Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You like Ligeti, Varèse, Lutoslawski, Saariaho, Salonen? Here is something for you!

One thing that amazes everyone visiting Paris or staying a bit longer à Paname is that feeling that the culture is still considered to be of vital importance for the city and its people. Public money is invested in all kinds of interesting projects that aim at popularizing art and support creativity.

It is not  functioning perfectly as a system, but it is fascinating when you see that such a noble intention actually works well. A perfect example is La Cité de la Musique --not surprisingly, a project initiated and promoted by Pierre Boulez-- with its numerous activities, symposiums, seminars, concerts, freely accessible media library, many outreach activities catalyzing contacts with youngsters from all social layers. As a classical music aficionados, you cannot resist it as the whole complex breathes love for music and desire to share it through all the activities proposed there. This are counter-examples to that of La Cité de la Musique where you can see the tax-payers' money generously used to entertain a small group of people, without creating anything artistic or/and new.

Since I prefer to keep it positive here, I thought I should mention another significant positive example: just finished "Festival Présences", that was in fact a series of Top-class concerts thematically revolving around Esa-Pekka Salonen.

He and several other invited conductors, together with  Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (OPRF), performed music composed by Salonen and by composers who highly influenced and inspired Salonen's creativity. All concerts were organized at Théâtre du Châtelet (always beautiful a place to visit), and they all were free (!) Isn't this just a dreamlike way to popularize contemporary music?!

Since I was insanely busy during the past few weeks and so had to skip the Festival altogether, I was happy to discover that Arte Live Web (don't you love them too!) joined the project and provided live broadcast from Théâtre du Châtelet of four Festival concerts, all conducted by Esa-Pekk. They are now available for free viewing and they will remain free for the next 5-6 months. Below are the links to videos with the programs. Enjoy!

Before that, here is a short excerpt from the press-conference where Esa-Pekk says that he is deeply impressed by this whole project in this day and age.

Link to Concert-1   Program:
  • Helix (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Violin Concerto (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Wing on Wing (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
OPRF, Anu Komsi  and Piia Komsi (sopranos), Leila Josefowicz (violin)

Link to Concert-2    Program:
  • Un sourire (Olivier Messiaen)
  • Insomnia (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Dona nobis pacem (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Requiem (György Ligeti)
OPRF, Barbara Hannigan (soprano), Virpi Räisänen-Midth (mezzo), Chorus- Maîtrise de Radio France

Link to Concert-3    Program:
  • Symphony No.4 (Witold Lutoslawski)
  • Giro (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Foreign Bodies  (Esa-Pekka Salonen)

Link to Concert-4    Program:
  • Nyx (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • D’OM LE VRAI SENS (Kaija Saariaho)
  • L.A. Variations (Esa-Pekka Salonen)
  • Amériques (Edgar Varèse)
OPRF, Kari Kriikku (clarinet)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the links, I just finished listening to Concert 2, the Ligeti was stunning. Hard to imagine that it was considered almost unplayable in 1965 and now the orchestras and choirs are so good, they can really make the music breath.

    *sigh* I know why he left, but I sure miss Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dudamel is alright, but E-PS has a much broader rep at his fingertips. Ah, those days sitting downstairs at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and listening to him conduct Lutoslawski and Ligeti.....