3(=picc).3.3.ssax.2.cbsn - 4.3.2.btrbn.1 - timp - perc(3): crot / glsp / t.bells / tgl / 4 tom-t / 3 congas / guiro / 2 vibraslap / BD – pno – cel – strings (large section preferred)
Score on special sale from the hire library, score and parts for hire
Through Lost Landscapes is a joint commission from the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, the BBC Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Minnesota and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras, and the first performance took place on February 7, 2020, in the Sala Sinfónica in Valladolid, with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León conducted by Andrew Gourlay.
The piece opens with what must be the grandest yet of Hillborg’s clusters, supported with three huge chords, the third marked ‘Ecstatic’. That unleashes a hectic chase, a jazzy piano prominent in the texture. The texture begins to shimmer, with waves of colour from piano and celesta in particular. Another series of massive chords, linked by rolling melodic lines, suggests the image of the forest, with treetrunks of cathedral grandeur holding up a vast carpet of vegetation; a solo soprano saxophone emerges in a rare island of calm. Another chase (an echo of the monkeys in Koechlin’s symphonic poem Les bandar-log?) initiates a never-ending downwards glissando, initiating the idea that will underlie most of the rest of the piece. A series of woodwind patterns suggests some treetop activity, an idea that becomes hard to resist when, two pages later in the score, Hillborg marks them as ‘imitating bird calls’. (Whether by accident or design, these calls sound very like those of the Greater Bird-of-Paradise, Paradisaea apoda.) Under the cover of another glissando, the bird calls are transformed into a swift pulse, but it soon falls silent, leaving room for another passage of noisy bird calls. The shimmering waves of piano and celesta return, slowing down to allow another grandiose chord to envelope the orchestra. The Birds-of-Paradise are heard again, twice, and the music sinks gently to rest.