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Itaipú / The Canyon on Sony Masterworks


Glass / Salonen


Music by Philip Glass / Esa-Pekka Salonen
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gerschon, conductor

RCM 12004


GLASS: Itaipú
1 Mato Grosso 11:54
2 The Lake 8:23
3 The Dam 11:17
4 To The Sea 4:52
5 Djupt I Rummet 6:15
6 Kyss Min Mun 5:39

"Itaipú originated as Philip Glass's response both to nature and to a modern technological wonder, the massive hydroelectric dam at Itaipú on the Parana River, which forms the border between Brazil and Paraguay," music writer Nick Jones informs us. Glass's musical setting, portraying both this vast landscape and the sheer immensity of the dam, draws on the largest performing forces for which he had written up to that point. Like an explorer's map, the music charts the course of the river from the highlands of Mato Grosso province down to the Atlantic Ocean. In four movements, the creation lore of the Guarani tribe is recounted with Glass's familiar and compassionate musical insights into nature's realm and the peoples who remain attached to it for their physical and spiritual sustenance. Itaipú was commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and first performed in Atlanta on November 2, 1989, under the baton of the late Robert Shaw.

Esa-Pekka Salonen inaugurated his recent and much-heralded sabbatical year with a gift to Angeleno concert-goers — an exceptionally well-played and warmly— felt concert of his own works by his Los Angeles Philharmonic at Royce Hall. The concert augured well, for his Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jaderlund for unaccompanied chorus of eight or more parts would be written in the afterglow of that special evening. Composed in Los Angeles in November 2000 for the renowned Swedish Radio Choir on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the songs pay homage in texture and tonality to the contemporary Swedish school of choral music, while bearing the rhythmic propulsion and vitality evident in some of Salonen's recent orchestral works. The Los Angeles Master Chorale presented the U.S. premiere of these songs on March 16, 2002.

— Peter Rutemberg

"This CD has been for me a true labor of love — love of this music, this ensemble, and of the fresh breeze that is blowing through the field of choral music. I am extremely pleased to be presenting the vivid music of Philip Glass and Esa-Pekka Salonen on my first CD as Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. These two pieces exemplify, each in its own very different way, the vibrancy and vitality of this great art form. Performing this music with such an accomplished ensemble of singers who share my commitment to occupying the vanguard of choral music in America is a great thrill. Additionally, to perform Glass's remarkably cinematic score with an orchestra made up of the best studio players in the country seems to me absolutely ideal."

— Grant Gershon

"When music written by a Finnish composer to poems by a Swedish writer is being performed with total understanding and bravura by a California choir, one has to admit that the old cliche about music being an international language rings very true indeed. Of course, I'm not surprised: Grant Gershon is a close friend and a much-respected colleague, and I have enjoyed my close collaboration with the Los Angeles Master Chorale for well over a decade. Still, the sensuality and lush expression they bring to my music thrills me to no end."

— Esa-Pekka Salonen

Producers: Peter Rutenberg and Fred Vogler. Audio Engineers: Fred Vogler and Shawn Murphy. Assistant Engineer: Mark Agostino. Editors: Fred Vogler, Mark Agostino. Mastering: Pat Sullivan, Bernie Grundman Mastering. Project Coordinator: Margaret Murphy. Notes and Booklet Editor: Peter Rutenberg. Cover Photo: Carl Studna. Design: Carpenter Design & Marketing.