Get Yer Tickets: Magnus Lindberg's Heavy Metal at the New York Phil

by Seth Colter Walls

Attention all European music-scribblers who are guests in this country: this is how you composer-in-residence. Finland’s Magnus Lindberg, currently posting up for his second season with the New York Philharmonic, has just raised the bar by taking the band to a Staten Island salvage yard in order to look for the metal scraps that will be used in the local premiere of his early masterpiece “Kraft,” which you should really consider going to see this Thursday, Friday or next Tuesday. (Student rush: just $12.50!)

“All the classical instruments using metallic sounds have beautiful, resonant sounds,” Lindberg says in the video, “so one of the purposes of this trip is to find metallic sounds that don’t always have that resonant … or more … getting to that drum [klang klang klang klang].” Finland, between this guy and Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho, you are so awesome.

Here’s the first minute from Salonen’s recording of “Kraft.”

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”From ‘Kraft’” dl=”0″]

And huh, wow: you can download that piece and Lindberg’s Piano Concerto on Amazon for $4.45, I guess? I remember this release being more expensive-slash-unavailable a couple years back.

But the live experience is definitely going to be something to behold: musicians roaming around among the audience, percussion scraps held aloft from the ceiling, speakers throughout the hall, plus the loud banging stuff and the spectral harmonies in the woodwinds and brass. Also: Debussy and Sibelius on the program.

Here’s another video with Lindberg, in which he talks about his punk-ish early years, and pronounces Einstürzende Neubauten correctly. Score.

Seth Colter Walls is The Awl’s chief correspondent for the difficult arts.