SALONEN Wing on Wing


Wing on Wing

Foreign Bodies

Anu + Piia Komsi
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Int. Release 01 Feb. 2005
0289 477 5375 9
World premiere recordings
Wing on Wing includes the most unabashedly beautiful and introspective music that Salonen has written Los Angeles Times, 2004

Track List

Esa-Pekka Salonen (1958 - )
Foreign Bodies


Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen


Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Anu Komsi, Piia Komsi


Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Total Playing Time 1:06:43

Played with new confidence, ¿Wing on Wing¿ took on a more euphoric character . . . The performance was pure celebration . . . Also on the program . . . were Debussy¿s ¿Fantaisie¿ and Stravinsky¿s ¿Rite of Spring¿ . . . There may be little left to say about Salonen¿s ¿Rite¿, it has become one of the signature Disney Hall experiences. But his interpretation evolves, growing freer, more expressive, more exhilarating. If the Cologne performance comes across as this one did, it will drive the Germans wild.

If anyone needed further confirmation of the strengths of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and his success in sharing those strengths with the musical life of this city, the events of the past week should answer any lingering questions . . . "Wing on Wing" was wonderful to hear again live, breezing through the same hall and through the musical forces for which it was written . . . I love its sparkle, its cold, clear wind.

Whatever his talents as a conductor (and they are considerable), this new release confirms Esa-Pekka Salonen's true genius as a composer. With the Finnish Radio Symphony Salonen presents three original, powerful, captivating and -- get this --thoroughly enjoyable works . . . music that's thought-provoking and challenging yet
allows you to leave your antidepressants at home . . . The Finnish Radio Symphony plays with consummate virtuosity in these powerful composer-led performances. DG's recording presents it all with extraordinary clarity, presence, and dynamic impact. If you're looking to be excited about new music again, get this disc.

This trio of recent works by Salonen suggests that he's one of the most interesting composers on today's scene. All three share the virtues of his highly individual style, modernistic and accessible . . . A fascinating disc that should be heard.

Eerie yet beguiling . . .

The music is brilliantly scored . . . "Wing on Wing" creates a celestial shimmer . . . The impact is haunting . . . the end is a rush of virtuoso excitement, played here with thrilling enthusiasm . . . "Insomnia" is inspired tone-painting: flickering bits of restlessness merge with hazy and surreal dreamscapes.

The recent works here offer a measure of Mr. Salonen's gift for cinematically picturesque scoring . . . "Wing on Wing" is far more than the celebratory fanfare such works tend to be . . . This imaginative 26-minute work is sometimes downright eerie. The Finnish Radio Symphony plays all the music magnificently.

Rating: Excellent
Anyone who liked "Insomnia" on this week's Philadelphia Orchestra concerts will no doubt be interested in this disc featuring that and other works ("Foreign Bodies" and "Wing on Wing") composed and conducted by Salonen. As a conductor who works with a wide range of symphonic repertoire, it's no surprise that Salonen the composer uses his great colleagues of the past as a jumping-off point, whether it's midperiod Stravinsky, early-period Adams, or Nielsen's Symphony No. 3. Yet there's nothing really derivative about this music. In all instances, Salonen's personality soon takes over with his characteristically keen sense of orchestral color, witty sleights of hand, and a hectic sense of incident that makes his pieces downright entertaining.

. . . Salonen is a sonic inventor of great imagination and coloristic skill . . . the triumph here is "Wing on Wing," a salute to the new Walt Disney Concert Hall, where Salonen is music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The score is a shining evocation of Frank Gehry's explosive, curvy architecture, with two sopranos taking flight and Gehry himself making an appearance as speaker. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra plays everything with superb cohesion under Salonen . . .

. . . the gorgeous or scintillating orchestration is only one of the features that make this music so memorable and instantly appealing . . . The performances are stunning (no need to doubt Salonen's credentials as his own interpreter), as are the recordings, which manage to capture a welter of detail without unbalancing the overall sound picture. Recommended.

The three orchestral works here boast an intoxicating, individual mix of kaleidoscopic detail and physical impetus . . . The sheer invention of "Insomnia" is enthralling on every level -- rhythmically, melodically, harmonically and texturally. The vivid
performance and recording bring this out ideally, with overwhelming ensemble energy
and virtuoso wind playing. "Insomnia" is a modern masterpiece . . . an aural extravaganza that's haunting and head- spinning by turns.

. . . a major event . . .

Technically imposing . . . the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra plays magnificently . . .

It¿s impossible to listen to this brilliant, exciting music and not be dazzled by its energy, its pyrotechnical display, its kaleidoscopic scattering of light and color . . . Performances (led by the conductor) are splendiferous, and sonics are flat-out stunning. Whatever its lapses, this release confirms, if confirmation were needed, that this Finnish musician is a compositional force to be reckoned with.

He is a real composer, as this release clearly proves . . . his overall mastery of technique, form, and orchestration is indisputable. Above all, orchestration. Salonen's music is one for which the old descriptor "sonic spectacular" was designed. It's been quite a while since I've heard symphonic music with such an extraordinary range and depth of color, as well as a brilliant sheen and transparency. It's also wildly imaginative in its color combinations, registations, and textures. Inevitably, conducting the "survivable music", which is the classical repertoire, has given him an up-close insight into what works and doesn't, and he's learned his lessons well . . . This combination of rich contemporary harmony with powerful rhythmic drive makes him a fascinating test case for aestetic synthesis . . .

For the symphony subscriber who's always complaining that the DSO doesn't play enough new music: Esa-Pekka Salonen, "Wing on Wing." (Deutsche Grammophon). Three bustling and brilliantly scored dreamscapes by a Finnish composer better known as the charismatic conductor who has turned the Los Angeles Symphony into one of America's most vital orchestras.

Mr. Salonen . . . has the technique and imagination to create brilliantly vivid and entirely original scores.

Dirigent und Orchester geben da einem alten Favoriten Kraft und Klasse, Herz und Hirn. Selten klang Hindemith so blutvoll, so leidenschaftlich und dabei stets durchhörbar.

Für alle avantgardistischen Stürme bieten die finnischen Radio-Sinfoniker unter Maestro Salonen fabelhafte Virtuosität.

Schon von Weitem signalisiert der utopische Konzertsaal ozeanisches Ungestüm und magischen Glanz. Salonens Musik kleidet diese Überlegungen in einen Klangstrom aus Singstimmen und unabänderlich pulsierenden melodischen Mustern.

Vom Klischee der nordischen Schwermut . . . ist bei Esa-Pekka Salonen . . . wenig zu spüren. Auf geradezu unheimliche Weise versteht es Salonen, der seit vierzehn Jahren Chefdirigent des Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra mit besonderem Faible für die weniger konstruierte als klangmächtige neue Musik ist, die beiden Archetypen seiner Musik zu verschmelzen . . . Salonen ist einer der grossen Sinfoniker unserer Zeit. Welch mächtigen Sog seine teils heftig auffahrenden, teils melancholisch-zarten Begegnungen zwischen Melodie und Rhythmus zu entfalten vermögen, zeigt das Finnische Radio-Sinfonieorchester, . . . das bestens auf ihn hört, präzis und äusserst engagiert.

Dopé par le compositeur et chef d'orchestre, l'Orchestre symphonique de la Radio finlandaise offre une interprétation incontestablement grisante de ces trois nouvelles partitions.
Esa-Pekka Salonen: Citizen of Music

It was "with great excitement and anticipation" that Esa-Pekka Salonen viewed the new collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon as he signed his exclusive contract. Salonen referred to "the most prestigious label in the recording industry today", dedicated to "uncompromising music of high quality, old and new" - and the Finnish conductor-composer himself embodies that ideal with greater commitment than any other artist of his generation. It is the basis of his extraordinary career, the most recent fruits of which are now being presented by Deutsche Grammophon on the first CD dedicated to Salonen's works: music that belongs wholly to the present moment while looking with great vigour and confidence to the future.

With its giant "sails", Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in 2003, could serve as a symbol of how this Finn's presence in the "City of Angels" has truly represented a breath of fresh air for Southern California as a centre of classical music. Esa-Pekka Salonen's 13 years as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic has left a profound mark on the city's musical life.

Although his bold, adventurous programming cultivates a decidedly contemporary aesthetic, he sees himself in an age-old tradition, as a resident Kapellmeister of the old school, whose ambition is focussed above all on making his own orchestra into a distinctive ensemble: "My generation is more interested in building things up than in building a career. We want to become a sort of citizen of music: building up an orchestra, building up festivals, investing in education - these are far more important than running around the world to glamorous guest-conducting gigs." And he's as good as his word: in February 2005 Salonen celebrates the 20th anniversary of his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut and in March takes up a residency with his orchestra at the Cologne Philharmonie.

At times, however, a feeling of nostalgia comes over the Finn in LA: "I very much enjoy the energy and joy of my adopted hometown of Los Angeles. And yet, I sometimes do feel foreign, a misplaced shy northerner amidst extroverted and confident Californians. This polarity can actually be quite inspiring - though in my worst moments I feel like some sort of middle-aged Tonio Kröger, the Thomas Mann character who leaves his native northern Germany for the beauty and warmth of Italy only to return to the North in the end."

And so Salonen keeps returning to "his" Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he made his conducting debut in 1979. In his Scandinavian homeland, too, he is constantly launching new projects. Thus he is artistic director of the Sibelius Conducting Competition in Helsinki and of the Baltic Sea Festival, which he founded in 2003 and with which he aims to support the Baltic region not only musically but also ecologically, through seminars of the environmental foundation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The longer Esa-Pekka Salonen lives abroad, the prouder he becomes of being a Finn: "I'm more aware of my Finnish identity than ever before, and I'm so proud of the extraordinary musical achievements of that strange and remote country, of which the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (for which Foreign Bodies was written) is a splendid example."