Salonenby Yefim Bronfman
Esa-Pekka Salonen is known primarily as a conductor, particularly for his work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but he considers himself essentially a composer with a day job as a conductor. His high profile as a performer certainly opens the possibilities for top-notch performances of his works, and he makes ample use of those opportunities, writing for some outstanding international ensembles and soloists. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and pianist Yefim Bronfman are featured here in the composer's "Helix," a work for orchestra, and his "Piano Concerto" and "Dichotomie for piano solo." Each of the pieces demonstrates Salonen's ability to incorporate the rigorous disciplines inculcated by his training with modernists such as Franco Donatoni and Niccolò Castiglioni into a friendlier musical language more characteristic of his teacher Einojuhani Rautavaara and his colleagues Magnus Lindberg and John Adams. While his music would never be mistaken for theirs, the composers whose music his most resembles in the pieces recorded here are John Adams, for its harmonic language and expressive sweep, and Louis Andriessen, for its restless, sometimes mechanistic propulsiveness. "Helix," a 10-minute tone poem, bristles with energy and drive, as does "Méchanisme," the first movement of the piano solo "Dichotomie." The "Piano Concerto," which Salonen wrote for his friend Bronfman, is an especially attractive and varied work, structurally inventive and surprising, full of brilliantly original orchestrations. Bronfman pulls off the virtuosic piano part with panache, and Salonen's vibrant conducting creates enormous momentum. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clean and sparkling.
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
Performance CreditsYefim Bronfman Primary Artist
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There is a heightened level of musical exhilaration in Los Angeles currently. The media is focusing on the final concerts of Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen as he closes his 17 year tenure at the helm of the now world class orchestra he has nurtured. In celebration of that event DGG has released this recording of his Piano Concerto written for Yefim Bronfman, the soloist on this recording. For those who have been following the conducting career as well as the composing career of Salonen this recording will satisfy on every level. And now we await the release of his just-completed Violin Concerto composed for Leila Josefowicz that was premiered this week in one of Salonen's last concerts. The Violin Concerto is even more virtuosic and complex and satisfying musically than the Piano Concerto: watch for it. Salonen has grown from a composer of fascinatingly complex modern music to works that are not only inventive but are also so rich in color and thematic material and scale such emotional heights that they seem destined to become standards. The Piano Concerto is a perfect example of this present level of compositional finesse. More a conversation between piano and orchestra than the standard 'orchestra accompanied piano extravaganza', this concerto poses questions and comments from the keyboard that are then answered by various choirs in the orchestra. The piano writing is daring and demanding technically, but that never seems to be the focus. The entire work comes across as a thorough-composed dialogue between equal partners - piano and orchestra. Yefim Bronfman, long a colleague with Salonen, delivers an electrifyingly fine performance of this score, at once full of whimsy and of depth in thought, and is always at one with his conversational partner - the orchestra, conducted by Salonen. It is a major masterpiece. The CD adds the orchestral 'Helix' and the piano 'Dichotomie', both already well known to audiences from the rather frequent performances they are enjoying. It is a fine coupling, but doubtless the tendency for listening to this CD will be repeated trackings of the enormously satisfying Piano Concerto. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp