akzentfreies Deutsch ermöglichte einen tiefen Einblick in die Entwicklung der Texte mit der Musik, und eine vergessene Zeile verzieh man ihr dabei mit einem schmunzelnden Augenzwinkern. Als sie im letzten Stück mit den Worten "Ich denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer vom Meere strahlt" von der Sehnsucht erzählte, konnte man meinen, das Lied sei speziell für das Göteborg voll herbstlichem Licht und Meeresluft geschrieben worden, in dem diese Musik erklang. Die Reaktion des Publikums und die herzliche Umarmung von Larsson und Martinsson lassen auf kommende Zusammenarbeiten des schwedischen Duos hoffen..."

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Ich denke Dein...
Concert review 2015-01-31
Musiikkitalo, Helsinki, Finland
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Helsinki Philharmonic / John Storgårds
by Derek Ho/Res Musica

"...Next on the program was the song cycle Ich denke Dein… by the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson. The opening tutti immediately conjured up images of Mahler, with the exception of Martinsson's use of certain dissonances. Martinsson's harmonic language was highly accessible and at times very beautiful; his orchestration polished but uncomplicated. Martinsson's music did at times suggest darker or more unsettling territory...Soprano Lisa Larsson's crystalline tone and tasteful restraint were appropriate for the aesthetic of this piece...it was enjoyable and beautiful music...Special mention goes to concertmaster Pekka Kauppinen and principal cellist Tomas Núñez-Garcés for their extended solos..."

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Ich denke Dein...
Concert review 2015-01-30
Musiikkitalo, Helsinki, Finland
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Helsinki Philharmonic / John Storgårds
by Veijo Murtomäki/Helsingin Sanomat

"...The varied concert offered two big surprises: that someone dares to write so unashamedly enjoyable, sinfully sexy music as the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson (b. 1956)! And luckily he does not only dare to but he also can do it. Martinsson has studied the secrets of orchestral writing of the turn of the 19th and 20th century, added a little Gershwin, Broadway musical, entertaining sounds and a pinch of "modernism" to the brew. As a Postmodernist Martinsson is not the only one of his kind; we also have our own hedonists and stylistic borrowers from Ilkka Kuusisto to Kimmo Hakola. But Martinsson is so skilful in his orchestration, neo-cute melodicism and silken harmonies, that you need to prick your ears for the second time: can this even be true?

When the shockingly good soprano Lisa Larsson performed Martinsson's brand new song cycle "Ich denke Dein…" and John Storgårds created an "überschön" orchestral background, the listener felt as if he was being led into an enchanted garden, where an angel had fallen from heaven. Larsson's soprano radiated and floated, and was sublime in the pianissimos. It soared effortlessly and entwined playfully with Pekka Kauppinen's intoxicating violin and Tomas Nuñez-Garcés's alert cello in the highest spheres/registers. Goethe's, Eichendorff's and Rilke's poems received a glittering blanket which made you blush a little on behalf of the classicists..."

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Ich denke Dein...
Concert review 2015-01-29
Musiikkitalo, Helsinki, Finland
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Helsinki Philharmonic / John Storgårds
What an Outstanding Finnish Premiere!
by Wilhelm Kvist/Hufvudstadsbladet

"...The concert may in some ways have been presented as the Philharmonic Orchestra's introduction to the Sibelius year - with the first symphony on the programme - but it was an entirely different piece which appeared as the concert's main number on Wednesday. The Swedish Rolf Martinsson's (born 1956) brand-new song suite Ich denke Dein... offered unusually expressive and full music, actually fruity and bombastic. Even though many composers have previously attempted to follow in Richard Strauss's very large footsteps, post-Straussian expression has seldom been this strong. During the first song, Liebes-Lied, I wondered how far it would carry and when complete saturation would be reached. What's interesting about Martinsson is how, already in the transition to the second song, he demonstrated a contrasting expression. Blaue Hortensie began with a short spoken part and then suddenly psychologically intricate works, such as Berg's and Schönberg's operas are close at hand; if not as objects of direct comparison, then possibly as aesthetic examples. The song ended with a fabulous final chord of incredibly wide range, full without being stifling. Nonetheless, it was musical sensations à la Broadway which the Malmö professor holds dearest to his heart and pranksters, such as Gershwin and Bernstein who were lying in wait. At least in Finland, one can only be amazed at how Martinsson had both the guts and the skill to write like this. Two of the songs were composed to texts by Goethe and two to texts by Rilke (when did these two last appear on the musical stage?). It is the fourth and next to last song, Mondnacht to von Eichendorff's text, which clearly appealed most to me. Martinsson accurately captured the exciting relationship between soprano soloist and orchestra, and the duo with solo cellist Tomas Nuñez-Garcés was most certainly one of the highlights. Martinsson's songs stand and fall with the soloist, who in this case has a hauntingly beautiful voice. The Swedish soprano Lisa Larsson has become somewhat of a stalwart friend in Martinsson's court and will be performing many of the composer's works this season. She sang melodically and focused, her language was beautiful and her voice carried above the orchestra throughout the entire performance. These songs were performed for the very first time in Zurich just a few weeks ago and are already booked for performances in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Gothenburg, Milan and London, just to name a few. The song suite is an unusually successful commission of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra..."

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Into Eternity
Concert review 2015-08-30
Malmö Live, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot
by Lars-Erik Larsson/Skånska Dagbladet

"...Lisa Larsson's emotional sonorous soprano is contrasting to the eruptive orchestra which brings the music towards a quiet and worthy end. It is both beautiful and captivating..."

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Into Eternity
Concert review 2015-08-29
Malmö Live, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot
by Tobias Lund/Sydsvenskan

"...Rolf Martinsson's newly written "Into Eternity" was stylish and euphonious music, transforming from force and complexity in the opening part, to mildness in the closing part..."

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Kalliope
CD review 2005
DAPHNE 1022
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Christoph König
by Allen Gimbel/American Record Guide

"Kalliope (2004), for string orchestra, is a nine-movement suite in homage to the nine Muses. If you love bathing in orgies of lush late-romantic string sonority, then this is your piece. Each goddess takes up about three minutes of space, and Martinsson offers them with a nice variety of personality in the predominant divided-string orchestra texture. Kalliope gets a dramatic French overture-like introduction, you can see Urania's flickering pizzicato stars, Euterpe's flute is a gleaming melody of unearthly harmonics, and so forth. Martinsson has a fine sence for expressive melodic line (see Melpomene's beautiful song) and a well developed theatrical flair. This would make a terrific ballet. No Stravinskian restraint here - this is over-the-top sensuality, but with metriculous craftsmanship and refined Nordic taste. A wonderful surprise.....This (CD), then, is a real sleeper, and I give it my most enthusiastic welcome. Sweden is no stranger to neoromanticism, of course, but this composer is an impressive new contributor. Performances and sonics are exquisite."

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Kalliope
CD review 2004-10
DAPHNE 1022
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Christoph König
by Rob Barnett/www.musicweb.uk.net (British Music Society Newsletter)

"...There is a typical Scandinavian chill or coolness in the marrow of this very adept and sensitive tonal string writing.....An intelligently assembled collection with Kalliope and At the End of Time standing strongly in the string orchestra and melodrama stakes."

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Leo
CD review 2005-09
DAPHNE 1018
Anders Kilström
by Hubert Culot/www.musicweb.uk.net

"...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]..."

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Libra
CD review 2005-09
DAPHNE 1018
Anders Kilström
by Hubert Culot/www.musicweb.uk.net

"...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]..."

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Lukaspassionen
Concert review 2017-04-10
Växjö Domkyrka
Lisa Larsson / Peter Boman / Domkyrkans oratoriekör and instrumental ensemble / Sten-Inge Petersson
Sad, dramatic but yet hopeful
by Kjell Nilsson / Smålandsposten

"...Jerusalem, Jerusalem, in the city without hope", thus the chorus begins the depiction of Jesus' last days. A city occupied by roman soldiers, torn apart by the men of power, worldly and spiritual potentates alike.

The approaching Easter fills the city with people and anxiety increases by the rumour that a Messiah is coming. No one has an overview of the events. Everything is being put to the test. Such is the situation when the gospel of Luke commences. Martinsson is not the first to approach this story. There are obvious references to Bach's great choral works in tonal language as well as in structure, with a narrating evangelist, a commenting chorus and several lyrical solo elements. But there is an unmistakable tone of Rolf Martinsson and his highly personal expression in melodies and harmony. Tradition meets exciting reinterpretation and the listener still easily grasps the music as a whole. The experience is reinforced by the collaboration with Göran Greider, a writer rooted in both subtle poetry and the reality that surrounds us. It is a particularly successful cooperation between these two, who have the ability to unite religious mysticism with the physical everyday matter.

Credit to Sten-Inge Petersson and Oratoriekören, who do great justice to the work spanning everything from big dramatic expressions to small simple comments in front of the violent events. A big chorus, which also can sing pianissimo! Many fine solo elements by individual members of the chorus contribute to the drama. And the two main soloists were particularly well chosen. Baritone Peter Boman fulfills the soft, vulnerable side of Jesus as well as the strong belief of being chosen, all the way to his death. And Lisa Larsson, evangelist and solo soprano, is at the center of the action! She illuminates the story with her radiant soprano and fantastic gift of emphatically living the performance. It is a beautiful reunion with Lisa Larsson, who nowadays is mostly heard internationally. The work is deliberately composed for a small instrumental ensemble consisting of an organ, a flute, an oboe, a cello, a bass and a small drum. But it is sufficient to complete the task. The musicians were absolutely brilliant; as a group and in many solos.

We all feel the Easter story of grief with the death on the cross, but there is also the promise that everything isn't lost. There is the resurrection and for us all a hope for the future. The concluding message from the chorus and the soloists depict a bright possibility:
'The islands of violence become green where you walk. Darkness will be gone at the song of an unknown bird, stones have been rolled aside - it is spring.'

A peak moment? Perhaps the soprano aria about Maria Magdalena, sad and beautiful and with a message that points right into our own time...."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-05-31
Severance Hall, Cleveland, US
Cleveland Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Cleveland Orchestra's season ends with Manfred Honeck and Lars Vogt
by Timothy Robson/Bachtrack

"...Martinsson's ten-minute piece was a brilliant opening for the concert in its astonishingly derivative music - and this is meant as a compliment. Martinsson has taken the best parts of some familiar musical genres (music theatre, film noir scores) and turned them into a fresh and attractive concert overture, just the right length to precede more substantial works. The work begins with grand, brassy fanfares and jazzy rhythms as if from the overture of a 1950s Broadway musical, followed by music as lushly romantic as Erich Korngold's film scores. A quiet, mysterious middle section features melodic solos on cor anglais and trumpet, adorned with shimmering percussion. The music builds to a fortissimo climax, with a truncated return of the opening music, which eventually slithers quietly and chromatically off to nowhere. Rolf Martinsson was present for the performance and took a bow at the end of the performance. The Cleveland Orchestra's performance was, presumably, authoritative. It's an overture worth hearing again..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-05-29
Severance Hall, Cleveland, US
Cleveland Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Cleveland Orchestra with Manfred Honeck & Lars Vogt at Severance Hall
by Mike Telin/CevelandClassical.com

"...The concert began with the Cleveland premiere of Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson's Open Mind. First performed in 2005 by Manfred Honeck and the Swedish Radio Orchestra at the Baltic Sea Festival, the work was written to serve as a short concert opener. Martinsson mysteriously notes that "A nine-tone scale forms the musical basis of the piece, but is still contrasting with form elements that are more freely treated with regard to musical material." Honeck led a stylish performance of a well-constructed piece that served the work's intended purpose as a concert overture. There was some fine solo trumpet and English horn playing, and the percussion section was in excellent form. The composer was on hand to receive the audience's warm applause..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-05-31
Severance Hall, Cleveland, US
Cleveland Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Sporadic Sparks from Honeck in Tchaikovsky
by Mark Sebastian Jordan/Seen and Herd, MusicWeb International

"...For the concert opener, Honeck brought Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson's Open Mind, which Honeck premiered in 2005. I very much liked the piece, a study in harmonic instability with an almost cinematic deployment of massive blocks of chords in the brass rising from and falling back into a sea of scurrying strings. While no program is given, nor needed, Honeck refined the storytelling aspects of the score, building its climaxes and letting them ebb in a way that gave it a real sense of going places-all very welcome."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-05-24
Severance Hall, Cleveland, US
Cleveland Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Guest artists with Cleveland Orchestra offer disappointing Severance Hall season finale
by Zachary Lewis/The Plain Dealer

"...the piece operates on the admirable premise of free expression..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-02-18
Carnegie Hall, New York, US
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
A Grab Bag of Sound
by Zachary Woolfe/The New York Times

"...His Carnegie concert with the Royal Stockholm had less tightness and surprise, even with the inclusion of the American premiere of Mr. Martinsson's broadly, almost belligerently wide-ranging overture "Open Mind" (2005). But the playing was inspired, with hushed, transparent threads of sound in "Open Mind" and an underweave of mellow winds and shining brasses throughout the evening..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2013-02-18
Carnegie Hall, New York, US
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra charms and delights at Carnegie Hall
by Kay Kempin/Bachtrack

"Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall is by no means a modest-sized concert stage, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra seemed to take up every square inch of it. The sheer size of the orchestra is initially what struck me, until the opening lines of Rolf Martinsson's Open Mind, Op. 71. An introductory overture for orchestra, this piece - which enjoyed its US première Friday night - followed a nine-tone scale but was nevertheless melodic, colorful and deeply romantic. Sounding more like a film score, Open Mind was full of grand musical gestures. From the opening, rapid glissando to the tender melody in the woodwinds to the frenetic, repeated theme in the strings, every musician on stage attacked their instrument to create an emphatic sound. It almost didn't seem possible that the RSPO could create an even bigger crescendo at the end when all of the sounds in the orchestra collided to produce one final, dissonant sound..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2009-10
ISCM, Wisby Strand, Visby, Gotland, Sweden
Swedish Radio SYmphony Orchestra / B. Tommy Andersson
by Stephen Lias/Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas, USA

"Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson's Open Mind provided a dynamic finale to the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra's concert and showed an impressive command of the nuances of orchestral writing."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2007-04-02
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK
Hallé Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Violinist with a marvellous mind of his own
by David Fanning/The Telegraph

"Occupying the middle ground between modernist complexity and postmodern accessibility seems to come naturally to Nordic composers. It certainly does to the Swede Rolf Martinsson - now in his early fifties and based in Malmö - whose 10-minute piece, Open Mind, was given its UK première by the Hallé. Starting with American-style pizzazz and frantic scurrying, Open Mind soon works its way round to more substantial matters, and its transition to soft-edged lyricism and swerve back to tough-minded energy are negotiated with impressive control. Without ramming the implications of its title down anyone's throat, this music does somehow feel mind-expanding, and Manfred Honeck, the Austrian who conducted its 2005 première, had his faith in the work amply borne out..."

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Open Mind
Concert review 2007-03-30
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK
Hallé Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck/Halle Orchestra @ Bridgewater Hall
by Robert Beale/Manchester Evening News

"At the beginning of the evening he offered a UK premiere - of Open Mind, a short, overture-like piece by the Swede, Rolf Martinsson. If proof were needed that today's composers can still write attractive, comprehensible music, with a clear structure and real effect in the concert hall, this is it. One of its most striking features is the fact that, in his central slow section, as well as writing in accessible lyrical vein, Martinsson is able to reduce his music to the point of (almost) silence: it was one of those hold-your-breath moments when the listener hangs on the notes to discover what's going to happen next."

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Opening Sounds
Concert review 2013-01-16
Stadthalle, Reutlingen, Germany
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen / Ola Rudner
by Otto Paul Burkhardt/Reutlinger Nachtrichten
GERMAN

"...Ha! Wunderbar!" strahlt Senta Berger. Wobei die Höhepunkte noch ausstehen - die Uraufführungen zweier eigens zur Eröffnung der Halle komponierter Auftragswerke. In "Opening Sounds" des Schweden Rolf Martinsson, einem Landsmann und Freund Ola Rudners, ließ es die Philharmonie richtig krachen: ein rhythmisch markantes, farbenreich schillerndes Stück Musik, explosiv gespielt, sinnlich glitzernd und mit filmmusikalischer Grandezza..."

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Opening Sounds
Concert review 2013-01-16
Stadthalle, Reutlingen, Germany
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen / Ola Rudner
Neujahrsgrüße aus der Hexenküche - Schwedischer Orchestersturm
by Armin Knauer/Reutlinger Nachtrichten
GERMAN

"...Und gleich noch eine Uraufführung: Die "Opening Sounds" des Schweden Rolf Martinsson fegen wie ein Sturmwind durch Rudners Reihen: blitzende Schlagwerkeffekte, Streicherwogen, Wetterleuchten der Bläser - ein Orchestersound, der wie Gischt aufschäumt..."

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Opening Sounds
Concert review 2013-01-16
Stadthalle, Reutlingen, Germany
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen / Ola Rudner
Triumph pur auf dem Pult
by Fabian Ziehe
GERMAN

"...Die zweite Uraufführung galt einem Werk von Rolf Martinsson. Der Schwede hatte es f¨ur die Stadthallen-Eröffnung eigens komponiert - ein Paradestück mit dynamischen, effektvollen Partien. Halt im Stück bot das Xylofon, das trotz des Blechs eine gläserne Struktur schuf: ein überzeugendes Werk in einem abermals überzeugenden Klangraum..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2017-05-13
Madetoja Hall, Oulu, Finland
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Oulu Symphony Orchestra / Johannes Gustavsson
Dazzling Lisa Larsson captivated the audience
by Hanna Laulajainen/Kaleva

"...Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson by the Swede Rolf Martinsson are dazzling (…) Lisa Larsson brought the kaleidoscope-like views on display in a charming way: sparkling light, nature, quiet sorrow and crystal-clear chinks high above. Her singing and performing were both totally captivating. The voice and the words floated naturally and unforced. Brilliant twists and turns were amusing and beautiful melodies charming. A little bit of traditional lied, a hint of Bernstein and Britten, a pinch of Nordic sound world - tasty (delicious) and new (…) Larsson was subtly dramatic and created delicate nuances. Her voice that rose to bright pitches with astonishing easiness brought even the smallest details to the fore.

A truly fine interpretation..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2017-01-19
NorrlandsOperan, Umeå, Sweden
Lisa Larsson / NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra / Rumon Gamba
Intimacy, intensity and total brilliance
by Bengt Hultman/Västerbottens-Kuriren

"...Divine singing achievement when Lisa Larsson performed the musical settings to Emily Dickinson's poetry at the season opening at NorrlandsOperan… Rolf Martinsson has managed to make use of the poem's short phrases filled with intimacy and intensity, suberbly interpreted by Rumon Gamba. Lisa Larsson sang divinely, mastering the entire range of colours, sometimes sweeping and sometimes restrained. Rumon Gamba kept a tight orchestra that certainly did not go on autopilot, and the short movements with their sensitive lyrics stemmed from an overall brilliance. I feel seduced by the inviting music and its short sequenses, and I bow deeply to Lisa Larsson's artistry and phenomenal voice, an essence of music that immediately embraces you..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2015-12-02
Recital Hall, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Roland Pöntinen, piano
Song of Norway...and Sweden: Lisa Larsson at the Concertgebouw
by Jenny Camilleri/BACHTRACK

"...The Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson made a big impression and were warmly applauded. Lashed with dissonance, but predominantly tonal, they translate Dickinson's brief lines into short musical phrases, often followed by musical word painting. The natural world is illustrated with a variety of rhythmic and harmonic means: a flourish for a bee, a descending postlude for lengthening shadows. The piano even imitates a real bobolink bird call. Originally, Mr. Martinsson scored the work for a large orchestra with a wide array of instrumental colours, and this performance made one curious about that version. Curious, but by no means dissatisfied. Mr. Pöntinen deserves high praise for extracting so many contrasting sounds and hues from the piano...these songs played to her (Ms. Larsson's) major strength - finding the feel of a piece and sending it across through the words..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2015-04-15
Weimarhalle, Weimar, Germany
Lisa Larsson / Staatskapelle Weimar / Stefan Solyom
Losgelöste Staatskapellenmusiker des DNT nutzten ihre Freiräume
by Hans-Jürgen Thiers/Thüringsche Landeszeitung
ENGLISH

"...Miniatures of atmosphere and colour ... For each part Martinsson finds an adequate musical language, in that he wisely tunes the elements of late romanticism, impressionism and colour with the mostly recitative, content-related singing style.?The songs seemed to be written directly for the mercurial, bright, clear and unobtrusively appealing soprano voice of Lisa Larsson. She gave the impression that a greater identification with the work would hardly be possible, as even the foreseeable obscurities of the lyrics merely seemed to overtake the listener's ear with an inexplicable kaleidoscope of colourful pictures..."

GERMAN

"...Und dann die Zehn Orchesterlieder nach Gedichten von Emily Dickinson von Rolf Martinsson (geb. 1956) - Miniaturen aus Stimmung und Farbe auf die symbolistisch anmutenden englischsprachigen Kurzgedichte, die in drei Abteilungen gegliedert sind: "Songs of Love", "Songs of Nature" und "Songs of Life". Für jede Abteilung findet Martinsson eine adäquate Tonsprache, indem er die Anteile spätromantischer, impressionistischer und koloristischer Elemente klug mit dem vorrangig rezitativisch geprägten, inhaltsbezogenen Gesangsstil abstimmt. Die Lieder schienen direkt für die quecksilbrig helle, klare und unaufdringlich ansprechende Sopranstimme von Lisa Larsson geschrieben zu sein. Sie verbreitete den Eindruck, eine größere Identifikation mit dem Werk sei kaum möglich, wenn auch bei den vorherzusehenden Textunverständlichkeiten lediglich ein unerklärbares Kaleidoskop bunter Bilder an des Hörers Ohr vorbeizuziehen schien..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2014-05-21
Stadthalle, Reutlingen, Germany
Lisa Larsson / Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen / Ola Rudner
Himmlische Freuden - Die Philharmonie mit Mahler und Martinsson
by Otto Paul Burkhardt/Schwäbisches Tagblatt
ENGLISH

"...The soprano version of the Dickinson songs, that has now had its German premiere, is written in a similar lush, flavourful style...The Philharmonic developed in this song cycle an almost film musical grandeur...And above it all the rich, soft soprano voice of Lisa Larsson soars: with much narrative irony and rejoicing top notes freed of all earthly heavyness. The sound was pure magic. Compliments..."

GERMAN

"...Prachtvoll, funkelnd, glamourös. Ja, auch so kann zeitgenössische Musik klingen. Zum Beispiel Martinssons Orchesterlieder...Sie verkörpern eine klangsinnliche, opulente Moderne...Die sopranversion det Dickinson-Lieder, die jetzt in deutscher Erstaufführung erklang, ist in ähnlich üppigem, süffigem Stil geschreiben...Und über allem schwebt Lisa Larssons voller, weicher Sopran: mit viel erzählerischer Ironie und jubelden, von aller Erdenschwere befreiten Spitzentönen. Das war starker Klangzauber. Kompliment..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2014-05-21
Stadthalle, Reutlingen, Germany
Lisa Larsson / Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen / Ola Rudner
Das Große im Winzigen
by Armin Knauer/Reutlinger General-Anzeiger
Ideale Interpretin für Martinsson: die Swedin Lisa Larsson
GERMAN

"...Bescheiden wirkt er (Rolf Martinsson), wie er da in klarem Englisch erzählt, zurückgenommen und doch knitz. Dickinson ähnlich auch darin, dass ihm beim Erfinden die Farben und Stimmungen förmlich explodieren. Ätherische Schleier von Vibrafon und Harfe vernimmt man da, schimmernde Streichergaze, Lichtreflexe von Glockenspiel und Celesta...Man spürt in dieser Musik die Atmosphäre, das Lichterspiel, den Duft im Garten vor dem Fenster der Emily Dickinson...Sopranistin Lisa Larsson ist die Stimme in diesen knappen Beschwörungen des großen Geheimnisses. Ihr gelingt es, dieses Aufleuchten des Jenseitigen im Winzigen mit Strahlkraft zu füllen. In der Beschwörung des Lebendigen ist sie sprudelnde Lebendigkeit, in kindlicher Begeisterung aufjauchzend, wenn Biene und Schmetterling als Kapitän und Steuermann im Abenteuerboot des Lebens dahingleiten. Und dann wieder sanft die Nuancen des Abendrots streichelnd, wo es um die Vergänglichkeit geht - ein traumverlorenes Balancieren zwischen dem Hinwegschwinden und dem Hinübergleiten in ein neues Sein..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2014-02-08
Konserthuset, Malmö, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot
Here the winter became a few degrees warmer
by Tobias Lund/Sydsvenskan

"...It is equally imaginative and beautiful. The blend of fullness and brightness in colour is made with a steady hand..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2013-05-17
De Geerhallen, Norrköping, Sweden
Lisa Larsson / Norrköping Symfoniorkester / Stefan Solyom
by Michael Bruze/Norrköpings Tidningar

"...Martinsson quickly catches the atmosphere of the poems...There is both mystery and warmth...Lisa Larsson knows how to catch and communicate the content absolutely splendidly..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2012-02-24
Kulturhuset Spira, Jönköping, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Västerås and Jönköping Sinfonietta / Hannu Koivula
Scandinavian Fantasy
by Leif A Jansson/Jönköpings-Posten

"This is the way it should sound!...the soprano Lisa Larsson in an excellent performance of the songs. In burning red and with exquisite technique she gave excellent interpretations to the poetical impressionisms by the American poetress Emily Dickinson...in refined orchestration and with a smell of West End as well as Ravel."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2012-02-23
Konserthuset, Västerås, Sweden
Lisa Larsson, soprano / Västerås and Jönköping Sinfonietta / Hannu Koivula
Fantastic collaboration
by Birgit Ahlberg-Hyse/Västmanlands Läns Tidning

"Tremendous, beautiful, original!...this high version is perfect to the themes of the cycle of poems: love, nature and life. Lisa Larsson brings to life the seemingly simple but truly existential content with lyrical clarity and spiritual warmth. She is in perfect command of her voice, also in the deep register..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2009-03-16
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK
Anne Sofie von Otter / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Vassily Sinaisky
Magnificent Malmö Symphony Orchestra
by Robert Beale / Manchester Evening News (City Life)

"...The concert was a triumph in particular for a composer who is Malmö's own, Rolf Martinsson, with the UK premiere of his Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson. They were sung by that present-day Swedish nightingale, Anne Sofie von Otter, herself making her debut at the Bridgewater Hall.

Auspicious

All in all, it was an auspicious evening, and the new work (it was only heard for the first time, in Copenhagen, a few days ago) would have been a revelation to those who expect new music always to be difficult. Rolf Martinsson creates sounds that are genuinely beautiful: in this case using the poems of the 19th century American recluse, Emily Dickinson, which are almost haiku-like in their simplicity. He takes the task straightforwardly, rarely using full orchestra but with a wealth of delicate, often magical sounds created through selective use of its resources. The percussion, in particular, are kept busy. The style is post-atonal and neo-Romantic. Think Colin-Matthews-meets-Delius, if you want English connections.

Brilliance

He's not afraid to illustrate naïve texts in a naïve way - 'Thunder', it says, and the accompaniment is a crash - nor to go for film score timbres. He writes concisely and ends the cycle with a flash of brilliance. It hardly needs saying that the quality of the singing was amazing. What a versatile and lovely instrument Anne Sofie's voice is, and how animated her presentation..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2009-03-15
Malmö Concert Hall, Sweden
Anne Sofie von Otter / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Vassily Sinaisky
Perfectly suited music written especially for von Otter
by Carl-Gunnar Åhlén / Svenska Dagbladet
translation Cecilia Emond Martinsson

"For Anne Sofie von Otter the contact with Rolf Martinsson turned out to be more profound than the former director of Malmö Symphony Orchestra, present opera director Anders Franzén could have suspected when he seven years ago introduced her to his composer in residence of that time. When Martinsson writes for a particular artist, as for example trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, trombonist Christian Lindberg and cellist Mats Lidström, the result is not merely an exciting concert for a skilled musician but above all a psychological portray of the artist. The same goes for his opus 82a for von Otter. At a superficial glance "Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson" consists of ten refined poems by Emily Dickinson, organized according to her model in the three categories of love, nature and life, coloured by Martinsson in the most ethereal watercolours available in the symphony orchestra palette. At Friday's performance in Malmö - the day after the premiere in Copenhagen in connection with Malmö Symphony Orchestra's first guest performance in the Danish Radio's new concert hall - the reason why he had taken such a long time was made clear. For never before have I heard a musical costume so miraculously fitting the voice of a singer. In the last song fame is described as a bee that can sing, sting and has a wing. Could von Otter be better described, even though Dickinson never heard her tones, glistening like thin metal threads? Martinsson economizes with the strong notes like a minister of finance but is, like a minister of communications, generous with the softest and most beautiful ones. Isn't it time for an opera commission?..."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2009-03-13
Copenhagen Concert Hall, Denmark
Anne Sofie von Otter / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Vassily Sinaisky
Tastefully with von Otter in focus
by Carl-Håkan Larsén / Sydsvenskan
translation Cecilia Emond Martinsson

"...but of course von Otter and Martinsson were at the centre of attention. The starting-point is somewhat controversial or paradoxical: Emily Dickinson's intense and intimate poems in a colourful orchestral costume. But Martinsson has forerunners in music history: Berlioz, Wagner, Mahler are milestones, while Martinsson with his basically impressionistic colours approaches the music of Benjamin Britten. The songs are ten in number, all of them short, lyrical snapshots, almost epigrammic. Ann Sofie von Otter knows how to use the entire range from opera-like brilliance to discrete cabaret-sound - an exquisite interpretation of a richly varied vocal part, sensitive to the lyrics. And Martinsson holds a tight rein over the orchestral dynamics but is otherwise using effects sparingly and tastefully, but sometimes on the verge of the ingratiating - with sweeping curtains of harp sounds, an almost melting violin solo and a quiet lagoon of seductive harmony. This is new music with great contact potential; Martinsson has found a recipe for success - if Ann Sofie von Otter catches on, "Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson" has the potential to interest and enchant an English and American audience as well."

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Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson
Concert review 2009-03-12
Konserthuset, Malmö, Sweden
Lisa Larsson / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot
by Claes Wahlin/Aftonbladet

"...When Lisa Larsson sings Rolf Martinsson's music to a bundle of poems by Emily Dickinson, she shows what a phenomenal voice she possesses. Soft, mellow and with a tranquil ardour. Rolf Martinsson has carefully given the poems musical life, and the ten short songs give you an idea of his coming opera that according to plan is scheduled for 2020 at the Royal Opera in Stockholm...."

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Shimmering Blue - Flute Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2005-09
NorrlandsOperan, Umeå, Sweden
Magnus Båge/flute, NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra / Paul Watkins
by Bengt Hultman/Västerbottens-Kuriren
(English translation by Inger Bodahl)

"...I have listened to many first performances of contemporary music, but rarely has a work's orchestral attire conveyed such spontaneous and captivating beauty, nor has any solo part revealed so much of the instrument's hidden powers as in this solo concerto..."

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Symbiosis
CD review
Nosag CD 152
Duo Gelland, violins
by Evis Sammoutis/Musical Pointers

"...The quiet and atmospheric ending of this piece leads very naturally to another substantial work, Rolf Martinsson's Symbiosis, which is also crafted - in principle - as a single movement (but this time divided with three clear sections). The duet plays the music very sensitively, the solos, colours and voice crossovers alternating very smoothly between the two performers..."

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Triptyk
CD review
Alea Recording and Tacoma New Music 6/2000 (CD)
Michael Davenport, bass clarinet / Kim Davenport, piano
by Diana Tolmie

"Originally composed for Swedish bass clarinettist Tommie Lundberg, fellow country man Rolf Martinsson's Triptyk: Fantasy for bass clarinet & piano, Op. 22 (1987) seems to demonstrate in the Espressivo; Molto tranquillo a very slow, emotional dark theme - rather imitating the dismantling of a madman's mind. The leggiero movement continues in the same vein, more brisk and somewhat hysterical - the madman speaks, at times with somewhat lucid moments. This is a very interesting and disturbing work."

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Vid tidens slut
CD review 2005
DAPHNE 1022
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marcus Lehtinen
by Allen Gimbel/American Record Guide

"At The End of Time (2002) is, believe it or not, a dreamy orchestral fantasy on "As Time Goes By", overlaid with a bittersweet recollection of a summer romance (and romance in general) by Swedish poet Jaques Werup. He reads it here for all it's worth, but, unfortunately for American listeners, in Swedish, so that will limit the audience for this lovely tidbit. But I can easily imagine an enterprising American actor picking this up (in translation) and having a field day with it......This (CD), then, is a real sleeper, and I give it my most enthusiastic welcome. Sweden is no stranger to neoromanticism, of course, but this composer is an impressive new contributor. Performances and sonics are exquisite."

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Vid tidens slut
CD review 2004-10
DAPHNE 1022
Jacques Werup / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Marcus Lehtinen
by Rob Barnett/www.musicweb.uk.net (British Music Society Newsletter)

"...This is a deliciously melancholic meditation on love and death.....An intelligently assembled collection with Kalliope and At the End of Time standing strongly in the string orchestra and melodrama stakes."

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Violin Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2007-10-13
Concert Hall, Västerås, Sweden
Jan Stigmer / Västerås Sinfonietta / Andrea Quinn
The Sinfonietta, Stigmer and Quinn was right on top
by Birgit Ahlberg-Hyse/Vestmanlands läns tidning
(English translation by Jan Stigmer/Cecilia Emond Martinsson)

"A couple of years ago Jan Stigmer visited Västerås.....I don't recall the piece but I remember Stigmer and his instrument, a lovely Stradivarius. Now it played the leading part in the hands of Stigmer in yet another contemporary violin concerto, one by Rolf Martinsson, written in collaboration with Stigmer. This is a stylish way of doing it since it does justice to this particular soloist. But if the piece is to be played in the future it will require musicians of the same brilliant quality. Stigmer brought out the rich capacity of the violin, the graceful melody, the elastic tender sound, the persistently expanding range, the thorough-paced energy and, above all, the crystal clear overtones. Such long flageolet tones, thin threads on which the music is suspended, can only be handled by a master."

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Violin Concerto No. 1
Concert review 2007-09
Konsert & Kongress, Jönköping, Sweden
Jan Stigmer / Jönköping Sinfonietta / Nicholas Daniel
An emotionally appealing piece
by Rikard Flyckt/Jönköpings-Posten

"Rolf Martinsson's violin concerto is written especially for Jan Stigmer and recently premiered by him and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra (...) Highly accessible and stunningly beautiful, this concerto speaks to the mind for sure (...) but it definitely stands out through its emotional quality. The solo part is incredibly handsome and beautiful, and with a soloist like Jan Stigmer there is absolutely nothing left to wish for. It's a great pity we haven't had the chance to hear him enough in recent years. But we have to make do with what we get, and on an evening like this he just gives so unbelievably much."

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Portrait CD

Dreams (DAPHNE 1022)

by Rob Barnett/Musicweb International 2005
Dreams (1022), Jaques Werup / Malmö SymfoniOrkester / Christoph König / Markus Lehtinen

"Martinsson at last enjoys a disc dedicated to his orchestral music. It comes his way just two years short of his fiftieth birthday. All praise again to the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs and to Daphne's guiding genius Björn Uddén who made the disc possible.

Martinsson has his own website at: http://www.rolfmartinsson.com/ where you can find out more about him. The key facts are that studies at Malmö (1981-85) were with Sven-David Sandström, Sven-Erik Bäck, Hans Eklund and Sven-Eric Johanson. He now teaches composition and arrangement at the same Malmö Academy. He is the Malmö orchestra's composer-in-residence. Martinsson has upwards of eighty compositions to his name.

The lengthiest piece here is the nine movement, 26 minute, Kalliope, a dance suite for string orchestra. Each movement celebrates a particular muse. It wasn't all that long ago that I was reviewing Cyril Scott's Third Symphony The Muses but that elusively exotic work, written in an idiom very different from that of Martinsson, portrays only Melpomene, Thalia, Erato and Terpsichore.

A few words about the muses. The Muses are the goddesses of culture and the arts. The Greek legend has it that Zeus lay with Mnemosyne ("Memory") for nine days. She gave birth to the Muses who then inhabited Mount Helicon -- "nine voices united in one song." Their companions are the Graces. Their leader is Apollo, the god of music and harmony.

The nine Muses are: Calliope, the fair of voice; Clio, the proclaimer; Euterpe, the giver of pleasure; Melpomene the maker of songs; Terpsichore, the dancer; Erato, the muse of love poetry; Polyhymnia, the goddess of many hymns; Thalia, the comedic muse; and Urania, the heavenly muse. A good site with more detail is:
www.eliki.com/portals/fantasy/circle/define.html

Kalliope's dance movements are Kalliope (transparent, cool yet fervent); Urania (use of pizzicato, a swooning allusion to La Valse and a sweetly singing solo violin); Terpsichore (hysteria and whirling activity); Euterpe; Polyhymnia (a massed string orchestra 'in flight'); Melpomene (a melancholy solo violin over trembling confiding strings); Clio (poignant, muscular and assertive writing); Erato (music that emulates the passage of time - a ticking clock and searching string tone); and Thalia (as in Terpsichore and Polyhymnia, a sense of the unrelenting hunt, the music whirling, twisting and turning; episodes of Shostakovich-like bleakness). Each concise episode vividly sketches in moods and spiritual states. There is a typical Scandinavian chill or coolness in the marrow of this very adept and sensitive tonal string writing.

At the End of Time (Vid tidens slut) is a piece for narrator, flute, oboe, clarinet and strings. The narrator, towards the end (10:22), becomes the singer. The words are spoken by their author Jacques Werup. This recording is taken from a live performance on New Year's Eve 2003 - there's the occasional muted cough in the background. There is no bombast in this music; nothing of the parade ground. Instead we get a burning sincerity delivered through the gently underpinning music and Werup's wondering narration. This is a deliciously melancholic meditation on love and death and into the piece is woven a candid quotation from Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto (7:20). It is a roundedly sentimental soliloquy. The accompanying booklet includes an English and German translation of the text.

The overture-length A.S. in Memoriam leans on the full, expressive warmth of the Malmö Strings. This is said to be 'perhaps the best-loved of Martinsson's compositions'. A.S. is none other than Arnold Schoenberg and the work Martinsson celebrates is Verklärte Nacht written in 1899 with the Martinsson written in 1999. The music has a piercingly intense and rolling quality alternating in style between Schoenberg and Scriabin. The piece ends in a smooth and suave breath.

Dreams is a tone poem for full orchestra. The piece was inspired by, reflects and interprets the composer's experience in seeing Kurosawa's film Dreams during the early 1990s. It is for me the least impressive work here. Martinsson portrays a sequence melting kaleidoscopically between idyll and nightmare. The idiom is decidedly 1970s modern with volleys from percussion, riotous violence, stabbing little mottos, and goblin thudding (12.39). The writing is very allusive with Straussian moments crowding into Ravel's La Valse and gorgeous Scriabin-style sighs (1.40). From 9:00 onwards the music settles into Sargasso dreamland with static held string chords and harp whispers. There is a remarkable bleak solo violin passage at 21:20. As the piece ends there is a modest heartbeat from the strings - a gesture familiar from as in Erato in Kalliope.

The Malmö Symphony Orchestra performs under its Principal Guest Conductor Markus Lehtinen for At the End of Time and for the other pieces Principal Conductor Christoph König.

This is a very welcome new arrival in the Daphne catalogue which you can inspect at http://www.daphne.se/ Other highlights from that Björn's roll-call include the upcoming Wirén string quartet series, the Nystroem songs, the Rosenberg piano concertos and two volumes of Rosenberg's solo piano music.

An intelligently assembled collection with Kalliope and At the End of Time standing strongly in the string orchestra and melodrama stakes."

by Allen Gimbel/American Record Guide 2005
Dreams (1022), Jaques Werup / Malmö SymfoniOrkester / Christoph König / Markus Lehtinen

"Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson (b 1956) studied at the Academy of Music in Malmo and includes Brian Ferneyhough on his roaster of teachers, but you'd never think of that name as you listen to this lush, romantic music. He currently teaches there and is composer-in-residence for this fine orchestra through 2006.

Kalliope (2004), for string orchestra, is a nine-movement suite in homage to the nine Muses. If you love bathing in orgies of lush late-romantic string sonority, then this is your piece. Each goddess takes up about three minutes of space, and Martinsson offers them with a nice variety of personality in the predominant divided-string orchestra texture. Kalliope gets a dramatic French overture-like introduction, you can see Urania's flickering pizzicato stars, Euterpe's flute is a gleaming melody of unearthly harmonics, and so forth. Martinsson has a fine sence for expressive melodic line (see Melpomene's beautiful song) and a well developed theatrical flair. This would make a terrific ballet. No Stravinskian restraint here - this is over-the-top sensuality, but with metriculous craftsmanship and refined Nordic taste. A wonderful surprise.

At The End of Time (2002) is, believe it or not, a dreamy orchestral fantasy on "As Time Goes By", overlaid with a bittersweet recollection of a summer romance (and romance in general) by Swedish poet Jaques Werup. He reads it here for all it's worth, but, unfortunately for American listeners, in Swedish, so that will limit the audience for this lovely tidbit. But I can easily imagine an enterprising American actor picking this up (in translation) and having a field day with it. The "AS" memorialized here is Arnold Schoenberg, specifically the Schoenberg of Verklärte Nacht, which is quoted liberally in this streamy homage, written in 1999 for the 100th anniversary of that glorius tone poem's completion.

The program concludes with Dreams (1995), a large orchestral work inspired by the Kurosawa film, where "a succession of concentrated dream scenes from a complex whole replete with musical associations". That pretty much describes the goings on in this colourful opus. Martinsson's dreamwork links angular abstractions with sultry romanticism, shimmering glitter, and airy flight. There's some scary nightmare to remember, of course, including a forbidding death march and some mysterious thuds and taps, but a gentle violin solo escorts us harmlessly out of the darkness. Martinsson is a fabulous orchestrator, and he held my attention completely through these 23 minutes. This, then, is a real sleeper, and I give it my most enthusiastic welcome. Sweden is no stranger to neoromanticism, of course, but this composer is an impressive new contributor. Performances and sonics are exquisite."

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Open Mind (DAPHNE 1029)

by artin Nyström/Dagens Nyheter 2007/2008
OPEN MIND (DAPHNE 1029), Mats Lidström / Magnus Båge / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck / Mats Rondin

"Most delicate, though, was "Shimmering Blue", the flute concerto from 2005 with the brilliant soloist Magnus Båge and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, with its slowly sliding Sibelius mysticism: It is like seeing the dancer Virpi Pahkinen do eights on a frozen lake completely forgotten by the world. "Best track - Shimmering Blue"

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Open Mind (DAPHNE 1029)

by various reviewers 2007/2008
OPEN MIND (DAPHNE 1029), Mats Lidström / Magnus Båge / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck / Mats Rondin

"The music is attractive, interesting, harmonious and accessible. The performances are commendably alive."
Stig Jacobsson/HiFi Musik

"His tone language is stunningly attractive, revelling in sonorous beauty."
Sofia Nyblom/Svenska Dagbladet

"Rolf Martinsson in full-figure with excellent compositions. I say: 'Thanks a lot!'"
Carl-Håkan Larsén/Sydsvenska Dagbladet

"'Open your mind' and set out on an exhilarating musical journey."
Renée Bisori/Nerikes Allehanda

"An exciting release from one of Sweden's most exciting record companies."
Mikael Bengtsson/Norra Västerbotten

"4 of 5"
The jury decision/CD-revyn Swedish Radio P2

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Open Mind (DAPHNE 1029)

by David Moore/American Record Guide May/June 2008
OPEN MIND (DAPHNE 1029), Mats Lidström / Magnus Båge / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck / Mats Rondin

"Rolf Martinsson (b. 1956) knows how to make an orchestra sound exciting without making them sound crazy. This composer accepts music and musicians in a traditional kind of way, complete with all the fixings, harmony as she is taught, instruments as they are played, and, perhaps most important, life as it is lived. Then he expresses it all effortlessly in colourful, deeply felt orchestral expression, feeling no need to exaggerate any of life's elements at the expense of others but carrying us off into the world as it is, not as he wishes it were. Perhaps I should note that part of my enthusiasm is probably in response to some of the other recent composers I have been hearing who don't seem to feel satisfied with the world for one reason or another. But it is good to hear an excitingly colourful orchestral piece like Open Mind, a demanding but highly satisfying cello concerto played by a really fine cellist like Lidstrom. And then, just in case you liked the cadenzas, we have a solo cello piece based on that material, called Expose. Finally comes a considerable 26-minutes-in-one-movement flute concerto called Shimmering Blue, emphasizing both a flute glissando technique and a matching orchestral sound. It is a lovely piece of many moods, played with considerable tonal variety by Bage. The whole program is recorded in beautifully resonant sound and I found it a satisfying experience with a sensitive composer."

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Open Mind (DAPHNE 1029)

by Sofia Nyblom/Svenska Dagbladet 2007-11-07
OPEN MIND (DAPHNE 1029), Mats Lidström / Magnus Båge / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck / Mats Rondin
Rate: ***** (5 of 6)

"The name of Rolf Martinsson's flute concerto is "Shimmering Blue", and blue is also one of the main colours in the composer's spectrum of colours, like jazz and closely related impressionism. His musical language is stunning and attractive, revelling in sounding beauty - close to the Frenchman Henri Dutilleux. In the tone poem "Open Mind" (2005) as well as in the flute concerto, the composer paints impudently filmic, with foaming string waves crowned with cymbals like Korngold. But it is the introvert slidings which rise like whale singing from the deep oceans, and save Martinsson's work from being kitschy - and superbly played by both Mats Lidström and the flute player Magnus Båge."

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Solo (DAPHNE 1018)

by Hubert Culot/www.musicweb.uk.se
Solo (1018), Anders Kilström, piano

"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]."