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World Première Recording
Following its successful world première in 2006, Ondine is proud to present Kaija Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone, for soprano solo, choir, orchestra and electronics for the first time on SACD.
Kaija Saariaho considers La Passion de Simone - an oratorio about the life and thoughts of Simone Weil - to be her most important work. This SACD features world class performers including Dawn Upshaw and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Tapiola Chamber Choir.
Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide acclaim for her wide-ranging operatic and concert repertoire. Kaija Saariaho wrote the soprano part in La Passion de Simone and the opera L’Amour de loin for her.
One of the most important artists in contemporary classical music, Esa-Pekka Salonen has become established both as a celebrated conductor and composer.
This release is also a tribute to Kaija Saariaho who turned 60 on 14th of October 2012.
“The playing is formidable.” The Guardian, 9th May 2013 **
(also available to download from $10.50)
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Anders Hillborg: Eleven Gates
As demonstrated by the four works on this disc, the music of Anders Hillborg couples complexity with directness, sensuality with humour, hypnotic meditation with pulsating rhythms, and all is combined with an original sense of form and unfaltering craftsmanship.
Hillborg recently became the first Swedish composer to have a work premièred by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra when Cold Heat was performed in January 2011.
Hillborg has called the symphony orchestra a ‘sound animal’. His love affair with the orchestra started in the 1980s, when he abandoned electronic music, and around the same time, Hillborg formed a bond with the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who here conducts Dreaming River from 1998 and Eleven Gates, a work he premièred with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2006.
Sakari Oramo and Alan Gilbert are both among the most highly regarded conductors of our time, and also have a special relationship with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in common, as its current and former chief conductor. The Stockholm orchestra also commissioned both Dreaming River and Exquisite Corpse.
“The present collection showcases Hillborg's typically multifaceted and wickedly good-natured humour...The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is on splendid form throughout, led by conductors who have championed these works at home and abroad. BIS's SACD sound is typically spectacular, making this release very strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012
(also available to download from $10.50)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)
Recorded as part of the orchestra's ongoing 'Vienna - City of Dreams' concert programme, the latest release in Signum Records' ongoing series with the Philharmonia Orchestra is Schoenberg's choral and symphonic masterpiece Gurrelieder, performed live with Philharmonia Voices, City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and other star soloists, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen. September 21st is the release date for this SACD/CD hybrid recording which is a double disc release in surround sound and stereo. A few weeks later, ‘City of Dreams’ comes to an end when Salonen conducts Berg's opera Wozzeck, also at the Royal Festival Hall. Epic, opulent and often challenging, Gurrelieder made a decisive opening statement for ‘Vienna: City of Dreams’. Written between 1901 and 1911 it progresses from swooning post-Tristan Romanticism to stark, violent Expressionism, and even introduces Schoenberg's revolutionary Sprechgesang. As The Independent said in its review: "In a little under two hours, the 19th century ended and the 20th began … should City of Dreams continue in this fashion, it will be unmissable." Future plans for Philharmonia/Signum releases conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen include: Mahler's 6th and 9th symphonies, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, Stravinsky's Firebird and Janácek's Sinfonietta.
"How fitting that the opening concert of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Philharmonia series City of Dreams: Vienna 1900-1935 should conclude with the mightiest wake-up call in all music … Schoenberg's scoring at its most fantastical - was despatched with great virtuosity." The Independent 4 Stars
"Vienna - City of Dreams… looks set to be one of the musical highlights of 2009 if Esa-Pekka Salonen's sensational account of Schoenberg's seminal Gurrelieder at the Festival Hall last weekend proves typical. … It was a brilliant, bold and generous masterstroke to open the festivities with Schoenberg's song-symphonic epic… Salonen charts Schoenberg's journey with an unerring command of his vast forces" The Sunday Times
“…exciting, lucid, wonderfully well-proportioned, and recorded in stunning sound the final hymn to the rising sun would lift the most morbidly lethargist out of their chair.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2009
“The Signum engineers have performed miracles to match and convey those of Schoenberg's prodigious orchestration. The 90 male voices divided by 16 parts in the Wild Hunt is around a third the number that Schoenberg had in mind but they are a convincingly rowdier bunch than Ozawa's Tanglewood Festival Chorus at almost the same hectic stampede... Nor need the Philharmonia fear competition: they play superbly...” Gramophone Magazine, March 2010
“Sometimes less is not more. More is exhilarating. ... the music-making was superb ... And what terrific soloists!” The Times
“The opening songs have a featherweight transparency, the interludes a natural fluency … and the choral climax transmits a properly ecstatic, pantheistic glow” Financial Times
“Salonen cracks into Schoenberg’s stacked layers of activity and strikingly schizophrenic mood shifts, revealing clarity and sonic grandeur. His soloists are top-notch too. Essential listening.” Classic FM Magazine
“This is a voluptuous, feverish and thrilling performance, characterised also by the clarity of vision and texture that have always been Salonen’s hallmarks.” Sunday Times ****
“The narrator... is the great German actor Barbara Sukowa, and as a consequence, the climactic Wild Hunt of the Summer Wind is about as heart-rending as it can possibly get.” The Guardian, 9th October 2009 ****
“Dramatically realised here by the Philharmonia under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gurrelieder is a fascinating work which illuminates the development of Schoenberg's compositional style.” The Independent, 25th September 2009 ****
“...you can hear why it was critically acclaimed for the quality of the soloists, the impact of the choruses, and above all the playing of the Philharmonia – from transparent impressionistic textures to vast, bone-crunching climaxes. It’s an exhilarating journey from illicit love to redemption, and the sense of live adrenaline only increases the impact of Schöenberg’s score.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 18th December 2009
Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.
“I'm not sure… that I've ever heard so much of the Rite's instrumental detail revealed so intricately: the interweaving woodwind of the introduction are exquisitely, indeed eerily sifted, and even in the biggest climaxes there is unusual clarity of texture. The couplings are also attractive - swirling, intermittently thunderous renditions of Musorgsky's original version of Night on the Bare Mountain and the concert suite from Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin ballet...” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****
Usually despatched in 8 - 10 working days.