SALONEN CELLO CONCERTO (CD)
On March 8, Sony Classical will release a recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s cello concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Salonen’s baton. Co-commissioned for Ma by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Barbican Centre, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Salonen's cello concerto premiered on March 9, 2017 with Salonen himself conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ma and the concerto then came to the New York Philharmonic on March 17, 2017, with then-Music Director Alan Gilbert conducting; Ma and Gilbert continued the premiere season with performances at London’s Barbican Centre and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. This recording captures the live performance in Los Angeles on February 8, 2018.
The approximately 30-minute concerto includes scoring for electronics and begins with “a simple thought emerging out of a complex landscape. Almost like consciousness developing from clouds of dust,” in Salonen's words. The second, main movement follows with “slow cello arches...looped to create harmony from single lines.” This is followed by the third movement of music that is “often dance-like; sometimes gesticulating wildly, perhaps from the sheer joy of no longer having to do with clouds and processes.” Salonen concludes, “Finally the kinetic energy burns itself out gently, the rapid movement slows down, and the cello line climbs slowly up to a stratospherically high B-flat, two centimetres to the left from the highest note of the piano.”