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Salonen: Helix; Piano Concerto; Dichotomie CD
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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.Read more ›
I agree with the other reviewer - Salonen's piano concerto is one of the best I've heard in a long time. Yefim Bronfman navigates the highly intricate piano part with lucid ease, the orchestra is a worthy adversary with Salonen's glittering, kaleidoscopic accompaniment...there is an orchestral interlude midway through the first movement that will knock your socks off.
Helix is another exciting piece, its unstoppable forward motion pushing towards a delirious climax. Dichotomie doesn't do as much for me...its essentially a scaled-down version of his 'Foreign Bodies.'
I strongly recommend this disc...two showstopping pieces from one of today's foremost composers.
The Piano Concerto is a major contribution to the genre, and we're fortunate in having a commercial recording. In writing his piano part, Salonen wanted to embrace the acoustic properties of the piano that had been neglected under serialism and early post-serialism, and the result is immensely colourful. The piano part is also one of the most virtuosic solo parts I can think of. Salonen spends much of the first movement exploring duets between the piano and isolated parts of the orchestra, such as violas in one portion, woodwinds and harp in another, and so forth. But sometimes the piano pauses while portions of the orchestra contend with each other, and the piece can seem as much Concerto for Orchestra as Piano Concerto. Salonen throws in some references to Debussy and Romanticism, and his music can be called neotonal, but I've never really heard any kind of music like this. Salonen believes that all musical expression flows from bodily expression, and this is reflected in the sheer range of rhythmic displays. I've been enjoying this piece for over two years now, and I think it's no flash in the pan.Read more ›
I feel lucky to be living in the time of Salonen, and that I will able to hear all of his yet-to-be written compositions. In the two days since I've had this cd, I've played it no fewer than 10 times. It just gets better and better.
I was in the audience at Disney Hall for his Violin Concerto premier. I suppose this will be the center piece of his next recording. Can't wait for what comes next from Salonen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great contemporary concerto by Salonen. Some parts remind me of Prokofiev. Very accessible compared to his earlier compositions. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Marc Salz
Heck, how did I know Salonen was such an amazing composer? That's what I get for being out of touch. Powerful, inventive, challenging. Love it!Published on January 8, 2014 by K. J. Stec
If you want some of the best 21st century music, then this CD is it! Great performances, great presentation and quick delivery. It wins on all levels.Published on May 28, 2013 by Gregory Landenburg
Esa-Pekka Salonen, especially beloved out here in Southern California where he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 to 2009 (and where he still guest conducts on a... Read morePublished on February 21, 2013 by David E. Gregson