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Classical - Released November 30, 2012 | Sony Classical

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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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released February 22, 1991 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released August 10, 2000 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released June 5, 2009 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released December 14, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released April 13, 1992 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released July 28, 1992 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released July 16, 2010 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 30, 2014 | Sony Classical

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