Salonen is widely renowned for leading some of the most lucid, vital orchestral performances around as a conductor . . . Throughout the concerto, Josefowicz has a way of sounding wholly unaffected -- organic, almost primal at times -- while maintaining flawless technique, even as the material grows stunningly difficult . . . Salonen culls a sharp performance from the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra . . . ["Nyx"]: The piece is, in fact, dynamic, with constantly surprising shifts in textures and tonalities, and dramatic flair throughout. It bustles, shimmers and blooms into moments of cinematic grandeur, formidable power and occasional violence. And then it coyly, mysteriously disappears . . . The orchestra shines again in this work, particularly for the prominent, eloquently played, sinuous clarinet solo and the deft handling of the exposed, strenuous brass part.
. . . two outstanding new pieces by the brilliant Finnish conductor/composer . . . [Violin Concerto]: a dazzling showcase for Leila Josefowicz's rhapsodic virtuosity: the opening movement's darting phrasing against efflorescences of piano and tuned percussion is akin to an insect intoxicated by blossoms.
To hear any of Salonen's previous symphonic works (LA Variations, Foreign Bodies, Insomnia) is to encounter an agile, transparent orchestrator. But even by those standards, the Violin Concerto reveals an extraordinary range of rhythm, color and texture . . . the music is solidly his own . . . These extraordinary works, with all their freshness, spring from direct antecedents. And that's not a bad thing.
His 2009 violin concerto is both sternly powerful and rhythmically infectious, from its opening agitato violin measures onward . . . it's hard not to imagine how it might sound from a violinist known for larger, richer tone. The disc's final night piece, "Nyx", from 2010 also makes liberal use of choirs in the orchestra's lower sonorities used with such impact in the violin concerto . . . His composing is almost on the exalted level of his conducting.
Imagine the motoric energy of John Adams blended with Messiaen's Frenchified harmonic gorgeousness, and you'll have a reasonably accurate picture of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto. Its chromium sheen and turbocharged drive suit Leila Josefowicz perfectly . . . ["Nyx"] sounds as if she's ventured down from Mount Olympus to battle with Conan the Barbarian, or possibly Superman. It's as exciting and fabulously played as the concerto.
. . . one of the transformative figures of the American music scene . . . a fiercely committed and very fine [composer] . . . high-speed bravura writing . . . in his own works, the orchestra swivels, surges, and throws off sparks . . . He is a master of the long and lovely meditation.
. . . [an] excellent disc . . . Frenetic and meditative by turns, the work is divided into four sections, beginning with "Mirage", in which the free-spirited violin line unfolds in fanciful, virtuosic and increasingly frenetic outbursts, here brilliantly played by Ms. Josefowicz. The frenzy subsides into the more delicately scored, gentle "Pulse 1", whose yearning violin solo contrasts with the colorful percussion and bright woodwind underpinnings of the exuberant "Pulse 2" . . . ["Nyx"]: An alluring tapestry of hazy brass chorales, mysterious wind solos, shimmering textures and otherworldly waves of sound, the work ebbs and flows between languid and tempestuous moods, its subtleties vividly illuminated by the Finnish ensemble.
Esa-Pekka Salonen has more than asserted and proven himself as one of the great composer-conductors of the last fifty years . . . Salonen's music is always interesting and beautifully orchestrated . . . For those who do not know his music, though, this disc is a game changer . . . Salonen has always been a highly creative and eclectic writer who draws upon many resources, cultural, stylistic and harmonic, for his inspirations . . . Leila Josefewicz's performance is incredible and if Salonen at age 50 is entering a new phase or dedication to his craft as a composer, I cannot wait for more! . . . Simply one of the finest violin concertos in recent years! . . . "Nyx" for orchestra is another terrific reason to become familiar with this composer's recent output . . . Esa-Pekka Salonen is a brilliant composer-conductor who leads the world-class Finnish Radio Symphony in truly captivating performances. As for Leila Josefewicz, she is once again brilliant! Violinists would love this work . . . I have been a huge fan of Salonen's for many years and recommend this recording without hesitation!
This Violin Concerto (played to perfection by its dedicatee Leila Josefowicz) . . . is yet another very strong addition to his [Salonen's] growing catalogue. This music is personal yet flamboyant, shimmering with colors and shifting rhythms. Salonen said he wanted to push both the violin and the orchestra to their limits. The piece is so good one might ask if Salonen has any limits himself.
. . . [a] gleaming, polyglot Violin Concerto . . .
Salonen's concerto is awash in color and flight right off the bat . . . [a] dreamy, mysterious and moving work . . . Soloist Leila Josefowicz brings it all off with panache.
. . . [Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto] is that rarest of pieces, in which emotional force, technical virtuosity, and compositional innovation are united, making it one of the most thrillingly complete recent works by a major composer . . . Josefowicz puts all the fire into her performance that made the Boston performance such a dynamic experience. The CD also contains "Nyx," a 2011 work for orchestra -- it's organic and carefully planned, a contrast to the concerto's shifting moods. Both provide ample backing for the idea that Salonen is, quite simply, one of the most remarkable musicians alive.
. . . [Violin Concerto]: the longest movement, the final "Adieu", not only deepens the expressive profile but also works with more clearly defined thematic materials, and the last three of its 12 minutes project a rather beautiful song of farewell, the soloist reaching for the stars against a tolling accompaniment as the music fades into nothingness. The effectiveness of this restraint underlines the relative bombast of the movement's contrasting materials, and there is a comparable separation between assertively brash densities and more rarefied sonorities in the orchestral work "Nyx" . . . Salonen's music is at its best when searching for a nocturnal atmosphere that is not simply drifting nebulously but moving forwards with a dream-like sense of menace and mystery . . . these performances, played with great polish and panache and recorded with a winning blend of clarity and spaciousness, provide the best possible advocacy.
. . . le programme de ce disque envoûtant affirme la sensibilité dyonisiaque du compositeur Esa-Pekka Salonen: les amateurs, les connaisseurs ou les plus récemment acquis à ses univers suspendus et aériens, savent combien il aime enrichir la texture sonore de diaprures, cristallisations, clusters évidemment, surtout raffiner une orchestration qui tout en suivant un développement programmatique, reste aussi la plus belle offrande à la musique pure. Aucun des pupitres de l'orchestre philharmonique (ici le collectif de la Radio Finlandaise assez étonnant et plutôt très convaincant . . .) n'est laissé pour compte: bois, vents, cuivres, cordes et percussions millimétrées sont redoutablement suscitées. Organique, lumineuse, sauvage et étincelante à la fois, l'écriture de Salonen s'accomplit ici dans l'un de ses cycles les plus exaltant pour l'auditeur . . . Ce qui frappe ensuite c'est surtout l'architecture des parties; un agencement serti dans un flux aux variations constantes, de l'intime à la déflagration, de l'introspection aux rugissements les plus conquérants . . . [Violin Concerto]: Tout l'univers du magicien Salonen tient dans ce prodigieux foyer primitif où le rythme organique, naturel au corps comme à la respiration, se révèle chorégraphique . . . Avec "Nyx", Salonen opère avec une maestrià supérieur à notre avis, une opération particulière dont il est l'un des rares à maîtriser les champs poétiques et suggestifs pour le grand orchestre: dérouler la notion de temps, élargir celle de l'espace, tout en conservant une science très aiguë de la sonorité, du plan dramaturgique, de l'orchestration . . . "Nyx" (2010) s'appuie sur un spectre très large de couleurs et de timbres, d'associations et de combinaisons spectaculaires et flamboyantes, révélant toujours intacte cette sensibilité aux atmosphères . . . A la tête du Symphonique de la Radio Finlandaise, Salonen dirige comme il respire: tout s'enchaîne avec une grâce enchantée ce qui confère à beaucoup d'épisodes, l'attrait d'une révélation. La violoniste elle aussi porte la beauté stupéfiante de ce disque captivant.