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Salonen: Helix; Piano Concerto; Dichotomie CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

All-new recordings of works composed and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen to celebrate his final performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Over 20 years after his first performance with the LA Phil (1984), Salonen bids farewell as principal conductor in a series of concerts. Virtuoso Yefim Bronfman premiered the piano concerto and now commits to disc what is certainly the definitive recording along with two pieces for solo piano.

Review

"From its orchestral introduction (a halting yet urgent march with fidgety dotted-rhythm string figurations and lumbering syncopated riffs in the timpani and drums) to its incandescent conclusion (with the tentative introductory music turned into a din of pungently harmonic triumph), this 30-minute concerto in three movements pulls you along its inexorable path ... I cannot remember the last time a premiere at the New York Philharmonic won such an enthusiastic ovation." -- The New York Times on the premiere of the Piano Concerto
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Product Details

  • Performer: Yefim Bronfman
  • Orchestra: Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Audio CD (April 7, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B001IT74YM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,469 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
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.
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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 regular basis), led "Helix" with that orchestra on a recent 2012 visit. I liked it and bought this recording. This CD seems, on the whole, a good introduction to his own compositions -- most of which are not that well known, at least to me. To anyone familiar with the development of music through the 20th into the 21st century, Salonen's style will not seem in the least bit alienating. If anything, it might be considered too conservative. Still, his music is dramatic and absorbing and exerts considerable appeal.
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By WGL on April 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
His accomplishments as a conductor aside, Salonen the composer just impresses my more and more. His music is bright, colorful, and relentlessly athletic. His has a unique voice.
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.
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A great contemporary concerto by Salonen. Some parts remind me of Prokofiev. Very accessible compared to his earlier compositions. There is also a connection in the other pieces on here with John Adams but still Salonen makes his own statement.
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Got to admit, this is grown up music. Salonen has developed into a very listenable orchestra-tor. The music is very engaging and holds ones attention. Of course the conductor and soloist have a history, so they play off each other expertly.
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