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Salonen sandwich with Yo-Yo Ma & Wilhemina Smith / beyondcriticism

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On Wilhemina Smith - Works for Solo Cello (Ondine 2018) featuring Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sarabande per un coyote, Giuseppe Colombi – Chiacona, Kaija Saariaho – Dreaming Chaconne, the Columbi selection is the real if routine baroque McCoy. Salonen's "Wile E." riff on a related genre, full of "wrong" notes and snapping pizzicati, struck these ears as kind of awful, but I loved Saariaho's untethered excursion into some night sky of her own, with its ominous low-lying passages and splintery flights to the dog-whistle stratosphere, often with no middle ground to plant one's feet on. The cellist is magnificent.

On Esa-Pekka Salonen, Cello Concerto (Sony, 2019), featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Peka Salonen, cond. II [the second movement, of three]

Out of step as I found myself with Salonen's coyote sarabande, this expansive movement struck me as masterly, building from an exclamatory opening to a lonely, moody monologue for the soloist, whom the orchestra eventually rejoins in force like a rising by the seashore. Gorgeous.

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