Last week marked the New York premiere of New York Philharmonic composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg’s “Kraft,” composed (in 1985 for the Helsinki Festival) for orchestra and percussion — percussion made from found items.
New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini noted in his review of Thursday’s New York Philharmonic performance of the work:
“Kraft” (German for “power”) is seldom performed, partly because it is so challenging, but also because Mr. Lindberg stipulates that the percussion resources of the orchestra be fortified with stuff collected from junkyards in the city where the piece is being played, to lend the music local flavor. Mr. Lindberg and the Philharmonic’s game percussionists recently made a fruitful scavenger trip to a junkyard on Staten Island.
Besides the usual assortment of gongs and drums, placed onstage and in stations all around the hall, there were helium tanks, table legs, plastic tubes and bowls filled with water (to make gurgling sounds), and a car hood advertising “Rapid Sewer Cleaning,” which, as Mr. Gilbert [Alan Gilbert, NY Phil’s music director] admitted in some helpful spoken comments before the performance, had no function in the piece. “We just liked it,” he said.
But all sorts of other car parts were conscripted for this elaborate performance: suspension coils, ventilator screens, cranks for tire pumps. Only a longtime auto mechanic could identify all these period instruments.