Monumental Symphonies, Simple Songs

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French composer Henri Dutilleux celebrates his 97th birthday this week. On our current album of the week, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra through performances of three essential works by the composer, joined by the otherworldly soprano Barbara Hannigan and virtuoso cellist Anssi Karttunen.

Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun conducts his own orchestral works with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra on a recent release from Naxos. Each of the three pieces on the album is a vibrant blend of orchestral tradition with sounds remembered from the composer’s childhood in the Hunan province of China.

Brazilian-American composer Miguel Kertsman mixes his own sonic heritage with traditional orchestral writing on "Amazonia." By turns playful and lushly neo-romantic, the music is performed by the Bruckner Orchester Linz, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

"Simple Songs" is a highly personal solo recording from percussionist Doug Perkins. A producer of huge-scale performances of percussion works by Xenakis and John Luther Adams, for this album he has collected simple music composed by close friends and mentors, including Nathan Davis, Beau Sievers and David Lang.

Another pleasingly simple album, "Towards Daybreak," contains flowing compositions by Bill Ryan that occupy a space somewhere between jazz and contemporary chamber music. Performed by the 7-piece ensemble Billband, much of the music was written for the Karen Stokes Dance company.