The Scandinavian countries, with well-funded symphony orchestras, have been producing a new generation of composers who write for them. The best of these, a group that undoubtedly includes Anders Hillborg, have begun to attract attention and commissions from outside the region. Three of this group of four works from between 2010 and 2014 (Hillborg has been at it for decades) had commissioners from outside Sweden, and the mighty centerpiece, Sirens, was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (whose former music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conducts it) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
As demonstrated by the four works on this disc, the music of Anders Hillborg couples complexity with directness, sensuality with humour, hypnotic meditation with pulsating rhythms, and all is combined with an original sense of form and unfaltering craftsmanship.
Goodbye is one of, if not the most expansive and diverse collections pianist Bobo Stenson has ever released. This is his first ECM release in five years. Paul Motian takes over the drum chair vacated by Jon Christensen, and his shimmering, deep listening and subtlety add to the excellence and sheer quiet beauty of this recording. Goodbye is more a recording of songs than jazz pieces – at least in a traditional sense. This trio doesn't swing, they play, they slowly dance through the lyric pieces found here.