Lars Karlin – Newspaper reviews
Newspaper: Westfälische Nachrichten vom 11.12.2012
Von Arndt Zinkant
„Schon das erste Stück, Rossinis Ouvertüre zum „Barbier von Sevilla“, bewies Lars Karlin es
an der Posaune mit dem kleinen Trompeten-Bruder aufnehmen wollte. Staccato-Gewitter, das
sich gewaschen hatte, ließ dem Publikum die Münder offen stehen“
„Virtuos dargebotene Klangdelikatessen“
Von Rudolph Wesner
Der Junge, 1983 in Schweden geborene Posaunist Lars Ragnar Karlin gilt als aufstrebender
Virtuose auf diesem Instrument. Von Michael Haydn führte er zusammen mit dem
Kammerorchester Arcata Stuttgart das Konzert für Altposaune und Streicher in D-dur auf. In
den beiden schnellen Sätzen könnte sich Lars Ragnar Karlin in beeindruckender Weise als
perfekter Virtuose auf der Posaune vorstellen, der in feinster Intonation die darin einthaltenen
Kadenzen ausführte. Mit melodiöser, einfühlsamer Gestaltung bestach der Solist im
Andantino das es geschmeidig und in zarter Klangentfaltung ausführte.
Nach der Pause führten Solist und Orchester ein Concertino für Posaune und Streicher von
Lars-Erik Larsson auf, der von 1908 bis 1987 lebte. In den Drei Sätzen des Stückes könnte
sich Lars Ragnar Karlin erneut als bravouröser Könner auf seinem Instrument profilieren, der
die kontrastreichen Akzente der Komposition auf glanzvolle Weise herausstellte und im
Finale die in bewegtem, federdem Rhythmus sich ausbreitenden scherzohaften Elemente mit
beschwichten Elan gestaltete“
Måns Uggla – Nerikes Allehanda
„Speaking of Sound, Lars Karlin has a tone in his Trombone which I´ve rarely heard before.
Soft, concentrated and rich in overtones. He is also gifted with a legato playing out of the
ordinary. One of the concert´s highlights was his Solo Performance of three Medieval Dances
on his Alto Trombone, both musically as well as technically. “
Posaunisten bieten virtuoses ”Mundwerk” - Schwäbisches Zeitung
Die ”Trombone Unit Hannover” begeistert bei den Wankender Altstadtkonzerten mit
”Für Acht Posaunen gibt es wenig Originalliteratur, so ist die Trombone Unit aus
Bearbeitungen angewiesen. Da trifft es sich gut, dass Mitposaunist Lars Karlin eine sichere
Hand für Bearbeitungen hat. So lebte das Konzert nicht nur von spannungsreicher Musik,
sondern auch von der Spannung, wie musikalische Figuren und Stimmungen in ein neues
Medium übertragen werden. Wie bei einer Übersetzung in eine fremde Sprache muss dabei
der Sinn erhalten bleiben.”
Lars Karlin – CD Reviews
Swedish Trombone Wilderness (2014) Lars Karlin. Genuin 15337 - 62 minutes
By Kilpatrick – American Record Guide
“Swedish Trombonist Lars Karlin, winner of the 2011 German Music Competition, opens his
terrific all-Swedish album with Anders Hillborg´s very tricky “Hautposaune” (1990) for
trombone and electronic tape. Then Karlin switches gears completely, playing Lars-Erik
Larsson´s Concertino (1955) for trombone and strings. It is good to hear him play I with so
much hear, thoughtfulness, and freedom of tempo. Trombonists will note, and probably enjoy,
his revision of the end of the cadenza, where he ascends to high notes rather than descend to
low notes. II is slow and lyrical, III, very fast.
Karlin is a member of Trombone Unit Hannover, a superb octet whose recent album was a
knockout. They are heard in the quirky “Kinky Creatures” (1998), by Swedish trombone
virtuoso Christian Lindberg, and in Karlin´s arrangement of three Swedish songs.
All of the solo works are absorbing and call attention to Karlin´s robust tone, steely
strength, amazing technical skill, and remarkable ability to sing and play simultaneously.
Hugo Alfvén´s “Vallflickans Dans” (Shepherd Girl´s Dance) is so fast, and played so
cleanly, that my jaw hung open as I listened. But then I remembered that Christian Lindberg,
the world´s leading trombonist from the 1980s into the 21st Century, did the same thing many
years ago on his Romantic Trombone album (BIS). Lindberg also recorded Roland Pöntinen´s
whimsical, contemplative “Camera” (1981) on his Burlesque Trombone album. Karlin ends
this album with is, and I must say that I rather would listen to his account than Lindberg´s.
Review – Recording of the Month - Swedish Trombone Wilderness
MusicWeb International - Göran Forsling
Swedish trombonist Lars Karlin has for some years now been active in Germany as a
freelance musician, composer, and arranger. For his debut solo disc, he has chosen an all-
Swedish program. It's mainly contemporary or near-contemporary music but also includes
a genuine modern classic — from a Swedish perspective that is — and some arrangements of
his own brand of popular Swedish music. Much of this is virtuoso stuff or technically
challenging, and having heard Karlin live in various constellations I was well aware of his
credentials as a player before even opening the jewel case. I had no reason to be disappointed
– on the contrary, we hear marvelously assured playing throughout and there are true musical
jewels hidden away on this disc.
The opening piece, Hautposaune for Trombone and Tape was
written with Christian Lindberg in mind. Lindberg, the world-renowned
Swedish trombonist is also represented here by
three works. Hautposaune is a short piece, rhythmically vital
with a singable middle section. The combination of pre-recorded sounds and live solo playing
is fascinating. The virtuoso aspect is breathtaking.
The modern classic I mentioned is Lars-Erik Larsson’s Concertino for trombone and strings.
Larsson ought to be fairly well-known internationally, primarily for his Pastoral Suite and the
lyrical suite Förklädd gud (God in Disguise). In the mid-1950s he wrote twelve concertinos
for solo instruments and strings. The string parts were relatively simple and not
insurmountable for amateur musicians, while the solo part is a vehicle for professional
virtuosos. Larsson’s idiom is also accessible for the general public, which all those years ago
ensured that people flocked to hear this music played by their local orchestra. With a soloist
like Lars Karlin this trombone concertino can’t avoid making its mark. His playing of the
pompous prelude is powerful. This is matched by his wonderful legato in the aria and the
spirited reading of the joyous finale, which dances – elegantly but powerfully. There is more
than a few drops of Shostakovich here.
Christian Lindberg contributes with three pieces. Joe Jack Binglebandit is a showpiece for
Lindberg’s onetime student, colleague and friend Jonas Bylund, today professor in Hanover.
He was also an important inspiration for Lars Karlin who studied with him in Hanover. This
piece, says Lindberg, is “also a portrait of the wonderful, boisterous little rascal Jonas
Bylund”. Here he explores the instrument’s possibilities in many different ways: growls, big
leaps and glissandos. The latter something that Lars Karlin fell in love with very early, at age
twelve, when he discovered the instrument. The title Kinky Creatures for 4 trombones makes
one wonder whether trombonists are kinkier than other creatures but they definitely are able
to produce stranger noises than most other instrumentalists. Four of them here give an
impression of Bronze Age horns but there are roots in both late Renaissance polyphony and
jazz. Land of the Rising Sun, which is a world premiere recording, may refer to Japan or
Anatolia – the peninsula between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean (today’s Turkey) – or
Biafra in south-east Nigeria - it was the title of their National Anthem. It was written for
trombone and the occasional foot-stamp. There's a slow beautiful opening, a middle section
with fast chit-chat and some excursions down in the lowest register. Then there is a beautiful
finale, played with exquisite legato.
The other world premiere recording is Benjamin Staern’s Humorous Monologue, written for
Lars Karlin as part of an opera, premiered in 2014. This reminds me that some years ago he
did a whole concert with songs and opera arias from Jussi Björling’s repertoire, arranged for
trombone and piano. His trombone really sang. Staern’s monologue is great fun and I imagine
that it’s even more fun to see as well.
Folke Rabe was a pioneer for improvisation and graphic notation in contemporary art music.
He was himself a trombonist and wrote Basta in 1982 for Christian Lindberg who was a
student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Here Rabe introduced chords that are
produced when the player sings and plays at the same time. This is a technique that is
employed elsewhere on this CD as well. Asked whether there is a story or programme behind
the music Rabe says: Not exactly, but he could imagine the player as a kind of messenger
rushing in, delivers his message and then – BASTA! – rushes away. Basta in Italian means
Enough! A feeling of stress and haste is notable, especially towards the end when the player
so to speak stumbles over the phrases.
Four arrangements by Lars Karlin are also included. The first is Vallflickans dans (Dance of
the Shepherd Girl) from the ballet Bergakungen (The Mountain King). In the original it is a
tour de force for the strings. It serves as a favourite encore for Swedish orchestras on tour to
show off the virtuosity of the string section. Played on trombone, a much slower and heavier
instrument, at the original speed is a feat that seems almost unbelievable. Karlin has both the
agility and the clean intonation to make it all sound effortless.
The three other pieces are less of virtuoso show-offs than beautiful melodies in tasteful
arrangements. All three have connections with the province of Dalecarlia, Karlin's home
territory. Koppången is a song inspired by the wilderness in the northern part of the province -
hence I suppose the title of the CD. It was composed by one of the foremost folk fiddlers in
the region, Per-Erik Moreaus. Håkan Norlén was not from Dalecarlia but had many
connections with the province. Visa vid midsommartid is a setting of a poem that was also
inspired by the Dalecarlian wilderness. Gammal fäbodpsalm is a traditional folk melody that
has become immensely popular in the organ setting by Oskar Lindberg. He was born in
Dalecarlia, even though he spent most of his adult life as an organist and composer in
Stockholm. These arrangements for trombone ensemble are true declarations of love from
Karlin to his home district.
Well-known pianist Roland Pöntinen was only 18 when he penned Camera, a lyrical
reflection with some swing feeling.
Hats off to all involved in this enormously enjoyable production and most of all for Lars
Karlin’s brilliant musicianship and virtuosity. A must for all trombone enthusiasts and all
lovers of entertaining and thrilling music off the beaten track.”
Living on the Edge
Trombone unit Hannover.
Trombones: Frederic Belli, Mateusz Duwlecki, Karol Gajda, Lars Karlin, Angelos Kritikos,
Tomer Maschwkowski, Tobias Schiessler, Mateusz Sczendzina, Michael Zühl & Yuval
Wolfson. Percussion: Martin Hennecke, Dominik Minsch & Johannes Walter.
Genuin Classics 1781 (Naxos of America, 1810 Columbia Ave. , Ste.28, Franklin, TN 37064,
Georg Friedrich Händel / Lars Karlin: Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351. Sergei
Porkofiev / Lars Karlin: Suite from the Ballet ”Romeo and Juliet” op.64. Modest Mussorgsky /
Lars Karlin: Pictures at an Exhibition.
”Living on the edge is the second album by this German ensemble released on the Genuin
label. The outer limits of the trombone are out to test here with arrangements of three
masterpiece works. As suggested by the title, the musical and technical demands are very
close to the edge of what is possible for the instrument. Each work was arranged for the
Trombone Unit Hannover by Lars Karlin and each is very close to the original with little
material omitted. One might wonder how these pieces could have been written for anything
else other then eight trombone players. This CD also marks the ten-year anniversary for
Trombone Unit Hannover. Karlin states that this ensemble has learned how to adapt quickly
to his ideas and style of writing.
The Händel Music for the Royal Fireworks is a display of true regal brilliance. A high level of
clarity is executed throughout with a lightness that is not usually associated with this type of
ensemble. Several passages of multiple tonguing are passed back and forth seamlessly and
then answered with a sensitive ornamented theme. It is admirable that this piece of early
orchestral music can be represented so authentically with this instrumentation. Listeners will
appreciate characteristics from polar ends of the spectrum on the suite from Romeo and
”Dances of the Knights” can be summed up by sheer power of great magnitude, while the
”Young Juliet” resembles an Italian caccia. The latter arrangement makes creative use of
counterpoint. ”Juliet ́s Funeral” features incredibly loud dissonant clusters creating an
ominous effect. The ensemble should be applauded for keeping intact an impressive
ensemble sound (which is also balanced) at such high volumes. ”The Promenade” from
Pictures at an Exhibition is arranged in the original key as played by the trumpets resulting in
stratospheric trombone playing. The use of mutes in the second ”Promenade” creates an
unexpected color not yet heard. ”The Old Castle” is one the more extensive movements and
provides imagery of mystique. The famous solo on ”Bydlo” is noble as expected and is
performed seamlessly on both statements. Once again, amazing power is on display in the
striking sonorities written in ”Catacombs”, reminding the listener of such moments earlier in
the disc in the Prokofiev. The driving force behind ”Baba-Yaga” is certainly aided by the
percussion in this arrangement. However, equally impressive to this aggressive nature is the
ethereal effects written throughout in what seems like unconventional writing, but is actually
masterfully arranged and executed by the performers. There is no better way to wrap up a
disc than the warmth and beauty of sound on ”The Great Gate of Kiev”. The Trombone Unit
Hannover definitely delivers what the listener expects to hear on Mussorgsky ́s monumental
Living on the Edge is an album representing a model trombone ensemble sound with
virtuosic flurries never before thought possible on the instrument. A tremendous job well
done by the performers and arranger Lars Karlin.”
- Nathan Dishman. Iowa State University