Newly released digital-only recordings include Anders Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations and Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5
Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome, recorded live in concert in June 2022 will be released on Apple Music Classical on Friday, November 3
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony announce the release of two new digital-only spatial audio recordings from SFS Media—Anders Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations and Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5—available today exclusively via the Apple Music Classical app. Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations, which features a cameo appearance by pianist Yefim Bronfman, was recorded live in concert in October 2021 and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 was recorded live in concert with Salonen and the Orchestra in June 2022.   On Friday, November 3, Salonen and the Symphony will also release an additional digital-only spatial audio recording from SFS Media—Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome, recorded live in concert in June 2022—via Apple Music Classical.   In March 2023, the San Francisco Symphony announced its partnership with Apple Music Classical—a new standalone music streaming app designed to deliver an unrivaled listening experience for classical music lovers—with the release of new spatial audio recordings of György Ligeti’s Clocks and Clouds, Lux Aeterna, and Ramifications. In July 2023, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra released additional digital-only spatial audio recordings of Elizabeth Ogonek’s Sleep & Unremembrance and Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.  With Apple Music Classical, Apple Music subscribers can easily find any recording in the world’s largest classical music catalog with fully optimized search; enjoy the highest audio quality available and experience many classical favorites in a whole new way with immersive Spatial Audio; browse expertly curated playlists, insightful composer biographies, and descriptions of thousands of works; and more. Apple Music Classical is available on the App Store and is included at no extra cost with nearly all Apple Music subscriptions. The combination of Apple Music Classical and Apple Music provides a complete music experience for everyone, from longtime classical fans to first-time listeners, and everyone in between.

About Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5, Anders Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations, and Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome

Anders Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations was originally written for a Napa Valley winemaker whose label featured a few bars from Beethoven’s last piano sonata. Hillborg naturally incorporated Beethoven’s motif into his work, “but whereas Beethoven produces a set of rigorous variations with a steadily increasing intensity curve,” Hillborg notes, “my Kongsgaard Variations are more like meditations, with no directional process.” This performance features a cameo appearance by pianist Yefim Bronfman, who plays the “Arietta” theme from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32 before Hillborg’s piece unfolds.  Ottorino Respighi was fascinated with the music of Italy’s distant past; his hallmark was over-the-top orchestral color. He combines both in Pines of Rome, using “nature as a point of departure, in order to recall memories and vision. The centuries-old trees . . . become witnesses to the principal events in Roman life.” Premiered in 1924, it was one of the first pieces to include electronics in its orchestration through a recording of a nightingale.   Composed in 1915, Jean Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony was commissioned by the Finnish government to celebrate the composer’s 50th birthday, which was declared a national holiday. When he returned home a year earlier from a recent successful trip to America, he heard the news of the assassination at Sarajevo of the heir to the Austrian throne. He had scarcely settled into his life again when, to his horror and disbelief, virtually all Europe was at war. Sibelius had jotted these words in his notebook: “In a deep valley again. But I already begin to see dimly the mountain that I shall certainly ascend….. God opens His door for a moment and His orchestra plays the Fifth Symphony.”  These recordings were produced by Jason O’Connell. Jon Johannsen was the recording engineer, and Mark Willsher was the mastering engineer and mixing engineer.