Since September 2008 Esa-Pekka Salonen has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra. In his first season in this role he devised and led City of Dreams, a nine-month exploration of the music and culture of Vienna between 1900 and 1935. The project, which presented the music of Mahler, Schoenberg, Zemlinsky and Berg in its social and historical context, travelled to 18 cities across Europe, culminating in October 2009 with semi-staged performances of Berg’s Wozzeck, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role.
The Philharmonia plays beautifully for Esa-Pekka Salonen. [Their] woodwind section particularly distinguishes itself, with eloquent, forlorn exchanges between the oboe and cor anglais in the ‘Scene aux Champs’ … a well-turned, thoughtful performance – International Record Review
Don’t ever be tempted to typecast Esa-Pekka Salonen as a hardline modernist … he reveals himself as a powerful Berliozian too – Classic FM Magazine
The Philharmonia gives its all in a performance that relishes the manic contrasts in Berlioz’s groundbreaking score, as well as emphasising its symphonic sweep – BBC Music Magazine