Total Immersion: Anders Hillborg review – deep dive into a demanding and fascinating body of work
The Swedish composer’s attractive, eclectic, sometimes playful, often profound music is virtuosic, both in the tremendous demands it makes on its performers, and in the dexterous, even glamorous way Hillborg handles his forces, irrespective of whether he is writing instrumental duets or works for a Mahler-sized orchestra.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, February 24 2020
Total Immersion: Anders Hillborg — a composer opening doors to new landscapes
...the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Sakari Oramo, presented a sonically spectacular survey of Hillborg’s output to date. For the range of his musical imagination, nothing beats Eleven Gates, in which a series of tableaux open up multiple visions — horizons without end, whirlwinds, a universe glittering with stars, and a wailing effect on the woodwind, those “elastic seabirds”.
The programme covered a wide period. Another showpiece, this time for clarinet, was Peacock Tales (Millennium Version), in which soloist Martin Fröst not only played a technically dazzling solo part from memory, but also danced like a peacock, aided by a mask and lighting effects — a tour de force that transcended the gimmicks. The Violin Concerto No.1, dating earlier from 1992, foreshadows much of later Hillborg, but in a more abstract way. Through Lost Landscapes, a BBC commission receiving its first UK performance, brought us right up to date, with more vistas in sound and a BBC orchestra on top form.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, Februray 24 2020
"If I didn’t fall head over heels for everything on offer, I did have a soft spot for the magical Sound Atlas… The Swedish composer has an ear for alluring soundscapes. Here, we sank into a disorientating vortex before rising again. The glass harmonica created an otherworldly halo to the orchestral palette; bright, soft-edged and unexpected as the sun’s corona."
Rebecca Franks, The Times, 18 January 2019
"The eerie whine of the glass harmonica permeated Hillborg’s Sound Atlas
, its chill tones suggesting scenes as much visual as musical: a snowy landscape, a leaden sky over an equally leaden sea, an abandoned church still resounding with ancient music."
Nick Kimberley, The Evening Standard, 17 January 2019