Classics Today 10/10.
Jan Sandström (b. 1954) is among the most frequently performed Swedish composers on the international scene today. His ‘Motorbike Concerto’ for trombone and orchestra is for instance one of the most played Swedish orchestral works of all times, with more than 600 performances since its première in 1989. The Motorbike Concerto was the first major result of the collaboration between Sandström and the trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg – a collaboration which has evolved over the years, to the point that Lindberg here conducts the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in four works reflecting Sandström’s trajectory as composer for orchestra, from Éra (1979–80) to Ocean Child in its revised 2004 version. In Sandström’s music different compositional strands co-exist: Eastern philosophy, minimalism and the world of serialism were early influences, and for many years Sandström also worked in the field of spectral music. But with the ballet En herrgårdssägen (A Manor Saga) from 1987, heard here in the form of a suite for orchestra, the composer discovered a new approach to composition, stimulated by the idea of music as narrative, an approach which culminated in Sandström’s expressed wish to ‘incorporate the whole world’ in his music. One result is Ocean Child, which was inspired by a snorkelling trip the composer made with his daughter to Thailand. Sandström himself has called the work ‘a tribute to life, to curiosity and childish naïvety’, and the result is music that is deceptively simple, yet which draws the audience in, inviting them to embark on a musical adventure.