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Theatre Music - Released August 10, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 3F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Composed by Stravinsky in 1933 in the wake of the French oratorio fashion whose figureheads are Milhaud (Les Choéphores) and Honegger (Le Roi David, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher), and his own Oedipus Rex, Perséphone sanctifies the French period of the Russian composer, after he left Switzerland and before he settled definitely in the United States. Ordered by Ida Rubinstein, to whom music history already owed Debussy’s Martyre de Saint-Sébastien and Ravel’s Boléro, this melodrama, profane in its story and hybrid regarding its musical form, glorifies spring -without it being a new “Consecration” in its language) on a text by André Gide, thus prolonging the emotion created by the novel Si le grain ne meurt. The three acts of the work (Perséphone enlevée, Perséphone aux enfers, Perséphone renaissante) are close to human nature and psyche with an empathy reinforced by Stravinsky’s music. Conceived for a tenor (Eumolpe), a narrator, a mixed chorus, a chidren’s chorus and an orchestra, this work, so original in the production of its author, has however never found its audience. People long blamed Stravinsky for wringing the neck of the prosody of Gide’s text without understanding that it was however one of its more sensitive works, possessed with a melodic verve, a clear lyricism and a warmth for which he wasn’t known for. Under Esa-Pekka Salonen’s inspired and aerial baton, Perséphone finds here a second youth which might finally allow it to impose itself to a new generation of music lovers. This “strange profane mass” (as described by Marcel Marnat) is probably one of the most touching works of a composer that is always looking for new springs. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 2, 2011 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released February 1, 2013 | Sony Classical

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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 April 28, 2017 | 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