One of the most exciting collections to come my way lately is the Sony box set of recordings by the Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958). Like Pierre Boulez, Salonen is a composer who turned to conducting to showcase his own music. He soon gained an international reputation, becoming Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 to 2007. He was also associated with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and London’s Philharmonia: this 61-CD set contains performances with all three.

Esa-Pekka Salonen. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

The repertoire leans heavily towards 20th-century music. Salonen is a terrific Stravinsky conductor, so exceptional recordings of The Firebird, Petrouchkaand The Rite of Springare here, but also Pulcinellaand the late Cantata, both featuring Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny, and a taut Oedipus Rexwith Anne Sofie von Otter as Jocasta. Uncommon items include Lars-Erik Larsson’s ravishing Violin Concerto; Ligeti’s...

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