Leila Josefowicz, Salonen: “Out Of Nowhere” – Violin Concerto; Nyx

Daniel Felsenfeld

By Daniel Felsenfeld

on 10.19.12 in Reviews

Salonen: "Out Of Nowhere" - Violin Concerto; Nyx

Leila Josefowicz
The work of Salonen’s titans whipped into a frenzied, manic musical stew

When Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen demoted himself to the lowlier role of composer and left his post at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (where he successfully transformed a good orchestra into a major presence), he did music a favor by carving out more time to devote to composition – which is not to malign his tenure or recorded legacy. This cultural boon comes in the form of pieces like this Violin Concerto, written for his ideal ally and co-star Leila Josefowicz. While history boasts a long legacy of conductor-composers unable to distance themselves from their podium repertoire, there are a few – Leonard Bernstein chief among them, who was witty enough to infuse his Broadway offering West Side Story with Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Blitzstein in his own original way – able to turn the liability of their overstuffed musical heads into an asset. In Salonen’s music, we hear the work of his titans – from Ligeti to John Adams, Berg to Lutoslawski, Berio to Debussy – whipped into a frenzied, deliciously manic musical stew of his own singular devising. And with the powerhouse technique of Ms. Josefowicz aside the composer himself lending his famous way with the orchestra to the no-doubt familiar faces of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, this is a potent document of an important new contribution to the repertoire.