Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is perhaps best known for his skills
as an orchestral director rather than as a composer; it is a joy, therefore,
to have stumbled across this wonderful work. The Violin Concerto "Out Of
Nowhere", completed in 2009, is here given a resplendent debut by soloist
Leila Josefowicz and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Mr Salonen at
the helm. It's a fiendishly difficult piece but Ms Josefowicz hunkers down
to deliver a truly inspiring performance. She seems to have been born to play it!
The hushed celeste chords and spiky arpeggios which introduce Movement One lead
us into a bristling sonic landscape of bubbling woodwind and brooding brass.
The pervading atmospheric tension is beautifully articulated by the soloist.
In Movement Two the orchestra seems to breathe like a sleeping beast beneath
the violin's yearning search for a melodic foothold atop the tympani's faint
but steady heartbeat. The raucous rhythmic mayhem of Movement Three with its
hair raising tuttis has Ms Josefwicz plucking and sawing for all she's worth;
Movement Four, therefore, must have come as something of a relief as the work
settles down into its hauntingly lyrical conclusion. Music for a starlit night.
The inclusion of 'Nyx', a single movement composition for large orchestra,
with prominent roles for clarinet and horn section, further displays this
fine composer's richly dramatic imagination and ability to stir our spirits.
The Deutsche Grammmophon recording captures the thrilling vitality of both works.