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William R. Braun
Opera News, September 2013

Whether Saariaho’s Passion de Simone is an opera, an oratorio or something else makes no difference…the score on its own makes a fulfilling experience. Saariaho and her librettist Amin Maalouf have created a response to the life of Simone Weil…Weil is present in her own spoken words, here discreetly voiced by Dominique Blanc in faint but elegant tones suggesting that Weil is already dying during the entire duration of the piece.

Esa-Pekka Salonen…gives a performance of great intention, discipline and energy, and it is delightful to have her back. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, September 2013

…Dawn Upshaw’s…musicality and phrasing are beyond question. More importantly, Salonen’s conducting…is simply magnificent, leaving no detail unattended to in his progression from beginning to end.

…the sound is absolutely fantastic…I simply must give big kudos to the recording engineers, Antti Pohjola and Enno Mäemets…Not only did they capture the full ambience of Saariaho’s sound world, but they also managed not to blur the orchestral details when it was important for the inner voices to be heard. You really feel that you are sitting in the hall where this piece is being performed and recorded as you listen to it…

We are, then, happily free to imagine the music and words as separate entities, which indeed they are, and to marvel at the skill that Saariaho used in creating this marvelous work. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Jean-Luc Caron, June 2013

The present recording released by Ondine allows us to make a better judgement on the music itself thanks to the unsurpassable performance by Dawn Upshaw…and also to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s elaborate and brilliant direction at the head of the excellent Finish Radio Symphony Orchestra. © 2013 Read complete review

Mark Sealey
Classical Net, May 2013

This SACD…has superb sound in a rich and spacious acoustic…If you’re new to [Saariaho’s] work, this is an excellent place to start. It’s a truly beautiful compelling and engaging very rounded work given a first class performance by musicians who are as technically brilliant in executing it as they are committed to Saariaho’s aims. If she’s familiar to you, you won’t want to overlook this CD. It’s a splendid testament to the state of contemporary music, and new music of this genre. Unhesitatingly recommended. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, April 2013

This is meat and potatoes for Dawn Upshaw, who has made a career performing new pieces like this, and there is no disappointment here at all. Salonen is also a first choice for a work like this, and performances are simply superb. The SACD sound gives the work all it could ask for…Worth a purchase…this is, I suspect an important piece of music. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2013

…this recording feels like a definitive one—Upshaw, the chorus and orchestra, Salonen’s interpretive enthusiasm and the sound production all make for an exceptional experience.

In any event La Passion has a depth of feeling and a sound painting brilliance virtually unmatched among those writing in the present century. This version says it with all the brilliance clearly before your ears. A masterful, highly charged atmospheric work that has the bite of Wozzeck, in a definitive performance? Yes, all that. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Robert Benson, April 2013

The intricately scored music is a maze of shimmering sounds utilizing some electronic instruments…The sound pictures are subtle and extraordinary, and all of this has been captured in rich, resonant sound that places the listener right in the center of a remarkable musical event. A unique release. © 2013 Read complete review

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