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In France this summer for the Rencontres musicales d'Évian, where he conducted the Symphonic Orchestra of La Grange au Lac, Finnish acclaimed conductor and prolific composer of over 60 albums, Esa-Pekka Salonen discusses his unique approach to working on classical music in studio.

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Esa-Pekka Salonen

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Title Artist Album Duration
1
Introduction - A Bustling City Street
Béla Bartók Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Dance Suite... (Live) 00:03:28

Bela Bartok, Composer - Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Philharmonia Voices, Ensemble

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

2
Movement Three: Pulse II
Leila Josefowicz Esa-Pekka Salonen : "Out Of Nowhere" 00:05:21

Laura Heikinheimo, Producer, Recording Producer - Enno Mäemets, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Leila Josefowicz, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Composer, Conductor, MainArtist - Jari Rantakauilo, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2012 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
Nouvelles Aventures: Part II (Vocal)
The King's Singers György Ligeti Edition, Vol. 4 00:04:39

Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Soprano - Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Performer - György Ligeti, Lyricist - György Ligeti, Composer - Rose Taylor, Contralto - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Omar Ebrahim, Baritone - David Mottley, Producer - Dr. Steven E. Paul, Executive Producer - The Philharmonia Orchestra, Performer

(P) 1996 Sony Music Entertainment

BELA BARTÓK (1881-1945), Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - David Mottley, Producer - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Performer

(P) 1996 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Act II, Scene 3, No. 33: Tybalt fights Mercutio (Instrumental)
Esa-Pekka Salonen Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet - Highlights 00:01:18

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Performer - David Mottley, Producer - SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953), Composer

(P) 1988 Sony Music Entertainment

Dawn Upshaw, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Soprano, Associated Performer, Soprano - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Associated Performer, Conductor, Main Artist, Associated Performer, Conductor - Members of the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - David Mottley, Producer - Kaija Saariaho, Composer - Risto Räty, Producer

(P) 2001 Sony Music Entertainment

Yvonne Kenny, Soprano - John Tomlinson, Bass - IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971), Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - David Mottley, Producer - John Aler, Tenor

(P) 1991 Sony Music Entertainment

8
I. Adagio
Esa-Pekka Salonen Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 22, 78 & 82 00:05:34

Mark Vigars, Recording Engineer - David Mottley, Producer - Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Joseph Haydn, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist

(P) 1991 Sony Music Entertainment

9
LA Variations
Esa-Pekka Salonen LA Variations 00:20:02

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Composer, Conductor, Main Artist, Composer, Conductor - David Mottley, Producer - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Associated Performer

(P) 2001 Sony Music Entertainment

10
V. Joie du sang des étoiles - Vif, passionné, avec joie
Esa-Pekka Salonen Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie 00:06:17

David Mottley, Producer - Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Paul Crossley, Piano - The Philharmonia Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Tristan Murail, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 1986 Sony Music Entertainment

11
5. De Vincent à Théo
Barbara Hannigan Henri Dutilleux : Correspondances 00:05:36

Henri Dutilleux, Composer - Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra, MainArtist - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Barbara Hannigan, Soprano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Malinowski, Producer, Recording Producer - Cyril Becue, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vincent van Gogh, Author - Renaud Loranger, Producer, Executive Producer - Dimitri Scapolan, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

David Mottley, Producer - Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Witold Lutoslawski, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist

(P) 1996 Sony Music Entertainment

13
Congedo di Girolamo Savonarola
Esa-Pekka Salonen Dallapiccola: Il Prigioniero & Canti di prigionia 00:08:32

David Mottley, Producer - Swedish Radio Choir, AssociatedPerformer - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Marcus Herzog, Recording Engineer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Luigi Dallapiccola, Composer - Per Borin, Chorus Master - The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 1995 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Orchestral Prelude
Arnold Schönberg Schoenberg : Gurrelieder (Intégrale) 00:06:44

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Arnold Schoenberg, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor

(C) 2009 Signum Records (P) 2009 Signum Records

Arnold Schoenberg, Composer - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Sid McLauchlan, Producer, Recording Producer - Hilary Hahn, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Stephan Flock, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jürgen Bulgrin, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Christian Leins, Producer

℗ 2008 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

16
Act II, 7, In the Hall of the Mountain King
Esa-Pekka Salonen Grieg: Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Excerpts) 00:02:33

David Mottley, Producer - Edvard Grieg, Composer - Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Barbara Hendricks, AssociatedPerformer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Henrik Ibsen, Lyricist - Dag Kristoffersen, Recording Engineer - Arild Erikstad, Producer - Terje Kram, Chorus Master - Oslo Philharmonic Chorus, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - David Mottley, Producer - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Performer - WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994), Composer

(P) 1996 Sony Music Entertainment

18
Yume no Heri e (To the Edge of Dream)
John Williams Takemitsu: To the Edge of Dream, Folios, Toward the Sea, & Guitar Arrangements 00:12:27

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, Main Artist - John Williams, Guitar, Main Artist - London Sinfonietta, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Steven Epstein, Producer - Töru Takemitsu, Composer

(P) 1991 Sony Music Entertainment

19
4. Burlesque (Allegro con brio - Presto)
Lisa Batiashvili Echoes of Time 00:04:41

Dmitri Shostakovich, Composer - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra, MainArtist - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Lisa Batiashvili, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sid McLauchlan, Producer, Recording Producer - Daniel Kemper, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rainer Maillard, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Alexander Buhr, Producer

℗ 2011 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

20
Helios Overture, Op. 17
Esa-Pekka Salonen Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, Op. 29, & Helios Overture, Op. 17 00:10:04

David Mottley, Producer - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer - Carl Nielsen, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Christine Reed, Executive Producer

(P) 1986 Sony Music Entertainment

21
III. Moderato (Instrumental)
Joshua Bell Sibelius & Goldmark: Violin Concertos 00:12:49

KARL GOLDMARK (1830-1915), Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - Thomas Frost, Producer - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Performer - Joshua Bell, Performer - Joshua Bell, Violin

(P) 2000 Sony Music Entertainment

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra, MainArtist - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev, Composer - Sergei Liapounov, Arranger, Orchestrator

℗ 1985 Universal International Music B.V.

23
I. Sinfonia. Lento - Allegro moderato
Esa-Pekka Salonen Stravinsky: Pulcinella, Octet, Renard & Ragtime 00:03:39

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971), Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - David Mottley, Producer

(P) 1991 Sony Music Entertainment

24
IV. Noche de encantamiento. - Tema y variaciones
Esa-Pekka Salonen The Music of Silvestre Revueltas 00:09:58

David Mottley, Producer - Richard King, Recording Engineer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra - Silvestre Revueltas, Composer

(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment

London Sinfonietta, Orchestra - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Anssi Karttunen, Solo Cello - Anssi Karttunen and London Sinfonietta, MainArtist - Aarre Merikanto, Composer

© 1990 Finlandia Records ℗ 1990 Finlandia Records

26
North by Northwest: Overture
Esa-Pekka Salonen Herrmann - The Film Scores 00:02:46

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Performer - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Performer - David Mottley, Producer - Bernard Herrmann, Composer

(P) 1996 Sony Music Entertainment

27
3. Aria II
Viktoria Mullova Bartók & Stravinsky: Violin Concertos 00:05:07

Igor Stravinsky, Composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor, MainArtist - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra, MainArtist - Viktoria Mullova, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Hein Dekker, Producer, Balance Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1997 Universal International Music B.V.

Radiosymfonikerna, Orchestra - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Franz Berwald, Composer

(C) 2012 Musica Sveciae (P) 2012 Musica Sveciae

29
Part III: Parle, Perséphone, raconte (Chorus, Perséphone)
Esa-Pekka Salonen Stravinsky : Perséphone (Live) 00:03:11

Pauline Cheviller, Narrator (Perséphone) - Finnish National Opera Chorus - Finnish National Opera Orchestra - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer - André Gide, Writer

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

30
Part III: Ainsi vers l'ombre souterraine (Eumolphe, Chorus)
Esa-Pekka Salonen Stravinsky : Perséphone (Live) 00:02:04

Andrew Staples, Tenor (Eumolphe) - Finnish National Opera Chorus - Finnish National Opera Orchestra - Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor - Igor Stravinsky, Composer - André Gide, Writer

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

About Playlist

In France this summer for the Rencontres musicales d'Évian, where he conducted the Symphonic Orchestra of La Grange au Lac, Finnish acclaimed conductor and prolific composer of over 60 albums, Esa-Pekka Salonen discusses his unique approach to working on classical music in studio.

The Paradox of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Studio

by Rémy Louis

Esa-Pekka Salonen is an acclaimed finnish conductor and prolific composer. With over 60 albums under his belt, he has heavily contributed to the history of musical interpretation. This is an interview with an exceptional musician, who discusses his unique approach to working on classical music in the studio.

This approach never turned Salonen into an artist who maniacaly interferes during studio sessions (an approach reputed to be used by the younger Teodor Currentzis) in his quest for an always more faithful sonic quality. There are a number of reasons for this: “The context doesn’t lend itself to this approach. You do a take, listen to it, and get back to it… This prevents me from being in the uninterrupted flow of music. When you go to the technical booth to listen to a take, the producer plays a basic stereo mix, a rough sound image that will be polished during postproduction. This is not the final result yet. So you need to have complete faith in the technical team around you. And to record long sequences both to preserve the spontaneity I mentioned and to have enough material to work with, so that the postproduction can be done in the best possible conditions.” “You know”, he adds with a smile, “when I go to the dentist, I totally defer to him, he’s a professional, I don’t have to give him useless instructions.


 
You would expect an artist that has contributed so many albums to the world to have also grown up listening to them, which in his case was a generational thing: vinyl and stereo reached their peak in his childhood. Salonen willingly acknowledges having worn out quite a few records: "Bruckner’s Fourth by Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony, Karl Böhm’s Tristan und Isolde and Bruckner’s Seventh, and of course Pierre Boulez’s works. And Karajan has always fascinated me.” Always putting his memories into perspective, he notes that “some impressions from childhood can have unexpected influences. I learned Puccini’s La Bohème thanks to an Alberto Erede recording that I love, but which was in German. I had assimilated it so much that, when I first heard it in Italian, I felt like the accents and phrasing weren’t quite right. To this day, hearing “Che gelida manina” in Italian gives me a strange feeling.” 


The result speaks for itself: for the last thirty-five years, Salonen’s albums have often contributed to the evolution of musical interpretation. They are particularly significant in 20th century music, representing such an integral part of Sony's legacy, but also with Deutsche Grammophon (the formidable anthology dedicated to Henri Dutilleux), Finlandia (Kaija Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone, which he premiered) and Signum (Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder and Mahler’s Ninth, both pivotal pieces). He has a very specific and rare gift: on the one hand, the ability to instill a sense of classical identity to a contemporary work – as if, upon creation, he had already played it twenty-five times −, and on the other hand, a habit of taking a fresh, refined, and in a sense “essentialised” perspective for each masterpiece of the repertoire. This goes beyond the analytical power of great conductors who are also composers, like Leonard Bernstein and Pierre Boulez before him. Without a doubt some of his close friends – the aforementioned Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Jouni Kaipainen, Anders Hillborg… – could echo Lukas Foss's comments about Bernstein: “After a while, he explained my own music to me…” But there is something more: this incredible ability to concentrate, this musical and expressive imagination that carries him almost instantly to the heart of the musical works, sheds light on them and refreshes them. Salonen is without a doubt an intellectual, but that doesn’t exclude sensuality or humour in his work. The fundamental drive obeys a soft, uninterrupted bounce, his phrasing and lyricism have an irresistible momentum; everything seems fluid, while everything is commanded by a phenomenal rhythmic agility – at the core of the Sony anthology, his Stravinsky recordings stunned every observer in the 1990s. Like with every great interpreter, the essence is the source of unfathomable mystery. Such is life: genius doesn’t need an explanation. 



Esa-Pekka Salonen’s comments were collected by the author in Évian in July 2018.

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