Review: LA Phil’s U.S. premiere of Salonen’s “Karawane”

Posted on: November 24, 2015

In Monday’s (11/23) Orange County Register (CA), Timothy Mangan reviews the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s U.S. premiere on Friday of “a big, new work for chorus and orchestra by Esa-Pekka Salonen. It’s a terrific piece called ‘Karawane,’ the name of the poem it uses as text. The poem was written by the Dadaist Hugo Ball in 1916 and, written in a ‘synthetic language,’ it makes no sense. First line: ‘jolifanto bambla ô falli bambla.’ … ‘Karawane’ is a forceful work some 27 minutes in length, in two parts performed without pause…. It is chock-full of fresh ideas that seem to come one after another without hesitation. It also feels primal…. It is beautifully orchestrated, voices and instruments combined in striking ways and plenty of percussion to add spice. Freed from the task of illustrating meaning, Salonen seems to have used the choir [the Los Angeles Master Chorale], much of the time, as another section of instruments in the orchestra. … Its next scheduled performance is at the New York Philharmonic in March. Lionel Bringuier, who led the premiere of the work in Zurich last year, led it here with calm and incisive authority.”

Posted November 24, 2015