Salonen’s concerto.

Salonen’s Violin Concerto

Violinist Leila Josefowicz gave the premiere performance of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto, under his direction, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009. She also recorded it with Mr. Salonen last year for Deutsche Grammophon.

Earlier this month, Ms. Josephowicz performed this concerto with the New York Philharmonic under Mr. Salonen’s direction. That allowed New York’s audiences to get more familiar with this amazing work.

Written in four unconventionally structured movements, the concerto explores, as Mr. Salonen has said, the widest range of expression and instrumental resources of the violin.

The first movement, “Mirage,” begins with the violin alone playing what sounds like a modern-day toccata, all streams of winding, perpetual-motion fast notes. Soon, the orchestra responds, jumping in, or perhaps nudging the violin, with fluttering, pungent chords and weird harmonies.

Mr. Salonen’s writes that the second movement, “Pulse I,” is like a room in which all you hear is the “heartbeat of the person next to you in bed” as your mind is occupied by “gentle, diffuse thoughts.”

The raw “Pulse II” movement changes everything. In a long, final “Adieu,” the violin plays murmuring musings over hazy harmonies.

My own sense is that this concerto is one of the major milestones in violin music since the introduction of the Violin concerto in D-Major by Igor Stravinsky.

Here is Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto, with Leila Josefowicz, violin, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, directed by Mr. Salonen himself:



And next, here is Esa-Pekka Salonen, talking about his Violin Concerto:



Tags: Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leila Josefowicz, Violin Concerto