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Esa-Pekka Salonen - Stravinsky: The Firebird & Jeu de cartes

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Stravinsky: The Firebird & Jeu de cartes

Esa-Pekka Salonen

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No one would guess from his baby face that Esa-Pekka Salonen is a hard-edged, tough-guy modernist who got his start conducting works by Magnus Lindberg, the enfant terrible of Finnish music. But it is true and his recording career is proof. Nowhere in his discography is there a note of Beethoven or Brahms. Even in so conservative a company as Sony, Salonen has become the resident modernist with discs dedicated to Bartók, Debussy, and Mahler (that's Sony's modernism). He has even amassed an amazing series of Stravinsky recordings since his Sony debut in 1988. Salonen started with Stravinsky's first masterpiece, The Firebird. Rather than use Stravinsky's modest revision of the score, Salonen went back to the original 1910 version with its gargantuan orchestra of quadruple woodwinds, huge brass section plus a seven-piece brass band on-stage, an enormous percussion section that included bells, xylophone, celesta, and piano, plus three harps and 64 strings. Not that all this late-Romantic armament blunts the blade of Salonen's modernism. It only gives him more ammunition to aim at the work's Russian fairy tale heart. Stravinsky later commented on The Firebird that "belongs to the style of its time." This is true as far as it goes. The use of diatonic folk-like melodies for humans and chromaticism for the supernatural does come out of Rimsky-Korsakov's late operas. But those are merely the work's point of origin. Under the right hands -- and Salonen's are the right hands -- numbers like "Fairy Carillon" and especially "Infernal Dance" become threats to musical complacency. Even such pretty little sound toys as the "Round Dances" and the "Lullaby" aren't exercises in late-Russian emotionality; in their own quiet way, they subvert the conventions of Romanticism through Stravinsky's nascent aesthetic of ironic stylization to distance the creator and, thus, the audience, from the creation.

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Stravinsky: The Firebird & Jeu de cartes

Esa-Pekka Salonen

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The Firebird (original version) (Igor Stravinski)

1
Introduction 00:02:59

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

2
Night. Kastchei's Enchanted Garden 00:01:39

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

3
The Firebird Enters, Pursued by Ivan Tsarevich 00:02:14

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

4
The Firebird's Dance 00:01:22

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

5
Ivan Tsarevich Captures The Firebird 00:00:52

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

6
The Firebird Begs to Be Released 00:06:02

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

7
Entrance of the Thirteen Enchanted Princesses 00:02:20

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

8
The Princesses Play with the Golden Apples 00:02:15

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

9
Ivan Tsarevich Appears 00:01:06

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

10
The Princesses' Khorovod 00:04:51

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

11
Daybreak 00:01:24

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

12
Ivan Tsarevich, Entering Kastchei's Palace 00:01:15

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

13
The Entrance of Kastchei the Immortal 00:01:08

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

14
Dialogue Between Kastchei and Ivan Tsarevich 00:01:06

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

15
The Princesses Plead for Mercy 00:01:10

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

16
The Firebird Enters 00:00:31

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

17
Dance of Kastchei's Retinue Under The Firebird's Magic Spell 00:00:44

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

18
Infernal Dance of Kastchei and His Subjects 00:04:21

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

19
The Firebird's Lullaby 00:02:44

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

20
Kastchei Awakens 00:01:07

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

21
Kastchei's Death 00:01:19

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

22
Kastchei's Spell Is Broken, His Palace Disappears, and the Petrified Knights Return to Life 00:03:06

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

Jeu de cartes (Igor Stravinski)

23
First Deal 00:05:15

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

24
Second Deal 00:09:18

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

25
Third Deal 00:07:41

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

(P) 1989 Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

No one would guess from his baby face that Esa-Pekka Salonen is a hard-edged, tough-guy modernist who got his start conducting works by Magnus Lindberg, the enfant terrible of Finnish music. But it is true and his recording career is proof. Nowhere in his discography is there a note of Beethoven or Brahms. Even in so conservative a company as Sony, Salonen has become the resident modernist with discs dedicated to Bartók, Debussy, and Mahler (that's Sony's modernism). He has even amassed an amazing series of Stravinsky recordings since his Sony debut in 1988. Salonen started with Stravinsky's first masterpiece, The Firebird. Rather than use Stravinsky's modest revision of the score, Salonen went back to the original 1910 version with its gargantuan orchestra of quadruple woodwinds, huge brass section plus a seven-piece brass band on-stage, an enormous percussion section that included bells, xylophone, celesta, and piano, plus three harps and 64 strings. Not that all this late-Romantic armament blunts the blade of Salonen's modernism. It only gives him more ammunition to aim at the work's Russian fairy tale heart. Stravinsky later commented on The Firebird that "belongs to the style of its time." This is true as far as it goes. The use of diatonic folk-like melodies for humans and chromaticism for the supernatural does come out of Rimsky-Korsakov's late operas. But those are merely the work's point of origin. Under the right hands -- and Salonen's are the right hands -- numbers like "Fairy Carillon" and especially "Infernal Dance" become threats to musical complacency. Even such pretty little sound toys as the "Round Dances" and the "Lullaby" aren't exercises in late-Russian emotionality; in their own quiet way, they subvert the conventions of Romanticism through Stravinsky's nascent aesthetic of ironic stylization to distance the creator and, thus, the audience, from the creation.

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