MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

A Rousing Reunion for Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic

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Esa-Pekka Salonen © Benjamin Suomela

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s return to Walt Disney Concert Hall highlighted his gifts as composer and conductor alike and underscored how an orchestra can sound genuinely 21st century.

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Filed under: Beethoven, Los Angeles Philharmonic, review, Salonen

More Dutilleux

Prom 32 this week featured Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, Mahler 1, and Dutilleux’s The Shadows of Time (one of his last works). The concert is still accessible to hear online for a few more days here.

Meanwhile, Daniel Stephen Johnson reports on the Seattle Symphony’s latest addition to its acclaimed Dutilleux series under conductor Ludovic Morlot:

While the orchestral playing is as ravishing as listeners have come to expect from Morlot and Seattle, the soloists brought in from outside the band are among the very hottest players on their respective instruments. The playing of violinist Augustin Hadelich, fresh from his Grammy win for last year’s entry in this Dutilleux cycle, is as intensely expressive in Sur le même accord as it is precise, while harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani executes Les citations with his characteristic wit and panache, and the cimbalom playing of percussionist Chester Englander lends an unexpected delight to Mystère de l’instant.

And my own recent profile of Hadelich for Strings Magazine is available here. September’s Gramophone will have my story on the Seattle Symphony and Dutilleux.

Filed under: Henri Dutilleux, Ludovic Morlot, Salonen, Seattle Symphony

RIP Einojuhani Rautavaara

“Devastated by the passing of Einojuhani Rautavaara [1928-2016], great original voice in Finnish music. Also my first composition teacher and friend,” Esa-Pekka Salonen posted on Facebook at the news of the Finnish master’s death.

From The Guardian‘s obituary:

A prolific composer, he wrote eight symphonies, nine operas, 12 instrumental (and one choral) concertos, plus a wide variety of orchestral, chamber, instrumental, choral and vocal works. He was also a highly perceptive writer on music and a teacher: many Finnish composers who have enjoyed international success were his pupils, including Paavo Heininen and Kalevi Aho.

 

Filed under: Einojuhani Rautavaara, music news, Salonen

Salonen’s Nyx

Here’s a recent program essay I wrote on Esa-Pekka Salonen’s NyxThe composer himself is conducting the San Francisco Symphony this week in a program that includes The Firebird and Ravel’s Mother Goose.

To music lovers, the mention of Finland seems to conjure the ghost of Sibelius. For the gifted Finnish composers of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s generation in particular, Sibelius is a commanding presence. And yet such “anxiety of influence” can indeed generate creative innovation. Over the past several decades there has emerged an extraordinary generation of creative thinkers staking out new territory, and the once-marginalized Finland has turned into a progenitor of some of today’s most interesting composers.

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Filed under: new music, Salonen

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