Listen: Karawane

Listen: Karawane
The New York Philharmonic presents the New York premiere of Karawane, for chorus and orchestra, on March 17, 2016. Composed by the visionary Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2014 and first debuted with the Tonhalle Orchester in Zurich, Switzerland, Karawane sets the text of a Dada or Sound Poem of the same name by Hugo Ball, chosen by Salonen to honor the city where both the Dada movement was born and where this work first premiered. When commenting on his poetic style and synthetic language, Ball expressed how he didn't "want words that other people [had] invented" and thus, in writing the poem Karawane, he "let the vowels quite simply occur, as a cat meows," and described the poem as being about a convoy of elephants. Inspired by Ball's Dadaist creativity, Salonen's composition was described as "[propelling the listener] from one entrancing dreamlike state to another, from one extreme (nocturnal quiescence) to another (a wild Javanese monkey chant)," by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to Karawane, this playlist features works that have been programmed together with Salonen's compositions including Per Nørgård's Hedda Gabler (music from the BBC TV production for viola, harp and piano), Kaija Saariaho's Circle Map (for orchestra), Witold Lutoslawski's Musique Funèbre, Magnus Lindberg's Arena II, and Hans Werner Henze's Scorribanda Sinfonica.

Salonen, a visionary Finnish composer, is currently the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonic Orchestra, and Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Salonen composes music that exudes an eerie beauty requiring technical dexterity to perform his avant-garde passages.

"Music has just as much to do with movement and body as it does soul and intellect." — Esa-Pekka Salonen


This playlist was contributed by Liam Alves

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