This Saturday 11/2 @ 8 PM and on Tuesday 11/5 at 7:30 PM, violinist Leila Josefowicz and composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will give the NY premiere of his concerto, Ravel's Mother Goose suite and Sibelius' Symphony #5 with the NY Philharmonic. Salonen's concerto was first premiered with the LA Philharmonic back in 2009.
From the composer's website Salonen says: "My long and happy tenure as music director of the LA Philharmonic was coming to an end... There is a strong internal, private narrative in my concerto and it isn't a coincidence the last movement is called "Adieu.” For myself, the strongest symbol of what I was going through is the last chord of the piece; a new harmonic idea never heard before in the concerto."
At a NY Philharmonic "Insights" talk this past Monday this observer had a chance to ask one question each of the soloist and the composer:
Q: To the soloist: How has your interpretation of this concerto evolved since you first premiered it 3 years ago? To the composer: How does spending almost half your year living in California influenced your composition process?
A1 (Josefowicz): On the night of the premiere it was a pure adrenaline rush and a sense of excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to play a new work. Today when I play the piece I focus more on the composition aspect of the piece, specifically the last movement.
There I find the sonic power and things in it that move me more personally today than when we first premiered the concerto. I hope those things that affect me today is then translated and communicated to the audience.
A2: (Salonen): Pierre Boulez once said, "Any musician who has not experienced - I do not say understood, but truly experienced - the necessity of [serial] music is useless."
When I first came from Finland to America, based on my background I was carrying around a similar kind of say European dogma-- that there is a "right" purpose to composing.
After about 10 years of living in California I get up one morning before the family is up and about. I kick-start the coffee maker. Suddenly a strange feeling comes over me and I wonder... Am I getting sick?
Then I realized I was happy! Which if you know something about Finnish people that can be a startling epiphany.
That feeling of FREEDOM and the realizing that composing was an art, not some chain of causality-- that I could composer whatever I choose-- with only the idea of communicating to an audience in mind, was liberating.