Esa-Pekka Salonen:


for Cello and Ensemble



Ensemble Version: 1(also piccolo).1.1(also english horn).1./ Celesta).Harp/Str:

Chamber Orchestra Version: 1(also piccolo).1.1(also english horn).1./ Celesta).Harp/Str: 8,8,4,0,2

Duration: 17:30

Publisher: Chester Music

CD: Sony Classical, SK89158; London Sinfonietta,  Esa-Pekka Salonen


First Performance: 2.7.2000 Suvisoitto Festival, Porvoo, Finland. Avanti!,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

First Performance of final version: 9.12.2000, Messina, Sicily. London Sinfonietta,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

US Premiere: 17.12.2000. Sospeso Ensemble,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

UK Premiere: 16.5.2001, Queen Elisabeth Hall. London. London Sinfonietta,  Oliver Knussen.

5.3.2002, Musica Nova Festival, Helsinki, Avanti!,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

First Performance of version for chamber orchestra: 27.4.2002, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Dutch Radio Orchestra,  Eri Klas.

16.1.2003, Los Angeles, Green Umbrella series. LA Philharmonic New Music Group,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

12.9.2003, Zankel Hall (Carnegie Hall) New York, John Adams cond.

12-13.2.2005, Los Angeles. LA Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen

2.3.2005, Cologne Philharmonie. LA Philharmonic,  Esa-Pekka Salonen

12.2.2009, Munich, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Olari Elts

2-3.2.2011, Kotka and Kouvola, Finland, Kymi Sinfonietta, Yasuo Shinosaki

11.3.2011, Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Jonathan Stockhammer

Esa-Pekka Salonen writes:

" I have always been interested in virtuosity. There is a very strange kind of beauty in the idea of a performer doing extremely difficult things for other people to enjoy. The best kind of virtuoso is a musician, who is willing to go to places nobody has gone before; a virtuoso of mind as well as fingers. Most of my instrumental music is about challenging fellow performers, sometimes pushing them to their physical (of mental) limits, but always with respect and empathy. The best thing about conducting to me (apart from the music itself) is the thrill of sensing the energy of talented and dedicated people on stage. When composing, I try to imagine that particular kind of radiation, especially when the lonely existence in my studio feels frustratingly slow and devoid of adrenaline, which performers of course enjoy sometimes more than they'd wish.

Mania was written for Anssi Karttunen, a close friend and a much admired colleague, whom I have known since the distant days of playing first horn in my early teens in the Junior Orchestra of the Sibelius Academy, where Anssi was the solo cellist.

In the late 1980's, I wrote a short solo piece for him: Yta III, which is still the most extreme piece of music I've composed : bizarre and violent, very ugly, but a virtuoso vehicle nevertheless.

In spring 2000, I finally decided to write a concertante piece for Anssi and a small orchestra, a plan I had had for a decade or so. I wanted to compose music, which consists of a number of relatively simple gestures or archetypes which are constantly evolving and changing; not so much through traditional variation techniques, but through a kind of metamorphosis. A maggot becomes a cocoon, which becomes a butterfly: very different gestalts indeed, but the DNA is the same.

Mania is about movement that never stops. The tempo fluctuates between extremes, gestures become other gestures. Transitions are quite often seamless, telescopic (NB not telescopical): a new thing starts before the previous one has ended. (Not entirely coincidentally, this is the main formal principle in the late works of Sibelius, especially in the Seventh Symphony and Tapiola.)

The role of the cello varies from a clear solo/accompaniment situation to merely being a part of a chamber ensemble - and all the shades between these extremes. Therefore, Mania has little to do with a traditional concerto form."

Esa-Pekka Salonen

NEW YORK TIMES 19.12.2000
December 19, 2000
Esa-Pekka Salonen: A Conductor's Night of Firsts
Esa-Pekka Salonen, the dynamic 42-year- old conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is also an active composer. Indeed, until his late 20's he considered himself a composer who conducted on occasion.
New Yorkers had lacked many opportunities to experience Mr. Salonen as a composer until Sunday night, when he was the featured composer in Carnegie Hall's Making Music series. Before a full house at Weill Recital Hall, Mr. Salonen spoke about his compositions with Ara Guzelimian, the series moderator, and conducted some of his recent works, all in their New York or United States premieres, with the impressive contemporary music group Ensemble Sospeso. ...
...That Mr. Salonen can write distinctive music was clear, though, from "Mania," a kind of concerto for cello and chamber ensemble, complete with marimba, gongs, piano and aggressive brass and winds. The swift pace and wild mood swings allow no wallowing in any one idea. Meters get fractured; instrumental lines dart and collide; the harmonic language is piercing and full of surprises; and the virtuosic writing for cello, formidably played by Anssi Karttunen, lurches between anguished lyricism and fits of anger.
Anthony Tommasini
MUSICAL AMERICA, December 22, 2000
Esa-Pekka Salonen as Composer
NEW YORK -- Esa-Pekka Salonen is not the only conductor who composes -- Lorin Maazel appeared in that double capacity here less than a month ago -- but he may well be among the most exciting and prolific. Until the concert at Carnegie's Weill Hall on Dec. 17 devoted principally to his music, New Yorkers have tended to think of him primarily as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The balance may tilt now....
..."Mania," for solo cello and ensemble, heard in its U.S. premiere, was the densest and busiest work of the evening, and pitted a furiously active cello part against individual ensemble instruments -- or the whole gang together. Soloist Anssi Karttunen carried the day, from the lovely forest murmurs at the beginning through sections of blunt aggressiveness, to a mad, manic finish. If there were times when the cello appeared to scramble to the point of diminishing returns, nobody seemed to mind, and the full house gave soloist and composer a rousing response.
All three works were the result of Salonen's year-long sabbatical from the Los Angeles podium. The working vacation was definitely a good idea.
  Shirley Fleming
LOS ANGELES TIMES, Wednesday, December 20, 2000
Salonen: A Writing-Conducting Showcase in NYC
He leads the U.S. premiere of his 'Mania' in a program of his own and others' works.
By JEREMY EICHLER, Special to The Times
NEW YORK--As he approaches the end of his one-year sabbatical from the LosAngeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen took the stage of Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall on Sunday for a rare evening that brought together his disparate roles as conductor and composer. For this concert, part of Carnegie Hall's Making Music series, he was both at once, leading the admirable Ensemble Sospeso and special guests in three of his own recent works as well as music by Witold Lutoslawski and Steven Stucky.
Which is not to say that composing and conducting are always so different for Salonen, as he told Ara Guzelimian, Carnegie Hall's artistic advisor, in an onstage discussion that took place between the works. At his best moments, Salonen said, the music flows through him in a similar way; creator and interpreter can be as one. The real difference between the two, he added, is in what he called their metabolisms: Whereas conducting can fill him with adrenaline and excitement, composing can be "very lonely and very slow."
Be that as it may, there was little slowness in evidence on stage Sunday night, particularly in Salonen's "Mania," a sprightly piece for solo cello and small orchestra that received its United States premiere. From the outset, the work moves in a free-ranging perpetual motion, replete with anguished arpeggios and outbursts of lyricism against a dense orchestral backdrop. Cello soloist Anssi Karttunen, the childhood friend of Salonen's for whom the piece was written, skillfully navigated the numerous challenges, not least of which was carving out expressive lines amid a rapid-fire barrage of notes.
 Jeremy Eichler
THE STRAD, August 2001 
London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen (conductor), Anssi Karttunen (cello)
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 16 May 2001
The effect of a solo cello emerging from a concertante texture for a few rich phrases only to be swiftly engulfed by the ensemble can be disconcerting, yet Esa-Pekka Salonen, in his new work Mania for cello and chamber players, proves that it can be a wholly compelling technique for the contrast it provides between the solo and orchestral sounds. One moment the cello skates effortlessly over the ensemble's fast-moving, interwoven phrases, the next it sinks back to become part of the concertante, only to re-emerge even more powerfully when the ensemble texture becomes sparser.
In the work's UK premiere, Anssi Karttunen, for whom the piece was written, delivered the cello's furiously virtuosic gestures with great dynamism and energy in a committed and persuasive performance: a commitment echoed, as ever, in the brilliant ensemble playing of the London Sinfonietta, under the eloquent direction of Oliver Knussen. 
Catherine Nelson 
DIAPASON: 2.2002
"...Mania, que nous découvrons grâce à ce disque, suscite plus d'enthousiasme encore. Le violoncelle d'aujourd'hui devra-t-il à Anssi Karttunen, dédicataire de tant d'excellentes oeuvres (dont le Concerto de Lindberg et Amers de Saariaho) la même fière chandelle que celui du siècle passé à Rostropovich? Salonen sert à merveille le jeu fluide et fantastique de son interprète, souvent expansif, jamais racoleur. "
Vincent Arech