Saturday, December 31, 2005

Janelle's Top Concerts of 2005

From Cincinnati Enquirer Classical Music critic Janelle Gelfand's blog (12/30/05):
The New Year offers us a moment to reflect on the rich musical offerings we have in our city. This year, I feel privileged to have observed the strides made by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, one of the most exciting conductors on the international music scene. I traveled to China with the Cincinnati Pops, an unforgettable experience that showed a country just beginning to emerge as a huge force in the classical music industry, as well as a daunting world power. And I was lucky enough to see three opera premieres in an impressive season of new operas, nationwide....

Symphony: It would be difficult to choose just one performance under the baton of Paavo Järvi. How many times have you heard Dvorak's New World Symphony? It could have been a ho-hum evening last March, but it was a voyage of discovery, as Järvi found something new to say in every measure. Where many performances are full of tension, his view was warmer, more spontaneous and often slower than one usually hears. That pulling back in the lyrical themes brought to the fore the nostalgic, folk-like quality.

In January, getting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to Carnegie Hall involved more than "practice, practice practice" - in the wake of a record-setting East Coast snowstorm that dumped nearly 14 inches of snow on New York. But Monday morning, a day after the symphony's flight had been canceled, Delta found a plane to get the orchestra to the Big Apple in time for its 45th concert in the fabled hall.
The big question remained: Would anyone come? New Yorkers were still digging out from "The Blizzard of 2005."

Come they did – along with no fewer than 15 music writers -- for a memorable performance of Sibelius' Fifth. The great climactic buildups in the Sibelius had visceral power; the opening had a compelling sense of mystery as it unfolded with tremolos in the strings and mournful calls in the bassoon (William Winstead). Järvi, who led without a score, gauged the work's power in steady increments, urging his players to the finale's craggy theme with whole-body, sweeping gestures. As they reached their goal, the arresting sound of cracking, "ricochet" effects by the string basses added power to the moment.

For the encore, Sibelius' "Valse triste," Carnegie Hall was as quiet as I’ve ever heard it.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Paavo!


Please, everyone, join us for a piece of birthday gateau. I made it myself with the special assistance of my dear friend Monkey. The recipe is by our Parisian friend and gourmand Clotilde. To make it yourself, just follow these most excellent step by step instructions: Monkey see, Monkey do! Serves 8-12.

Oh! And Paavo. Make sure Leah gets a good piece! :-))

CD REVIEW: Dvořák/Martinů

Hmmm. Somehow this review by Anthony Holden in the London (U.K.) Observer (11/20/05) completely missed us last month. Nevertheless, it is a fine addition to the collection!
Dvořák Symphony No. 9
Martinů Symphony No. 2
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Jarvi, (Telarc CD 80616), £14.99

Both written in America and steeped in US influences, these symphonies were written when each composer was 52. Czechs looking back to their abandoned roots, Dvořák was already one of Europe's best-known composers, Martinů still languishing in some obscurity after 10 years absorbing the heady delights of Twenties Paris. A natural coupling, then, but as different as the half-century separating them would suggest: Dvořák's New World heavy with romantic nostalgia, Martinů's far more original and forward-looking. Each receives bravura treatment from the superb combination of Paavo Jarvi and his immaculate Cincinnati Symphony.

SWNID Superlatives for 2005

Blogger Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Swnid of Seldom Wrong, Never in Doubt had this to say about Paavo in his post, "SWNID Superlatives for 2005":
Cincinnatians Likeliest to Make a Positive Difference in Our Fair City's Fortunes: CSO Music Director Paavo Jarvi. Paavo is a brilliant conductor who projects a hip image for the orchestra. Not only does he sell CDs and put behinds in the many seats at Music Hall, he sends an image of cultural sophistication for the city, something sorely needed as the economics of America's largest cities sends urbanites looking for an affordable place that is still stimulating.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Peer Gynt" Makes Another Top 10 List!

If this isn't a nice little pre-birthday present! Lawrence Johnson, esteemed music critic of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel lists Paavo's Peer Gynt recording with the Estonian National Symphony in his Top 10 classical albums of 2005 (12/29/05):
8. Grieg: Peer Gynt incidental music. Paavo Järvi, conductor; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (Virgin).
The Peer Gynt suites were once standard concert repertoire but have fallen out of favor due to over-familiarity. Paavo Järvi's disc of Grieg's complete incidental music to the Ibsen play makes this music register anew with each section vividly and atmospherically characterized. Järvi draws playing of enormous vitality and Northern flavor from his Estonian orchestra.

Mr. Johnson also gives Paavo an "Honorable Mention" in his column Top 10 Classical Music Performances in South Florida for his performance of Nielsen with the New World Symphony.

Paavo's Birthday is Friday!



Yes, it's true. Our favorite Estonian turns 43 this Friday. We hear he is taking some much deserved rest in sunny climes and working on burnishing his tan (and, hey! lobsters, beware!). If you wish, you may leave a birthday greeting for him in the "comments" below!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Palm Beach Post.com blogs about 2005

Greg Stepanich of the Palm Beach (Florida) Post gives his Top 10 Classical Music events for 2005 in this blog entry.

Paavo receives an Honorable Mention:
Outside the area, the New World Symphony acquitted itself handily in a performance of the rarely heard Sixth Symphony of Carl Nielsen. Cincinnati Symphony director Paavo Jarvi led the Miami Beach orchestral academy in a sparkling, engaging performance of the Danish master's quirky final symphony.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Wie filigraner Jugendstil

Akademiekonzert: Paavo Järvi dirigierte ein Rachmaninow-Programm
Von Andreas Grabner
Muenchener Merkur, 20.12.2005

Schwerwiegend ist die Frage nach Leben und Tod - in der Musik von Sergeij Rachmaninow scheint sie fast ständig präsent, weit hinaus über alle ihr vorgeworfene Salon-Melancholie, als eine existenzielle, bohrende Frage. In einem bejubelten Akademiekonzert haben im Münchner Nationaltheater das Bayerische Staatsorchester und der Dirigent Paavo Järvi daran keinen Zweifel gelassen: Sogar in einem der populärsten "Klassik-zum-Träumen"-Schmachtfetzen, der berühmten Vocalise op. 34 Nr. 14, zitiert Rachmaninow das "Dies irae" der lateinischen Totenmesse. Das Ensemble spielte die Orchesterfassung bei aller Klangsinnlichkeit unsentimental schlank, wie eine filigran ausschwingende Jugendstil-Ranke.

Im dichten Klavier-Orchester-Satz des dritten Klavierkonzerts mochte solche Schlankheit noch schwieriger zu erzielen sein - doch der russische Pianist Alexander Markovich verwirklichte beides überzeugend: einen milden Triumph des Melos, schon im fein phrasierten, behutsam an- und abschwellenden Hauptthema des erstens Satzes, und die pianistisch-virtuosen Parforceritte des Stücks.

Nach der Pause als Hauptwerk des Abends Rachmaninows zweite Symphonie e-moll op. 27. Auch in diesem Koloss setzte Järvi auf ein unpathetisches, impressionistisch klares Musizieren: Der zweite Satz offenbarte sich unter diesem Zugriff als eines der großartigsten Scherzi der gesamten abendländischen Symphonik, voll wilden Schmerzes, nachtdunkler Innigkeit und voller Ausbrüche von Hoffnung.

Solch fiebrigem Zwiespalt stellte sich der Naturlaut des langsamen Satzes mit seiner wunderbar zart gespielten Klarinettenkantilene beruhigend entgegen, bevor sich das Finale zu seiner grotesk-bacchantischen Apotheose aufschwang. Man konnte sich dem nicht entziehen.

Monday, December 19, 2005

New Paavo DVD Coming Soon!


According to this page on the Estonian Record Productions website, a new DVD titled Paavo Järvi and the European Union Youth Orchestra on Glasperlenspiel Music Festival - Live recording in Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, featuring Paavo leading the EUYO performing Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 and Erkki-Sven Tüür's Aditus will be released soon. German for 'marble game,' Glasperlenspiel is a series of concerts ranging from classical to alternative that showcases Estonia's top performers, as well as guests from around the world.

The DVD was recorded on August 14th, 2004. Credits: Sound engineer: Maido Maadik (Estonian Radio); Video director: Ülle Õun (Estonian TV); Interviews by Ruth Alaküla (Estonian TV); DVD-engineering and editing by Sten Saluveer (Orbital Vox Studios); Management by Tiina Jokinen; Producer: Peeter Vähi.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

CD REVIEW: Grieg: Peer Gynt

Tim Ashley of the London Guardian offers this brief review (5/13/05):
"Like father, like son," they say. Here we find Paavo Jarvi tackling Grieg's incidental music for Ibsen's Peer Gynt, a work his father, Neeme, famously recorded for Deutsche Grammophon 18 years ago. Both versions make strong cases for a fuller performing edition than the familiar suites, though Paavo, unlike his papa, omits the sequences that are meant to accompany dialogue, which is a mistake.

On the plus side, Paavo is the more dramatically incisive of the two. There is some exceptional playing from the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, while the chorus have a whale of a time as the Trolls, egging each other on to bite Peer's bum in The Hall of the Mountain King. The soloists are excellent, too. Peter Mattei is the swollen-headed Peer, Camilla Tilling a dignified, unsentimental Solveig and the incomparable Charlotte Hellekant a camp but lethally seductive Anitra.

**** out of ***** stars

CD REVIEW: Grieg: Peer Gynt

From the Audiophile Audition review by Gary Lemco:
Grieg's incidental music (1874) for Henrik Ibsen's picaresque play Peer Gynt is among the most popular music by any composer anywhere. Filmgoers will recall Edward G. Robinson's death scene in Soylent Green (his last motion picture appearance) to Grieg's Morning Mood from Act IV; some playgoers may recall that after having been blacklisted from film work by HUAC, actor John Garfield staged Peer Gynt on Broadway with co-star Karl Malden in 1951.

Several years ago conductor Neeme Jarvi led a production of the complete incidental music (from the newly-published edition, 1997) by Grieg for DGG. Here, Paavo Jarvi has assembled a wonderful vocal cast to capture Peer Gynt's narrative, inscribing twenty of the twenty-six numbers of the complete score. Alternately aggressive, rustic, bumptious, and intimate, Jarvi takes the Estonian National Orchestra through the diverse affects that define Peer's boastful prodigal character; as well as through the exotic motifs of the North and of Arabia; and eventually through the heart-breaking pathos of the faithful Solveig. The range of colors is striking, from a rustic solo violin to the various hallings and shipwrecks, to the stunning solemnity of Ase's death. While this reviewer certainly will not relinquish his renditions of this music by Beecham, Barbirolli and the elder Jarvi, this hour of spellbinding music-making will remain near the audio components as well. Brilliant sound, and as tender a voice in Ms. Tilling's Solveig as ever I have heard. Highly recommended.

**** out of ***** stars.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

PJ in Munich!


Paavo's in Munich this week for two concerts with the Bayerische Staatsorchester, Monday, December 19 and Tuesday, December 20. This week's program is an all Rachmaninoff one featuring Vocalize; the Piano Concerto No. 3; and the Symphony No. 2. Joining Paavo and the orchestra to play the piano concerto is the acclaimed Russian performer Alexander Markovich.

Bayerische Staatsorchester
Nationaltheater
Bayerische Staatsoper
Max-Joseph-Platz 2
D-80539 München
Tel: 0049-(0)89-21 85 01

* S-Bahn, any line, direction Marienplatz/Ostbahnhof, station Marienplatz
* U-Bahn (underground), lines 4 and 5, direction Odeonsplatz, station Odeonsplatz
* Tram, line 19, destination St.-Veit-Str., station Nationaltheater

Concert and theatre tickets are valid as public transport tickets from 15h on the day of performance!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Surprises and Delicacies in a Year of Exciting Classical CD's

New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini offers high praise for one of Paavo's recent Peer Gynt CD in the article Surprises and Delicacies in a Year of Exciting Classical CD's (12/16/05)(registration required). This is the same work which Paavo performed to great acclaim with the Cincinnati Symphony in November. It is also his own compilation of the piece.

And please take note: it occupies the first place in Mr. Tommasini's column--AND the first piece in the entire list!
Grieg: 'Peer Gynt'
Estonian National Symphony, conducted by Paavo Jarvi (Virgin Classics).

Grieg's two short "Peer Gynt" suites have long been repertory staples. But Grieg actually wrote more than 90 minutes of incidental music for Ibsen's existential play about a restless young man who leaves his devoted mother, his steadfast girlfriend and his homeland to seek exotic adventures, only to return in old age, broken and remorseful.

Paavo Jarvi's brilliant recording presents a 60-minute version of the score, based on a scholarly edition that represents Grieg's final wishes. The familiar music is here, including a chilling account of "In the Hall of the Mountain King," complete with shrieking chorus. But there are also the original "Arabian Dance," with an alluring women's chorus and a sultry song for Anitra; "Solveig's Song," complete, sung exquisitely by Camilla Tilling; and even pieces for solo violin that make Norwegian and Appalachian fiddle music seem not that far apart.

This is a surprise highlight of the year.

And wouldn't this make the perfect gift for that person who has everything? :-)

Monday, December 12, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Der neue Chef

And here's another review (12.12.2005) sent to paavoproject by Carola Finkel, this time from the Frankfurter Rundschau:
Paavo Järvi und das hr-Sinfonieorchester in der Alten Oper
Von HANS-JÜRGEN LINKE

Olli Mustonen wiegt sich langsam ein in Beethovens Klavierkonzert c-Moll, und als sein Solo-Part beginnt, wird es theatralisch. Er scheint völlig versunken, die Hände machen sich selbständig und umflattern ihn wie unbotmäßige, pathetische Schmetterlinge. Aber man verzeiht ihm diese Marotte. Denn Olli Mustonen weiß andererseits den Klavierpart dermaßen präsent, ausdrucksreich und emotional differenziert zu gestalten, dass man über sein Händetheater leicht hinwegsehen kann. Und wer weiß, vielleicht hat es ihm ja sogar geholfen.

Mit Sicherheit geholfen und einen gewichtigen Beitrag zu zu der enorm intensiven Wirkung des Konzerts hat das hr-Sinfonieorchester unter seinem künftigen Dirigenten Paavo Järvi geleistet. Beethoven gestaltet in seinem dritten Klavierkonzert keine Konfrontation, sondern ein Ineinander und ein Auseinander-Hervorgehen von Solist und Orchester; das wurde präzise und mit feinsten Übergängen gestaltet.
Eine lange Leinefür den Pianisten

Mustonen erhält viel Raum, in dem er sich agogisch aus dem Orchester lösen und wieder in die Symbiose zurückkehren kann. Järvi muss dabei den Orchesterpart nicht mit rechthaberischer Betonung des Metrums ausstatten, alles bleibt delikat und elastisch, und der Pianist nutzt die lange Leine ausgiebig, um Spannung zu auf- und wieder abzubauen, Distanz zu finden, zurückzukehren. Und so war dieses Klavierkonzert der Höhepunkt des Konzertabends im Großen Saal der Alten Oper, wo sich Paavo Järvi zum ersten Mal nicht als Gastdirigent, sondern als künftiger Chefdirigent des hr-Sinfonieorchesters präsentierte.

Auch dem aktuellen Eindruck nach hat der Hessische Rundfunk wiederum eine ausgezeichnete Wahl getroffen. Järvi pflegt einen recht vitalen Stil, der stets mit Präzision, einer denkenden Zurückhaltung und sensiblen Klanggestaltung einhergeht. Er bevorzugt eher ein rundes Klangbild, das Schärfen umso klarer hervortreten lässt, und legt Wert auf einen fließenden, organischen und formal geschlossenen Gesamteindruck. Das ausgezeichnet vorbereitete und enorm engagiert zu Werke gehende Orchester ist in der Lage, genau diese Qualitäten zu produzieren. Bevor man alles beim hr-Sinfonieorchester demnächst für selbstverständlich hält, sollte man vielleicht noch einmal anmerken, dass es nicht allzu viele Klangkörper gibt, die das auf diesem Niveau umsetzen könnten.

Im Eröffnungssück des Abends, Weberns Bearbeitung von Bachs Ricercare a 6, kam die verfremdende Orchestrierung Weberns als differenziertes klangliches Ereignis mit subtilem dramatischem Potenzial zum Tragen, nicht als Arbeit eines sezierenden Analytikers, sondern eines klangsinnlich konzipierenden Komponisten, dessen radikale motivisch-strukturierende Arbeit kaum dynamische Entwicklung, sondern nur ein gleichmäßig ausgeleuchtetes Klangbild duldet, in dem die Kanten behutsam geglättet sind.

In der nach der Pause gespielten sechsten Sinfonie des Dänen Carl Nielsen, entstanden 1924/25, war das Ergebnis geradezu überwältigend. Nielsen ist ein Großsinfoniker und möglicherweise auch Großmystiker des späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts. Mit dem einen Teil seiner Musikauffassung, der noch in der Romantik wurzelt, malt er zarte, linienreine und farbreiche bukolische Gemälde, rhythmisiert übersichtlich, aber nicht immer geradeaus; der andere Teil aber fasst skeptisch die Moderne ins Auge, konzipiert Überlagerungen und Verdichtungen, in denen stark perkussiv geprägte Strukturen und recht freitonale Passagen entstehen, in denen die Konzentration der Ereignisdichte nicht unbedingt dynamische, sondern vor allem agogische und intensitätssteigernde Folgen hat.

Järvi zeichnet die Gleichzeitigkeit von Zurückhaltung und Voranstürmen, das energiereiche Auf-der-Stelle-Treten und den entspannten, aufgeräumten Blick nach rückwärts. Nielsens Überlagerungstechniken, die zuweilen durchaus an Ives erinnern, erscheinen in filigraner Durchhörbarkeit, und das Klangbild behält bei all dem eine gewisse Weichheit. Keine wattig-gebremste, sondern eine seidenweiche, beherrschte, so dass die heterogenen Kompositionstechniken und Musikauffassungen, die bei Nielsen nebeneinander stehen, keinen Eindruck von Zerrissenheit hervorrufen. Man wird sich auch in Zukunft auf die Konzerte des hr-Sinfonieorchesters freuen können.

CONCERT REVIEW: Ein Däne tanzt Walzer

Many thanks to our friend Carola Finkel in Frankfurt for sending us this review from the Frankfurter Neue Presse:
10.12.2005
Ein Däne tanzt Walzer
Der künftige Chefdirigent Paavo Järvi stellte sich beim jüngsten HR-Sinfoniekonzert in der Alten Oper Frankfurt vor.(10.12.2005)

Bei seinem Vorstellungskonzert gab sich der Este natürlich hochmotiviert und kraftvoll. Und die Musiker des HR-Sinfonieorchesters erwiderten es mit einem kontrastreichen, geradezu feurigen Spiel. So wurde selbst die sechste Sinfonie des ansonsten eher spröden Dänen Carl Nielsen zu einer spannenden Sache. Wenn Järvi dieses Niveau halten sollte, stehen dem Orchester und den Zuhörern verheißungsvolle Jahre bevor.

Begonnen hatte das Konzert im Großen Saal mit Weberns Orchesterfassung eines Ricercar aus Bachs «Musikalischem Opfer», in dem kontrapunktische Strenge und ausgeprägte Musikalität vereinigt sind. Der finnische Pianist Olli Mustonen zeigte sich im dritten Klavierkonzert als versierter Beethoven-Interpret mit einem Hang, Kontraste opulent zu gestalten und seinem Spiel damit eine besonders romantische Note zu verleihen. Vielleicht kam das von Järvi in diesem Sinne eingestellte Orchester deshalb so gut mit dem Interpreten aus. Der Finalsatz strotzte vor Spannung. Mustonen brachte einen sauberen, klaren Anschlag und gab sich auch spieltechnisch keine Blöße.
Zum Abschluss erklang Nielsens sechste Sinfonie. Nun wird – im Unterschied zu anderen europäischen Ländern – kaum jemand einen Begriff von der Urwüchsigkeit dänischer Volksmusik haben. Nielsen leistete hier Nachhilfe. Das abschließende Thema mit Variationen enthält skandinavische Klänge – wenngleich mit manchem Wiener Walzer vermischt. Aber warum soll ein Däne nicht Walzer tanzen dürfen? (Ge)

Smoothie crew

Bradley Bambarger of the Newark (New Jersey) Star-Ledger writes of the Philadelphia Orchestra's recent visit to Carnegie Hall and compares its performance of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony with that of Paavo and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen at Lincoln Center last summer in this review (12/8/05), excerpted here:
The homogeneity that has crept into the sounds of international orchestras since World War II has largely been resisted in Philadelphia, where the orchestra still maintains something of the plush sonority instituted by Leopold Stokowski so long ago. While wonderful at times, this virtuoso smoothness can take the bite out of Beethoven. And it's a rawer, ripped Eroica Symphony -- like, say, that performed by Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie-Bremen at Lincoln Center this summer -- that often rings truest today.

Eschenbach and company's Eroica was the most dulcet imaginable. While off-putting at first, the sheer mellifluousness of the orchestra's sound could be mesmerizing. Where Järvi/Bremen hurtled and rasped, Eschenbach/Philadelphia danced and crooned. The crying motif midway in the first movement, strings against brass, was almost impossibly beautiful.

As for the Funeral March of the Eroica -- some of the most moving pages in all of Beethoven -- it seemed more like an old memory of a burial procession than the searing experience of one. It was stately and singing, with the purest horn lines; even the timpani sounded smooth. Yet the orchestra's concentration was such that Eschenbach's way had its own brand of calm intensity, seeming "right" in the moment.

One wonders if a hearing-enabled Beethoven, beamed to our day, would be irritated at being unable to recognize this suave vision of his Eroica, or if the Philadelphians would sound like the orchestra of his dreams.

CONCERT REVIEW: Der Neue löst sein Versprechen ein

Paavo Järvi mit dem HR-Sinfonieorchester

Von Axel Zibulski
Wiesbadener Kurier, 12.12.2005

FRANKFURT Welche Schwerpunkte er bei seiner Tätigkeit in Frankfurt setzen will, hat Paavo Järvi bereits bekannt gegeben: Wenn der aus Estland stammende Dirigent in der kommenden Spielzeit die Chefposition beim HR-Sinfonieorchester übernehmen wird, soll nicht nur die deutsch-österreichische Sinfonik, mit besonderem Akzent auf den Werken Gustav Mahlers und Anton Bruckners, verstärkt in den Programmen vertreten sein. Järvi will auch das Zeitgenössische ebenso deutlich berücksichtigt sehen wie die Musik skandinavischer Komponisten.

Beim jüngsten Abonnement-Konzert des HR-Sinfonieorchesters löste er das letzte Versprechen schon einmal ein, indem er in Frankfurts Alter Oper die äußerst selten aufgeführte Sinfonie Nr. 6 des Dänen Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) zum Abschluss seines Gast-Konzerts dirigierte. Ihr Beiname "Sinfonia semplice" täuscht freilich ein wenig, denn "einfach" zu spielen ist die Sinfonie keineswegs. Schließlich reagiert der Komponist hier auf Entwicklungen seines eigenen musikalischen Umfelds: Nur drei Tage vor der Berliner Premiere von Alban Bergs "Wozzeck" wurde Nielsens Sechste 1925 in Kopenhagen uraufgeführt. Ganz sicher kann man sich allerdings nicht sein, ob er hier Anschluss an seine Zeit halten will, indem er zum Beispiel in der bizarren Humoreske des zweiten Satzes Holzbläser und Schlagwerk in einen ruppigen Dialog treten lässt, als ob es ein Stück von Anton Webern wäre. Oder karikiert Nielsen hier eher die Entwicklungen seiner Zeit, samt Anspielungen an die Zwölfton-Technik wie an Strawinsky erinnernde Passagen in den kapriziösen Variationen des Finales?

Ein ambivalentes Werk, dessen Wahl dafür spricht, dass man unter Järvi nicht zuletzt mutige Programmgestaltungen erwarten darf. Und dass dem Frankfurter HR-Orchester bald ein Dirigent vorstehen wird, der selbst bei Nielsen heikelste Einsätze und Rhythmuswechsel mit äußerster Präzision vorgibt, soll dem Vernehmen nach in den Reihen der Orchestermusiker, deren Wunschkandidat Järvi ist, besonders geschätzt werden.

So hatte Järvi nach Anton Webern eingangs gespielten Orchester-Bearbeitung von Bachs "Ricercare a 6" aus dem "Musikalischen Opfer" sogar die exzentrischen Tempo-Variationen des finnischen Pianisten Olli Mustonen stets sicher aufgefangen. Denn Mustonen spielte, was er immer spielt. Also sich selbst. Die Stichworte gab dieses Mal Ludwig van Beethovens Klavierkonzert Nr. 3 c-Moll op. 37, in jedem Legato-Bogen torpediert von des Künstlers einheitlichem Martellato-Spiel, garantiert frei von organischen Phrasierungen und gekrönt vom gewohnt manierierten Gestikulieren Mustonens am Klavier.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: In Frankfurt schon jetzt angekommen: Paavo Järvi, designierter Chef des hr-Sinfonieorchesters, in der Alten Oper

Many thanks to our friend Friederike Westerhaus from Radio Bremen for alerting paavoproject about this review of Paavo's Frankfurt concert as published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung!
11. Dezember 2005

Jenes "Thema regium", das Johann Sebastian Bach 1747 zu einem so geist- und kunstvollen Werk wie dem "Musikalischen Opfer" veranlaßte, hat knapp 200 Jahre später auch Anton Webern inspiriert. Der Schönberg-Schüler, der die Gesetzmäßigkeiten der Dodekaphonie am konsequentesten für sein Werk nutzbar gemacht hat, interessierte sich im Zusammenhang mit Bachs chromatischem königlichen Thema vor allem für die Intervallbeziehungen und die damit verbundene Gewichtung des Einzeltons. Seine Orchesterbearbeitung des Ricercar a 6 aus dem "Musikalischen Opfer" ist deswegen auch eine allem möglichen Beiwerk entkleidete Konstruktion aus Einzeltönen bei ständig wechselnder Instrumentation. Für die Musiker ist das vordergründig sperrig wirkende Achtminutenstück eine heikle Herausforderung, weil eine völlige Gleichmäßigkeit der Tonfortschreitungen gefordert wird, keinesfalls jedoch eine von bequemer Spielbarkeit oder Intonationsgewohnheit abhängige Hierarchie der Töne.

Mit dieser für manche Musikfreunde eher fremd anmutenden Musik stellte sich der aus Estland gebürtige Dirigent Paavo Järvi als designierter Chef des hr-Sinfonieorchesters in der Alten Oper vor. Järvi entstammt einer Musikerfamilie mit langer Tradition. Sein Vater Neemi Järvi gehört zu den seit Jahrzehnten weltweit angefragten Künstlern, und auch Paavos Karriere führt längst auf sämtliche Kontinente. Sein Frankfurter Amt wird Järvi, der bis mindestens 2009 auch Chef des Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra ist, im September nächsten Jahres antreten.

Weberns klingendes Bach-Kleinod gestaltete Järvi zu Beginn des hr-Freitagskonzerts mit umsichtiger Sorgfalt, offenbarte dabei jedoch überraschend eine romantische Interpretationstendenz, spürbar an unvermittelten Ritardandi und einer dem Individualismus des einzelnen Spielers mehr gehorchenden als die Gleichförmigkeit des Melodieflusses herausstellenden Klangkonzepts. Völlig überzeugend gelang hingegen Järvis Gestaltung des Orchesterparts in Beethovens Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 3 c-Moll op. 37. Gerade die "Begleitung" des Solisten war wie aus einem Guß, klanglich überaus präsent auch dank der Verwendung von Naturhörnern und -trompeten.

Järvi betonte auf erfrischende Weise den Energiefluß dieser von jeder Mozart-Tradition sich absetzenden Komposition - ungeachtet der Tatsache, daß ein 1800 komponiertes Klavierkonzert in c-Moll stets den Vergleich mit Mozarts Gattungsbeiträgen (KV 466 und 491) nahelegt. Doch ist es bei Beethovens Opus 37 noch nicht - wie in den Klavierkonzerten Nr. 4 und 5 - die Überwindung der Formkonvention, sondern der ins Sinfonische, den Dialogcharakter stärker beschwörende und damit emanzipierte Orchesterpart, was in Järvis Interpretation auch deutlich zum Vorschein kam.

Solist des Beethoven-Klavierkonzerts war Olli Mustonen, dessen Eigenart, den Solopart eines klassischen Klavierkonzerts grundsätzlich in einem mehr oder weniger sinnzerstörenden Staccatissimo-Stil mit unabhängig voneinander dynamisch herausplatzenden Einzeltönen zu "gestalten", auch diesmal erkennbar blieb, und doch bot der auf Individualismus bedachte Interpret diesmal mehr gestalterischen Zusammenhang, der seine Darbietung durchaus diskutabel erscheinen ließ. An den erstaunlichen technischen Fähigkeiten des Pianisten ist ohnehin nicht zu zweifeln.

Mit der hierzulande äußerst selten dargebotenen Sinfonie Nr. 6 von Carl Nielsen machte Järvi mit einem ungewöhnlich interessanten Werk bekannt. Der Titel "Sinfonia semplice" der 1925 vollendeten Komposition ist insofern ernst zu nehmen, als der Komponist tatsächlich nach einer Vereinfachung der musikalischen Mittel sucht. Doch bietet diese Sinfonie harmlosen Neoklassizismus allenfalls als kurzen Ruhepunkt oder in ironischer Verfremdung. Schon der riesige Schlagzeugapparat deutet auf ungeahnte Energien, und tatsächlich stößt Nielsen mit diesem Spätwerk auf erstaunlich neuartige Klangfelder der neuen Musik, unterstützt auch durch eine rücksichtslos dem Eigenleben musikalischer Linien verpflichtete Harmonik. Von früheren Werken des Komponisten scheint diese Sechste so weit entfernt wie etwa Sibelius' urromantische erste Sinfonie von den "brennenden" Streicherchören seiner späten Tondichtung "Tapiola". Das Freitagspublikum jedenfalls zeigte sich so verblüfft wie begeisterungsfähig. Paavo Järvi und das sehr engagiert musizierende hr-Sinfonieorchester haben überzeugt. Järvi scheint schon ein Jahr vor Amtsantritt in der Stadt angekommen. HARALD BUDWEG

Saturday, December 10, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Täissaal kuulas laupäeval Gustav Mahleri muusikat

Here's a review by Brigitta Davidjants of Paavo's concert in Tallinn, Estonia from Eesti Päevaleht Online (05.12.2005):
Möödunud laupäeval nautis kontserdipublik Estonias efektses esituses Gustav Mahlerit. Laupäeva õhtuks olid Estonia kontserdisaalis piletid välja müüdud, osalt ilmselt selle pärast, et Gustav Mahleri teist sümfooniat juhatas nimekas Paavo Järvi.

Tasub ka meenutada, et teose esitajad – Eesti riiklik sümfooniaorkester, tütarlastekoor Ellerhein ja Eesti rahvusmeeskoor – tõid mullu Sibeliuse plaadistuse eest Eestisse esimese Grammy auhinna.

Mahleril leidub vokaalpartiisid mitmes sümfoonias. Erandiks pole ka teine sümfoonia, kus on nii segakoor kui ka kaks solisti. Laupäevaõhtusel kontserdil olid solistideks sopran Orla Boylan ja metsosopran Lilli Paasikivi, kes moodustasid võrdselt tugeva koosluse. Selles pole ka midagi imestamisväärset, sest mõlemad lauljatarid on hetkel laulumaailmas kõrgelt tunnustatud ning tuntud kui nõudliku repertuaari esitajad. Paasikivi hääl oli sügav, kume ja nüansirikas, kuid märksa lüürilisemalt kõlav iirlanna Boylan ei jäänud talle alla. Kui üldiselt on teos üsna närviline, siis vokaalpartiid peegeldavad ilmselgelt sümfoonia diskreetsemat ja harmoonilisemat poolt. Igatahes tõid koor ja solistid teose koraalilaadse faktuuri kaunilt esile.

ERSO mängis efektselt välja helitöö kontrastid, tuues suurepäraselt välja teose dünaamika. Hetketi oleks ehk soovinud orkestrilt natuke täpsemat koosmängu, kuid sellele vaatamata oli kontserdil ohtralt säravaid hetki.

Seda meelt oli ka publik, kelle lõpuaplaus ei tahtnud kuidagi vaibuda.
Mahler kirjutas teise sümfoonia aastatel 1887–1894. See neljaosaline helitöö pole sugugi kerge kuulamismaterjal, kuna on pikk ja pidevalt vahelduvate meeleoludega teos, mis nõuab kuulajalt põhjalikku süvenemist.

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Ich bin immer entspannt"

From today's Wiesbadener Kurier:
Paavo Järvi, designierter Chefdirigent des hr-Sinfonieorchesters
Vom 09.12.2005

Der in Tallinn (Estland) geborene Dirigent Paavo Järvi (42) wird im Sommer 2006 Chefdirigent des hr-Sinfonieorchesters in Frankfurt. Heute dirigiert der Sohn des Dirigenten Neeme Järvi in der Alten Oper.

Herr Järvi, Sie machen nach der langen Probe einen genauso entspannten Eindruck wie vorher.

Järvi: Ich bin immer entspannt. Ich glaube, dass man sehr intensiv proben muss. Aber es macht keinen Sinn, unter negativem Stress zu stehen. Musiker müssen inspiriert, nicht militärisch diszipliniert werden. Das sind kreative Menschen. Ich glaube, dass die Musiker jetzt vielleicht müde, aber nicht gestresst sind. Denn unsere Arbeit ist logisch. Da gibt es eine klare Richtung, in die wir gehen möchten. Unnötige Spannung lässt die Musiker nur schlechter spielen.

Habe ich das vorhin während der Probe richtig verstanden, dass Sie für den ersten Satz des dritten Klavierkonzerts von Beethoven weniger dramatische Intensität im Orchester wünschten?

Järvi: Das ist nicht eine Frage von dramatischer Intensität. Die Beethoven-Interpretation hat eine große Tradition, und Tradition ist etwas, das gelegentlich überdacht werden muss. Wir sind in unserer Zeit besser informiert über die Aufführungspraxis.

Der Solist Olli Mustonen hat einen sehr ausgeprägten Personalstil.

Järvi: Das ist genau das, was ich an ihm liebe. Ich hasse neutrale Interpretationen. Persönlichkeit ist alles, aber natürlich muss man informiert sein. Olli weiß genau, was er spielt (Järvi singt einen Lauf aus der Klavierstimme mit einer Betonung am Schluss). Wenn man in die Partitur schaut, dann sieht man: Beethoven hat das Sforzato auf den letzten Ton geschrieben.

Aber stehen über dem ersten Einsatz nicht Legato-Bögen?

Järvi: Auf dem Hammerklavier ließ sich das so nicht spielen. Aber schauen Sie: Das sind alles Fragen, über die man diskutieren kann. Der Punkt ist, dass Olli genau weiß, was er will. Ich habe das Konzert oft mit ihm gespielt, auf Tournee mit der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie, auch bei den Salzburger Festspielen. Die hassten das. Aber das macht nichts.

In diesem Konzert kombinieren Sie Carl Nielsen mit Beethoven und Bach, im nächsten Frankfurter Konzert die dritten Sinfonien von Pärt und Bruckner. Darf man das als programmatische Konstellationen für Ihre künftige Frankfurter Arbeit verstehen?

Järvi: Wenn man ein Mozart-Klavierkonzert und eine Bruckner-Sinfonie macht, dann ist das sehr nett und allgemein üblich. Aber wenn man die Dritte von Bruckner und die Dritte von Pärt spielt, dann wird das Pärt und Bruckner anders klingen lassen. Und manche Leute werden darüber nachdenken. Ich denke nicht, dass Musik immer eine ausschließlich intellektuelle Angelegenheit sein muss, aber ich selbst bevorzuge den intellektuellen Aspekt. Das vermittelt eine andere geistige Dimension.

Sie dirigieren in Ihren Programmen viele Werke nordischer Komponisten, gerade auch aus dem Baltikum.

Järvi: Ja, ich glaube, dass das unter musikalischen Gesichtspunkten eine großartige Region ist. Vielleicht mache ich mehr Mahler und Bruckner als Nielsen, aber ich mache viel Nielsen, Sibelius, Stenhammar, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Lepo Sumera and Pärt. Es ist eine Gegend mit viel guter Musik.

Spüren Sie in dieser Musik eine psychische Affinität, eine seelische Gemeinsamkeit?

Järvi: Mit Musik, mit der ich nicht verbunden bin, fühle ich mich auf dem Podium unwohl. Ich muss nicht immer intellektuell mit einem Stück verbunden sein, aber unbedingt emotional. Es ist wie im Umgang mit Menschen. Die persönliche Anziehung ist wichtig.

Und die nordische Musik-Tradition liegt Ihnen besonders am Herzen.

Järvi: Ja, absolut. Carl Nielsen zum Beispiel ist einer der größten Sinfoniker des 20. Jahrhunderts, ohne Frage. Die sechste Sinfonie ist 1925 geschrieben. Diese musikalische Sprache wurde als schizophren angesehen. Heute denkt man immer noch, dass es sehr merkwürdig ist. Es ist eine Art postmodernes Stück vor der Moderne.

Wie lässt sich die Arbeit als Chef des Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen und ab 2006 des hr-Sinfonieorchesters Frankfurt miteinander vereinbaren?

Järvi: Ich habe gute Gründe, drei Orchester zu haben: Weil sie vollkommen unterschiedliche, sich ergänzende Charaktere haben. Für ein amerikanisches Orchester ist es sehr schwierig, etwas anderes als Standard-Repertoire zu spielen. Natürlich versuchen wir das immer. Wegen des Musikmarkts, wegen des Publikums und der Finanzierung ist das nicht leicht. Aber ich muss in meinem Leben auch neue Musik dirigieren, ich möchte Kammermusik machen, ich brauche Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, sogar Bach. Ich kann das nicht mit einem so großen Orchester machen. Der Hessische Rundfunk hat den Auftrag, mehr ungewöhnliches Repertoire zu spielen. Und die Kammerphilharmonie atmet die klassische Tradition. Das öffnet meine Augen ein wenig für eine andere Art des Orchesterklangs. Die drei Orchester sind sehr unterschiedlich.

Sie sind in eine Musiker-Familie hineingeboren worden. Ist es nicht schwer für einen Heranwachsenden, mit einem so berühmten Vater eine eigene musikalische Persönlichkeit zu entwickeln?

Järvi: Das hängt von der Art der Familie und der Beziehungen ab. In meinem Fall war es nur von Vorteil. Wir sind unserem Vater sehr nahe. Er hat uns immer sehr ermutigt, und ich habe nie eine Art von Wettbewerb oder eine starre Richtung gespürt. Im Gegenteil. Er war immer sehr offen. Und Dirigieren ist vor allem Handwerk. Man braucht eine grundlegende Ausbildung. Wenn man einen Vater hat, der fähig ist, das zu teilen, lernt man so viel!

Sie haben auch Rockmusik gemacht.

Järvi: Oh ja. Rockmusik hat etwas sehr Befreiendes, weil man sich auf eine Weise ausdrücken kann, die einem Anfänger der klassischen Musik nicht erlaubt ist. Von der Rockmusik bin ich zum Jazz gekommen, den ich nach wie vor sehr liebe. Das macht den Kopf frei.

Würden Sie sagen, dass stilistische Offenheit, die sich in gewissem Sinn ja auch in der neuen Musik der baltischen Länder oder auch aus der ehemaligen Sowjetunion findet, typisch für die Region Ihrer Herkunft ist?

Järvi: Wir in Estland waren ungefähr 60 Jahre von den Russen besetzt. Da sollte es keine Illusionen geben: Das Sowjet-System war genau wie Nazideutschland. Die Musik war eine Möglichkeit, die eigene, nationale Stimme auszudrücken. Musik wurde die wichtigste politische Stellungnahme und ist bis heute verbunden mit dem Selbstbewusstsein der kleinen Kulturen.

Und die Komponisten haben nicht die Verbindung zum Publikum verloren.

Järvi: Genau. Musik war immer verständlich genug. Wir waren nicht sehr beeinflusst von der superintellektuellen Darmstädter Schule.

Was denken Sie über die Zukunft der neuen Musik?

Järvi: Ich glaube, dass wir das Schlimmste hinter uns haben. Vielleicht ist die beste Zeit für neue Musik angebrochen. Man kann heute machen, was man will. Wir sind frei von den großen Diktatoren der neuen Musik. Es ist eine sehr gute Zeit für junge Komponisten.

Wir werden in Frankfurt viele neue Werke hören?

Järvi: Ja. Aber was ich nicht mag, sind reine Neue-Musik-Konzerte. Unsere neue Musik wird neben Beethoven und Brahms stehen, nicht im eigenen Ghetto. Wir werden auch viel Musik hören, die nicht neu, aber unbekannt ist. Es gibt so viel phantastische Musik, die nicht genug gespielt wird!

Mit dem Dirigenten Paavo Järvi sprach Volker Milch.

Järvi saluted, but not CSO

From Mary Ellyn Hutton's article in today's Cincinnati Post:
Next year the Cincinnati Symphony?

That's the question in the wake of the 48th Grammy nominations, announced Thursday.

CSO music director Paavo Järvi, who won a 2004 Grammy for Sibelius Cantatas with the Estonian National Orchestra and choirs of Estonia (Best Choral Performance, Virgin Classics), received his second Grammy nomination on the new lists. But once again, the recognition comes with another ensemble and another label (the CSO has a recording contract with Telarc).

Järvi was nominated for his Virgin Classics release with Norwegian cellist Truls Mork and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France of the Schumann Cello Concerto and Swiss composer Ernest Bloch's Schelomo and Kol Nidrei (Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra).

Mork, who opened the CSO season with Järvi in 2003, is himself a prior Grammy-winner, having won for Best Instrumental Soloist (without orchestra) in 2002 for Cello Suites by Benjamin Britten.


Both the CSO and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra had strong Grammy contenders this year.

For Järvi and the CSO, they included Dvorak's New World Symphony and the Symphony No. 2 by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, a non-traditional pairing like their highly praised Sibelius/Tubin and Stravinsky/Nielsen releases for Telarc, and a lush traversal of music by Debussy, including Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Nocturnes and La Mer.

...Järvi's eight CSO CDs have received consistently laudatory reviews, many of them raves, and have been spotlighted in many publications, including Gramophone, where the Dvorak/Martinu disc was selected as a Record of the Month in October. His all-Ravel CSO disc received France's Diapason d'Or record award in 2004 and was also selected as a record of the month by Gramophone.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Grammy Nominations Announced Today!

Well, look what I just found! Nominations for the 48th Annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning and, for the second time, Paavo is one of the nominees, along with his good friend, Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, this time in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) for their recording Schumann: Cello Concerto; Bloch: Schelomo with the Orchestre Philharmonique De Radio France [Virgin Classics]. This Award goes to the Instrumental Soloist(s) and to the Conductor. Also nominated in this category: Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3, Claudio Abbado, conductor; Martha Argerich (Mahler Chamber Orchestra)[Deutsche Grammophon]; Concerto For String Quartet And Orchestra, Robert Craft, conductor; Fred Sherry String Quartet (Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble) Track from: Schoenberg: Concerto For String Quartet And Orchestra [Naxos]; Eventide, JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Thomas Stacy (London Symphony Orchestra) Track from: Fuchs: An American Place[Naxos].

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Paavo's in Frankfurt!



Paavo's in Frankfurt, Germany this week for two concerts with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt). Concert dates are Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9, in the Alte Oper, Frankfurt.

This week's program features Bach/Webern's Ricercar; Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 (guest artist: Olli Mustonen); and Nielsen's Symphony No. 6.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Kristjan Plays Zappa!

How did I happen to miss this great article about Paavo's brother Kristjan in the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung? Well, here it is now--better late than never!
Dirigent Kristjan Järvi erfindet mit Frank Zappa die Klassik neu – am Freitag auch in Hannover.
Von Stefan Arndt, 23.11.2005

Skepsis ist Kristjan Järvi gewohnt. Seit mehr als zehn Jahren mischt der heute 33-jährige Dirigent in seinen Konzerten Klassik, Jazz und Rockmusik munter durcheinander. Für den sortenreinen Geschmack klassischer Musikfreunde ist das zumindest ungewöhnlich. Doch Järvi wundert sich über Bedenken. „Ich spiele keine unkonventionellen Programme”, sagt er, „ich möchte nur die klassische Tradition in das heutige Musikleben zurückbringen.”

Im hannoverschen Funkhaus probt Järvi für sein Konzert mit der NDR-Radiophilharmonie am Freitag. Ein Drumset trommelt laut, ein E-Bass erdet die Bläsereinwürfe des Orchesters, die Streicher sind nur tremolierender Hintergrund. Ausgerechnet mit „Peaches in Regalia” von Frank Zappa, dem Fleisch gewordenen Kulturschock, möchte Järvi eine neue Klassik etablieren. „Im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert waren Konzerte echte Events. Die Menschen waren scharf darauf, neue Musik zu hören. Sie waren auf der Höhe ihrer Zeit”, sagt Järvi. „Ich will auch die Menschen ansprechen, die sich nicht für Klassik interessieren. Ich möchte, dass jeder Konzertbesucher froh ist, dabei zu sein. Und dass er wiederkommt.”

Auf der Höhe der Zeit zu sein bedeutet auch, Zukunft zu sichern. „Wir können uns nicht nur auf die Abonnenten verlassen. Bald wird es vielleicht gar keine mehr geben. Und ohne Zuhörer gibt es für uns Musiker keine Arbeit.” Die herkömmliche Programmgestaltung hält Järvi für hoffnungslos überkommen. „Es gibt immer nur die gleichen Stücke, weil es bequem ist. Die Musiker brauchen sich nicht auf neue Stücke einzulassen und das Publikum auch nicht. Das richtige Erlebnis bleibt im Konzert auf der Strecke.”

Ein Erlebnis ist für Järvi die Kommunikation zwischen Musikern und Zuhörern. „Man muss die Wand zwischen Bühne und Zuschauerraum durchdringen. Eine Bühne ist kein Museum. Wenn dort vor lauter Kunst nur ernste Gesichter gemacht werden, gibt es auch im Saal nur ernste Gesichter. Wenn man aber Spaß vermitteln kann, bekommt man auch positive Reaktionen zurück. So entsteht ein sehr inspirierendes Gemeinschaftsgefühl, das man eben nur im Konzert erleben kann.”

Bei aller Begeisterung für das Konzert der Zukunft – ganz aus dem Blick verloren hat Järvi die Tradition nicht. Als „Assistant Conductor” des Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, als Chef der schwedischen Norrlands Opera und des österreichischen Tonkünstler-Orchesters kann er sich sehr wohl für Bruckner oder Mahler begeistern. Schließlich stammt er aus einer erfolgreichen estnischen Musikerfamilie – Vater Neemi und der ältere Bruder Paavo sind international gefragte Dirigenten. Doch mit einem Schulterzucken kann Järvi diese Tradition auch wieder abwerfen. „Das Publikum, das Bruckner mag, wird immer kleiner. Wir klassischen Musiker müssen uns der Welt, in der wir leben, anpassen.”

Järvi leitet das NDR-Pops-Orchestra bei „Short Ride In A Fast Machine – Frank Zappa meets Steve Reich” am Freitag, 20 Uhr, im Funkhaus Hannover. Karten: (0511) 9882999.

contemporâneas/contemporáneas

I've just discovered a November 25, 2005 blog post about Paavo's friend, Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür in the Portuguese blog contemporâneas/contemporáneas.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Postimees article on PJ's upcoming concert

Even though I can't read it, I know there are a lot of Estonians out there who can!
Grammy laureaadid taas Eestis laval
30.11.2005
Kristel Kossar, toimetaja

Sel laupäeval, 3. detsembril tuleb Estonia kontserdisaalis ettekandele Austria helilooja Gustav Mahleri teine sümfoonia, esitajateks Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester (ERSO) Paavo Järvi juhatusel, Ellerheina tütarlastekoor, Eesti Rahvusmeeskoor ning solistid Orla Boylan ja Lilli Paasikivi.

Paavo Järvit, ERSOt, Ellerheina tütarlastekoori ja Eesti Rahvusmeeskoori seob edukas koostöö.

Heliplaat Jean Sibe­liuse «Kantaadid» tõi neile mullu maailma mainekaima muusikaauhinna Grammy, hiljuti plaadifirma Virgin Classics kaubamärgi all ilmavalgust näinud heliplaati «Peer Gynt» tõstsid esile New York Times, Billboard ja Grammophone.

Laupäeval tuuakse Eesti kuulajateni Mahleri teine sümfoonia, mille partituuris on helilooja ette näinud hiigelorkestrit – ebatavaline hulk löök- ja puhkpille, kaks harfi, orel, võimalikult palju keelpille, lisaks viimaste osade vokaalsolistid ja segakoor. «See on väga teatraalne ja erakordselt geniaalne teos,» kommenteeris Paavo Järvi.

Dirigendi sõnul on Mahleri muusikas tema jaoks oluline eeskätt sisu ja sügavuse otsimine. «Oma sümfooniates otsib helilooja vastust küsimustele, mis on meie eksisteerimise mõte, mis toimub inimese hinges ning kuidas see kõik kohandub maailmaga, kus me elame,» rääkis Järvi.

Järvi sõnutsi on tal hea klapp nii rahvusmeeskooriga kui ka Ellerheina tütarlastekooriga. «Mulle meeldib, et nad naudivad oma tööd, et nende silmad säravad – kuid kõige tähtsam on seejuures ikkagi hea kvaliteet,» nentis ta.

Samuti rõhutas Järvi, et koostöö ERSOga on talle ülimalt oluline. «Ennekõike seepärast, et ERSO tegutseb Eestis, on seotud Eesti heliloojatega ning orkestril on Eesti kultuuris oluline roll,» ütles ta. «See on tähtis ajalugu ning olla osa sellest on mulle suureks auks.»

Monday, November 28, 2005

Estonia...Who Knew?!



Yes, Paavo travels back to his homeland of Estonia this week for a concert in Tallinn. (This concert was originally scheduled to take place in February 2006.)

Surprisingly, my daily blog-searching took me to the Where Is Jennifer travel blog and her fun post about visiting Tallinn, Estonia...Who Knew?!. It features some very cool pictures of the local sites, too.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Um grande concerto e Amílcar Gameiro

I am grateful to journalist Henrique Silveira for providing me with this review of Paavo's Lisbon concert as published in the blog, Crítico. As he wrote in a comment post to the earlier review, "I write in the Portuguese magazine FOCUS (as a critic) and I have a radio show [on] Portuguese national classic radio. I am also a musician. [T]he next day I was [at] the concert too, and I made another [review] about the concert.

"In my opinion the conducter is very professional, serious and musical. He transformed an average orchestra under the direction of the regular conductor, Foster, in[to] a very good, I must say top quality, ensemble."
Depois das tremendas laudas de Rui Lagartinho fui ontem ouvir o Sergei Khachatrian à Fundação Gulbenkian tocar o concerto nº1 de Chostakovitch em lá menor opus 77. A direcção foi de Paavo Järvi,
A primeira, e maior, surpresa foi a orquestra em Searching for Roots de Erkki-Svrn Tüür. Habituado a uma orquestra de 12 a um máximo de 14 valores sob a batuta de Foster encontrei ontem uma orquestra coesa, tecnicamente elevada, sem pontos fracos, sem desafinações, respondendo como uma mola às solicitações de Järvi e aqui tenho de concordar com o que disse Rui Lagartinho neste blogue.

Não acredito que Järvi trabalhe mais do que Foster, o que penso é que trabalhou muito melhor. Em música tempo de qualidade é melhor do que mais tempo, Péskó no S. Carlos com ensaios e mais ensaios nunca passou da cepa torta até que surgiu naturalmente a magnífica notícia de que não dirige no S. Carlos esta temporada, ao contrário do anunciado, e que a história do maestro "honorário" não passou de uma forma de o passar ao quociente mas adiante. Penso que Foster está a cair numa banalidade e rotina que estão a tornar insuportáveis quaisquer concertos dirigidos por si. Järvi provou ontem que a Gulbenkian é uma orquestra sólida que responde bem sob batutas de qualidade.

Veio depois o concerto de Chostakovich para violino e orquestra, uma obra complexa e difícil, muito introspectiva e melancólica nos andamentos lentos (sobretudo na Passacaglia), idiomática nos rápidos:

1. Nocturne: Moderato
2. Scherzo: Allegro
3. Passacaglia: Andante
4. Burlesque: Allegro con brio

Devo dizer que prefiro os andamentos lentos, nos rápidos o compositor russo acaba por repetir algumas fómulas e tornar-se obsessivo no ritmo cortado e muito incisivo que se repete em concertos e sinfonias em muitos dos seus scherzos. O violinista comportou-se de uma forma extraordinária, notei apenas uma quebra da nota final do primeiro andamento e talvez um quase imperceptível toque de stress no scherzo que o fez adiantar ligeiramente algumas entradas, mas sem afectar a coerência da interpretação.

O mais evidente foi a consistência e a sonoridade do violino em todo o concerto. Amadurecido e pensado o concerto foi abordado com uma enorme convicção e uma certeza interpretativa notável. Foi lido como um todo, a separação entre os pontos em que usou vibrato e os pontos em que dispensou o mesmo, sobretudo no primeiro andamento em que a sonoridade surge descarnada quase sempre em piano e pianíssimo mas sempre espessa, foi notável; o violinista conseguiu manter a tensão e o domínio da obra dispensando o vibrato quase totalmente. No entanto, a passacaglia foi, para mim, o momento sublime da interpretação, quer do violino, quer da orquestra. Neste ponto tenho de salientar o tuba Amílcar Gameiro, que tocou de forma maravilhosa em diálogo com o violino, com confiança e serenidade, em passagens de uma beleza admiráveis e inusitadas. Onde se viu um compositor fazer um concerto de violino em que este dialoga com a tuba no andamento mais sereno e introspectivo? Teria de ser Chostakovich a imaginar algures num ponto de equilíbrio fugaz este diálogo impossível. Simplesmente genial pelas frases, pela beleza irreal da melodia. Espantou também Sergei Khachatrian pela produção sonora de uma qualidade absoluta, harmónicos e acordes realizados de forma perfeita e uma afinação perfeita.

Uma interpretação soberba de todos os intervenientes em que o último andamento se tornou quase redundante depois da magistral passacaglia.

Depois deste concerto qualquer extra seria extemporâneo mas foi exigido... pena.

Friday, November 25, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: maduro...aos vinte!

From the Portuguese blog Crítico comes this review of Paavo's first concert in Lisbon (and according to my somewhat peculiar Babelfished version, it seems to be a real rave!):
Viveu mais um quarto de vida e está de novo em Lisboa.

Sergei Khachatrian, 20 anos, vale a pena perder dois a minutos a soletrar e aprender a dizer o nome do jovem arménio, voltou ao Grande auditório da Gulbenkian para interpretar o concerto nº 1 para Violino de Chostakovitch.

Foi inesquecível. E o público soube distinguir e apaparicar uma interpretação absolutamente excepcional no entendimento do que verdadeiramente está em causa com este concerto escrito a seguir à II Guerra e prudentemente guardado na gaveta até à morte de Estaline, alguns anos depois.

Raramente múica e vida se misturam de uma forma tão assombrosa numa biografia como no caso de Chostakovitch. Só pela postura em palco, tensa, emotiva, se percebe que o jovem violinista percebeu tudo isso.

Rigoroso e inventivo absolutamente certeiro do princípio ao fim.

Parece ter estudado este concerto ao longo de vinte e cinco anos. Ou seja em bom rigor parece ter começado a ler esta partitura cinco anos antes de nascer.

Nada de excessos, rodriguinhos, tiques, piscadelas de olho, inclinações de tronco.

Sólido como o mais sólido dos carvalhos centenários.

Nota-se quando a Orquestra Gulbenkian trabalha com gosto. Nota-se que o maestro Paavo jarvi é um verdadeiro líder.

Uma lufada de ar fresco para quem assiste às escorregadelas semanais do titular Foster cada vez mais a dirigir à "La Scimone". Ou seja, a deixar correr o marfim, numa época em que ainda por cima rareia o tráfico de tal material. Pode tirar todas as teimas esta tarde. Provavelmente o "meu" concerto do ano.

Rui Lagartinho, jornalista da RTP

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

2005 Corbett Awards Announced

Best of the arts; 2005 Post-Corbett Awards honor excellence
By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, November 22, 2005

Excerpt:
Special awards shared the spotlight with the winners of the 2005 Post-Corbett Awards Monday evening in the ballroom of the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington....

Nearly 500 guests attended. the ceremony, held since 1975 (now biennially). Cincinnati jazz singer/arts educator Kathy Wade, winner of a 1993 Post-Corbett Award, was mistress of ceremonies. Host was Mike Philipps, editor of The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post, who announced the special awards with Corbett Foundation executive director Karen McKim.

In accepting his Lifetime Achievement award, Johns, assistant principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony and its only African-American for most of his 30 years with the orchestra, spoke of the "good old days when all of the schools had the arts" and of their relevance to the modern world.

"There are 100 musicians onstage at Music Hall and it's always amazing to me how one man can give a downbeat and it's there. There's an empathy we have with the spirit of music, and that's how our society needs to start thinking, to find a way to experience that togetherness."


"I am so grateful for this city and its opportunities," said Lifetime Achievement winner Petersen, who moved here from Utah 40 years ago and found rich soil for her efforts on behalf of the arts. Her work has benefited the CSO and Pops, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Society for the Preservation of Music Hall and the proposed Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center....

Conductor Paul Stanbery of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and Chorale took the Performing Artist award for his grass roots and educational activities, including fostering contemporary works and directing the Greater Miami Youth Orchestra. "It's a great honor to even be mentioned in the same breath with Paavo Järvi, successor to Stokowski, Reiner and Max Rudolf," said the visibly moved Stanbery (CSO music director Järvi was co-finalist)....

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Richard A. Boehne, executive vice president of E. W. Scripps, The Post's parent company, invited the crowd back to the next awards in 2007. Named in honor of arts patron Patricia Corbett and her late husband J. Ralph Corbett, the Post-Corbett Awards recognize those who contribute to the culture of our area.

Paavo's in Portugal



Oh, yes, he is and for the first time, too! This week Paavo will lead the orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in two concerts, Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25.

On the program this week: Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with guest artist Sergei Khachatrian and Bruckner's Symphony No. 3. "The violinist, who is a prize-winner and laureate of many international competitions, currently resides in Germany. Recently, Sergei Khachatrian was awarded with the first prize of the Queen Elizabeth prestigious competition in Brussels, and obtained the right for four years to perform on Stradivarius Hagins violin."

And, oh, dear me -- here's a page I just discovered which seems to indicate that an unknown Erkki-Sven Tuur piece has now been added to the program! I'll try to find out what it is between now and the concerts...

TELEFONE
217823700
LOCAL
Lisboa, Fundação e Museu Calouste Gulbenkian - Av. Berna, 45A
HORARIOS
De 24-11-2005 a 25-11-2005
Quinta às 21h00
Sexta às 19h00
PREÇO
20€ (1ª plateia); 17,5€ (2ª plateia); 10€ (balcão).


UPDATE: The Erkki-Sven Tuur piece is Searching for Roots. I wonder if this is the first time his work has been performed in Portugal.

Click here for more information about Paavo's recording of Searching for Roots.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CSO names Coleman composer-in-residence


Paavo with Charles Coleman after the World Premiere of "Streetscape", September 2001

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, November 21, 2005

The last time composer Charles Coleman came to Cincinnati was the day after 9-11.

The staff of the Cincinnati Symphony had been unable to contact him and was uncertain of his fate, since he lived in the shadow of the World Trade Center.

With all flights grounded, the 32-year-old New Yorker headed west by car, arriving safely for the world premiere of his "Streetscape" by music director Paavo Järvi and the CSO on Jarvi's inaugural concert on Sept. 14, 2001, at Music Hall.

Coleman will return to Cincinnati next season as composer-in-residence with the CSO. He will spend five weeks here as a participant in the "Music Alive" residency program sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer (national service organization for composers).

During that time, he will compose a work for Järvi and the CSO, to be premiered during the 2006-07 season, work with the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, visit area schools and serve as an advocate for new music in the community.

"We knew we wanted to work together again in the near future. We just didn't know how we were going to do it," said Coleman, by phone from New York where he still lives "five blocks above where the Trade Center used to be."

The impetus to apply for the residency came from the CSO.

"Julie Eugenio (CSO manager of artistic planning) gave me a ring and said, 'What about this Music Alive thing? Do you have any scores and recordings you can lend me?' We decided to pursue it and it paid off. I am very excited about it," he said.

Coleman, 36, is one of seven composers selected by the ASOL and Meet the Composer for two to five-week residencies with American orchestras next season.

Although the precise timing of his visit is to be determined, it will have three phases spread through the season:

Theme and variations project with the CSYO.

CSO Young People's Concert and in-school visits.

CSO premiere.

The theme and variations project recalls CSO music director Eugene Goossens' 1945 "Jubilee" Variations. To celebrate the CSO's golden jubilee season, Goossens wrote a theme and submitted it to 10 composers, each of whom wrote variations (you can hear Aaron Copland's contribution performed by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops on their 1987 all-Copland disc for Telarc).

The Youth Orchestra led by CSO assistant conductor Eric Dudley will play and study "Jubilee" Variations. Orchestra members will be given a theme by Coleman and asked to write variations on it, after which the work will be performed.

During the second phase of his residency, Coleman will visit four of the CSO's "Sound Discoveries" partner schools, where he will speak to classes from grades 1-6 on composing music. He will participate in an onstage presentation as part of a CSO Young People's Concert for grades 4-6 at Music Hall, to include the U.S. premiere of Coleman's "The Lime Factory" (2003).

The third phase will consist of the world premiere and a demonstration to the CSO board of trustees, with participation by Järvi and members of the CSO, of a living composer's approach to creating musical textures.

During his visits, Coleman also will present master classes and be the guest speaker for "Classical Conversations" preceding CSO concerts.

The world premiere is still in the planning stages, he said, but will be "generally, a 15-minute work to be the opening piece on a concert."

"The Lime Factory" is "very percussive and energetic," a musical interpretation of a steel-making factory, inspired by a photograph of an abandoned lime factory at dusk.

Born in 1968 in New York City, Charles Farmer Coleman (civil rights leader James Farmer was his godfather) got his start singing in the Metropolitan Opera children's chorus. A kind of operatic child star, he sang Feodor (son of the czar) in Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" at the Met in 1982. He earned his master's degree in composition at the Manhattan School of Music, where he met Kristjan Järvi (Paavo Järvi's younger brother).

In 1997, he became composer-in-residence of the Absolute Ensemble, a jazz/rock/classical music ensemble founded by Kristjan Järvi in 1993.

Coleman's works have been performed on the ensemble's recordings, including "Absolution," nominated for a Grammy for "Best Small Ensemble Classical Recording" in 2001.

He also does orchestrations for Absolute. "Over the past year, we did a series of concerts called 'Absolute Zappa' in which we did about 20 songs, nearly half of which I orchestrated."

A continual frustration for composers is getting performances after the world premiere, he said, though "Streetscape" has been a happy exception.

"Paavo did it with the San Francisco Symphony (2002) and again in Cincinnati and in Japan (2003). But the big, definitive thing for me was that it got performed about a year ago in Latvia (by the Riga Festival Orchestra). That came out of nowhere.

"The great thing about that was it was not only a different orchestra, but a different conductor than the one who commissioned it. That the piece has a life beyond its initial world premiere - for a living composer to witness this is quite astonishing."

Chicago Symphony Repertoire Now Confirmed

Paavo returns to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall April 11, 13, 14, and 15, 2006. The "Chicago's Choice: A Theodore Thomas Tradition" program will consist of: Sibelius's Finlandia; Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn; Smetana's The Moldau from My Country; and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 (From the New World).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It Pays to Blog Around!



Oh, my goodness! Look what I just turned up: one of the most gorgeous pictures I've ever seen of the young maestro from the Portuguese BLOG OÁSIS: Este é o seu Espaço de Arte! Musica, Pintura, Escultura,etc...

Sábado, Novembro 19, 2005
Paavo Jarvi Maestro

Vencedor de um Grammy, Paavo Järvi é um dos maestros da actualidade mais solicitados internacionalmente. Nascido em Tallinn, na Estónia, estudou percussão e direcção de orquestra na Escola de Música da sua cidade natal. Em 1980 viajou para os Estados Unidos da América, onde continuou os seus estudos no Curtis Institute of Music de Filadélfia e no Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, com Leonard Bernstein.
Paavo Järvi foi nomeado Director Musical da Orquestra Sinfónica de Cincinnati em Setembro de 2001, tendo recentemente renovado o seu vínculo contratual até à temporada 2008-2009. Durante os últimos quatro anos, realizou com esta orquestra extensas digressões na América do Norte, na Europa e no Japão.A partir da temporada 2006-2007, Paavo Järvi será Director Musical da Orquestra Sinfónica da Rádio de Frankfurt. Desempenha também a liderança artística da Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Dresden e é consultor artístico da Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional da Estónia. É também conhecido por apresentar com regularidade muitas obras de compositores estónios, incluindo Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Lepo Sumera e Eduard Tubin. Anteriormente, foi Maestro Convidado Principal da Filarmónica Real de Estocolmo e da City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Muito solicitado como maestro convidado, Paavo Järvi apresenta-se com regularidade à frente das mais importantes orquestras, como a Philharmonia Orchestra, a Filarmónica da Radio France, a Filarmónica de Munique, a Sinfónica da Rádio da Baviera, a Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, a Orquestra de Paris, a Orquestra do Real Concertgebouw e as Sinfónicas de Boston, Chicago, Nova Iorque, Los Angeles e Filadélfia. Na presente temporada, estreia-se com a Sinfónica de Londres, dirige um concerto no Festival de Saint-Denis, com a Orquestra Nacional de França, e realiza digressões na Alemanha, com a Staatskapelle Dresden, e no Japão, com a Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Dresden, incluindo a interpretação de um ciclo dedicado às sinfonias de Beethoven.

O trabalho com orquestras juvenis constituiu uma das prioridades de Paavo Järvi, tendo no verão de 2004 dirigido a Orquestra Juvenil da União Europeia numa digressão aos Estados Bálticos, a qual marcou a entrada destes países na União Europeia. Dirigiu a Orquestra Juvenil de Verbier, em digressão e no Festival de Verbier. Trabalhou também com a Orquestra Juvenil Russa e Americana, em Moscovo, a Orquestra de Câmara Gustav Mahler, em Ferrara, e a Sinfónica do Novo Mundo, em Miami.A discografia de Paavo Järvi para a EMI/Virgin Classics inclui um disco das Cantatas de Sibelius, vencedor de um Grammy, e as suites para orquestra Peer Gynt, de Grieg, ambas as gravações com a Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional da Estónia. Com a Sinfónica de Cincinnati, gravou vários CDs para a Telarc, incluindo obras de Ravel, Berlioz, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Tubin, Stravinsky, Debussy, Dvorák e Martinú. Após o lançamento do CD dedicado a Richard Strauss e Stravinsky, com a Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Dresden, encontra-se em preparação uma integral das sinfonias de Beethoven, com esta mesma orquestra.

07 Novembro 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Jarvi, Symphony excel with Grieg, Bartok

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, November 18, 2005

There was a stealth premiere by Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony on Thursday night at Music Hall - Incidental Music from Grieg's "Peer Gynt."

"In the Hall of the Mountain King" and "Morning Song," two of the best known excerpts in classical music, CSO premieres?

Not per se, granted, but the compilation by Järvi - 10 of the 26 numbers Grieg wrote for Ibsen's play, plus "Bridal Procession," a Grieg piano piece orchestrated by Johan Halvorsen - was.

Making it even fresher was CSO violinist Paul Patterson, who performed the violin solos on a genuine, mother-of-pearl-inlaid "hardanger" fiddle.


It made for a delightful second half to the program, which also included a real CSO premiere, Zoltan Kodaly's Concerto for Orchestra (1941), and Bartok's 1936 Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta - a premiere, perhaps, for younger members of the audience, since it hasn't been performed by the CSO since 1984 (and only once before that, in 1959).

One of the composer's greatest works, the Bartok teemed with color and drama in Järvi's hands.

The opening Andante tranquillo was a masterpiece of timing and dynamics, a sinuous fugue snaking softly through divided strings to a fortissimo peak, then unwinding in contrary motion into muted fragments, which coalesced in a soft unison at the end.

The second movement (Allegro) was like music for a rumble, with buoyant rhythms, swarming runs and forceful timpani (Richard Jensen).

Following was a ghostly Adagio, a passing parade of eerie sounds, from Bill Platt's calibrated xylophone and icy glissandos (strings, piano, harp and celesta) to concertmaster Timothy Lees' high, wandering solo.

The kick-up-your-heels finale was earthy and good-humored, pianist Michael Chertock playing chase with the violins at one point.

The work's opening theme gushed up in full harmonic dress near the end to bell-like accompaniment in the celesta (Heather MacPhail), then ended with a bang.

"Peer Gynt" is a kind of Nordic "Rake's Progress" about a self-indulgent young man who wreaks havoc on those around him, learns his lessons on the road, then returns home, sadder and wiser, to the woman (Solveig) who has loved him all along. Järvi's version included all eight numbers from the two well-known "Peer Gynt" Suites arranged in roughly chronological order.

He saved the saddest and most telling number, "Ase's Death," for last, though Ase (Peer's mother) dies earlier in the play.

Järvi is an absolute master of this repertoire so it was an occasion to drink in pure sonic pleasure. The characters bowed in "At the Wedding," a bright, bustling number with shy Solveig's theme enclosed and Peer himself in the guise of the fiddle.

Patterson took a position next to the percussion rather than offstage (as Grieg directed) where the smaller sound of the folk fiddle might not have projected in Music Hall. He played with a convincing swagger, coaxing the distinctive ring from the resonating strings beneath the instrument's fingerboard and giving a real "kick" to the music.

"Ingrid's Lament" throbbed with pain, but of the acute kind - Järvi saved the true threnody for Ase - while "The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter" had a real rustic beat.

He built the CSO to a frenzy in "In the Hall of the Mountain King," though I missed the troll chorus (hear that on Järvi's Virgin Classics CD with the Estonian National Orchestra). And "Morning Song" brought smiles of recognition to the audience.

The gentle, sylph-like "Anitra's Dance" signaled Peer's undoing, followed by a heartfelt, tugging "Solveig's Song."

The CSO brass shone in the storm-tossed "Peer's Homecoming" which was followed almost without a break by "Ase's Death," where Järvi took a long moment at the end before dropping his hands.


The opening Kodaly, an easily accessible work with dance-like vitality and lush melody, showed off the CSO in all its colors.

Paavo Järvi leitet das hr-Sinfonieorchester in der Alten Oper Frankfurt

Bach/Webern, Nielsen und ein Beethoven-Klavierkonzert mit Olli Mustonen, 16.11.2005

Es ist das erste Konzert des hr-Sinfonieorchesters unter Leitung von Paavo Järvi als designiertem Chefdirigenten von der kommenden Saison an. Die Konzerte am Donnerstag, 8. Dezember (Jugendkonzert – 19.30 Uhr), und Freitag, 9. Dezember, 20 Uhr, stehen unter dem Motto „Über allen zeitbestimmten Geschmack erhaben“. Denn die Werke sind ebenso „klassisch“ wie einzigartig: Weberns Orchestrierung von Bachs Ricercare a 6, Beethovens 3. Klavierkonzert mit dem herausragenden finnischen Pianisten Olli Mustonen und Carl Nielsens 6. Sinfonie. Das Jugendkonzert wird moderiert. Freitags gibt es um 19 Uhr im Großen Saal wieder die Konzerteinführung „Musik im Gespräch", diesmal mit Paavo Järvi. hr2 sendet das Freitagskonzert live.

Mit Paavo Järvi, der die nächsten Spielzeiten des hr-Sinfonieorchesters künstlerisch prägen wird, verbindet das Orchester bereits eine langjährige hervorragende Zusammenarbeit. Konzertbesucher und hr2-Hörer mit weniger bekannten Komponisten aus dem nördlichen Europa, wie beispielsweise Carl Nielsen, bekannt zu machen, ist eines der erklärten Ziele des gebürtigen Esten aus legendärer Musikerfamilie. Olli Mustonen stand schon häufig als Solist an seiner Seite, wie zum Beispiel im letzten Jahr bei den Salzburger Festspielen. „Jede Aufführung muss eine Premiere sein“, ist das Credo des gefragten Pianisten, der zudem auch Dirigent, Komponist und Festivalgründer ist. Mustonen war zuletzt im Frühjahr 2002 zu Gast beim hr-Sinfonieorchester.

Weberns Orchesterfassung von Bachs Ricercare a 6 (aus dem „Musikalischen Opfer“ BWV 1079) gilt als eines seiner genialsten Werke. Die Melodien wan-dern von einem Instrument zum anderen und erzeugen einen faszinierenden Klangwechsel. Es ist eine „erhabene“ Musik, die Jahrhunderte zwischen Bach und Webern überbrückt. Weit über seine Zeit hinaus wirkte Beethovens 3. Klavierkonzert. Es war der Prototyp des sinfonischen Konzerts mit neuen Formideen, und es atmete bereits die Welt der „Eroica“. Dem Dänen Nielsen dagegen gelang in seiner 6. Sinfonie ein Werk von neuer Einfachheit, getragen von dem Ziel einer unkomplizierter Freude am reinen Klang.

Karten zwischen 12,50 und 44 Euro (Jugendkonzertkarten: 12,50 Euro) sind unter anderem erhältlich beim hr-Ticketcenter (Telefon 069/155-2000).

Hessischer Rundfunk / Kommunikation
Postfach
60222 Frankfurt am Main
Bertramstraße 8
60320 Frankfurt am Main
Telefon (069) 1 55-4549
Fax (069) 1 55-2126
bschulz@hr-online.de
www.presse.hr-online.de

CONCERT REVIEW: Järvi's approach to 'Peer Gynt' glows

By Janelle Gelfand
Cincinnati Enquirer, November 18, 2005

Grieg's music to "Peer Gynt," including the famous "In the Hall of the Mountain King," is familiar to most - if only from Warner Bros. cartoons. But you've never heard it performed as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra did Thursday night under Paavo Järvi.

Järvi's own compilation of Grieg's incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play, "Peer Gynt," formed half of Thursday's all-orchestral program in Music Hall. The captivating performance included the authentic touch of a "Hardanger fiddle," a folk violin from the region of the Hardanger Fjord.

With a Hungarian first half - Kodaly's Concerto for Orchestra and Bartok's spectacular Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta - it was an evening of nationalistic music that showed off the virtuosity of the orchestra.


Peer Gynt was a mythical Norwegian figure, a drunken womanizer whose adventures included kidnapping a bride, sleeping with the Troll-King's daughter and taking a harem. All of this, of course, broke the hearts of sweet Solveig, who loved him regardless, and his poor mother.

Järvi succeeded in pulling together a stunning suite from 26 numbers - 90 minutes - of music. (Incidentally, Järvi's Virgin Classics recording of "Peer Gynt" with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and singers is ravishing.)

The opening scene, "At the Wedding," was a vivid canvas of songful melodies and lusty folk rhythms. Violinist Paul Patterson's flamboyant solos on the Hardanger fiddle added flourish, including some impressive left-hand pizzicatos.

The music was full of drama and imagery. "In the Hall of the Mountain King" was cloaked in mystery, as Järvi stretched the beginning and gradually accelerated to a spectacular climax of brass and timpani. The sunrise music that followed had a sumptuous, glowing sound.

The musicians responded with precision and wonderfully emotional playing. Some of the most revelatory numbers were the lesser known ones: a sensuous "Arabian Dance" and a buoyant, slightly nostalgic "Anitra's Dance."


The evening opened with the orchestra's first performance of Kodaly's Concerto for Orchestra, premiered by the Chicago Symphony in 1941. Both folkloric and urbane, it pitted celebratory brass flourishes and busy themes against poignant, romantic moods, including a soulful clarinet solo (Jonathan Gunn).

Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is one of the great orchestral canvases of the 20th century. Järvi's seating arrangement split the string sections on either side of the podium, putting the cellos in back, for full antiphonal effect.

The sonic effect was interesting - but the performance was electrifying. The winding, chromatic fugue that opened the work had a haunting color; the second movement, a scherzo, was energized, and included a tour de force of cascades of scales.

Go to this one.


The concert repeats at 11 am today and 8 pm Saturday. (513) 381-3300.

E-mail jgelfand@enquirer.com

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CSO visits land of the fjords

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, November 17, 2005

The trolls will be out at Music Hall tonight and it isn't even Halloween.

Cincinnati Symphony music director Paavo Järvi takes his listeners on a custom visit to the land of fjords at 7:30 p.m. tonight, 11 a.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at Music Hall.

Järvi has prepared his own version (a CSO premiere) of Grieg's Incidental Music for "Peer Gynt." Featured artist is CSO violinist Paul Patterson, who will perform the fiddle solos in the opening numbers on a genuine Norwegian hardanger fiddle.

Also on the program are one of Bartok's greatest works, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and fellow Hungarian Zoltan Kodaly's Concerto for Orchestra.

Tickets are $17.75-$73.75, $10 for students, at (513) 381-3300. Admission for tonight's concert includes complimentary pre-concert buffet at 6:15. Also tonight, CSO Encore, the orchestra's young adult support group, hosts its first "Meet the Artists" event of the season. For $30, you get the buffet, the concert and a post-concert party. Call (513) 744-3590.

All Orchestral Weekend!

Alright, Cincinnati, here's your last chance to hear Paavo conduct the Cincinnati Symphony until the new year! And this week, there are no special guest artists visiting -- just our magnificent CSO playing their hearts out for us. What more could we ask?

Also, this week's schedule is a little different. Thursday night brings back the popular complimentary pre-concert buffet dinner in the beautiful Music Hall Ballroom (doors open at 6:15 pm), preceding the early 7:30 pm curtain time. Friday is one of the orchestra's rare morning concerts, beginning at 11 am. And Saturday, we're back to basics with the traditional 8 pm concert.

This week's program features KODÁLY's Concerto for Orchestra; BARTÓK's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; and GRIEG's Incidental Music from Peer Gynt. Get your Program Notes here!
Listen to Paavo's Notes about these concerts. This concert will air via streaming audio on classical radio WGUC-FM (90.9) on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 7:30 pm ET.

OOPS! We almost forgot! If you'd like to check out Paavo's recent recording of the Peer Gynt Suite with the Estonian National Symphony and soloists Peter Matthei (what a *hot* Don Giovanni he made several years ago when he appeared at the Cincinnati Opera!) and Charlotte Hellekant, click here to visit Amazon.com!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Symphony veteran takes on folk fiddle


Violinist Paul Patterson

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, November 15, 2005

Violinist Paul Patterson has been a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras many times.

But usually not on the violin.

A member of the CSO second violin section, the Clifton resident has played mandolin with the CSO and five-string banjo, bouzouki and guitar for the Pops. He is heard on more than 30 CSO and Pops recordings.

This week he will step out on his primary instrument.

Literally. As fiddle soloist in Incidental Music from Grieg's "Peer Gynt," he will begin offstage, then walk on and play from a position next to the percussion section.


The concerts, to be led by CSO music director Paavo Järvi, are at 7:30 pm Thursday, 11 am Friday and 8 pm Saturday at Music Hall.

Järvi's version of "Peer Gynt" (a CSO premiere) uses 11 of the 26 numbers Grieg wrote for the Ibsen play, arranged in roughly chronological order. The two oft-heard suites comprise only four numbers each, without regard to chronology.

Also on the program are Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and the Concerto for Orchestra by Zoltan Kodaly.

Patterson will play an authentic hardanger fiddle owned by composer/folk musician Grey Larsen.

Named for the region around Hardanger fjord, the hardanger fiddle is the national instrument of Norway. Slightly smaller than a violin and intricately decorated, it has two sets of strings, the ones upon which the violinist plays and a row of "sympathetic" strings beneath the fingerboard.

Larsen's fiddle, made in 1979 by Janne Danielssonn in Sweden, has four sympathetic and four principal strings. The body of the instrument (spruce and maple) is ornamented with leafy pen and ink drawings. The ebony fingerboard and tailpiece are inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and the scroll is a carved dragon like those on the prows of Viking ships.

"It has a very distinctive sound," said Patterson, "much more hollow and resonant than Italian violins, which have a center to them like a voice. I would call it haunting. When you get this interaction with the resonating strings underneath, it rings more."


Grieg's score contains his most familiar and popular music, including "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and "Morning Song." The fiddle solos - usually played by the concertmaster and principal violist in lieu of a fiddle - symbolize the rakish Peer, whose adventures take him from the land of the trolls to Arabia and back.

A native of Clifton and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Patterson is celebrating his 20th season with the CSO. He has been a versatile musician from youth.

"My mom was a very fine pianist. Everybody in my family (six kids) took piano, then switched to violin, viola or cello at about nine. My parents had an idea that music education was important to the general workings of the mind. I went to the symphony since I was 5."

Patterson's father, a UC geology professor, was the folk influence. "He was self taught (on accordion) and loved music. When I was 13, I bought a banjo, a mandolin, a guitar and we got a sitar. Also an electric violin. I've been playing all sorts of stuff and making recordings forever." (Patterson plays jazz violin with the Faux Frenchmen Monday evenings at Tink's restaurant in Clifton.)

Patterson and Larsen grew up in Clifton and were in a band called Melange at Walnut Hills High School. "We were certainly a mixture. We did folk, Renaissance, bluegrass, country, rock and roll. Grey went to Oberlin and got a composition degree."

After CCM, Patterson played jazz violin for about a year with bassist David Friesen and guitarist John Stowell. "We toured the West to the East Coast, hitting various jazz clubs."

At the end of the year, he and his wife Sylvia Mitchell, also a violinist, heard about openings at the CSO.

"She got a job (in the first violin section). Then a year later, I got one."

The couple met playing strolling violin.

"We were at CCM and were hired to play the same gig. It was the opening of 'Romeo and Juliet' at the Playhouse in the Park. We were hired separately by people who didn't know each one had hired somebody. We played together and that was it."

The two are a familiar duo locally. They will play banjo and fiddle in a piece by Raymond McLain (arranged by Mitchell) on a CSO Young People's Concert Nov. 29 at Music Hall.

The hardanger fiddle is designed for "fast response," said Patterson. "It's got a short string length so it's smaller and easier for your hand. My regular symphony violin has a big dynamic range so it has more resistance and you push more effort into it to make it louder."

However, hardanger fiddlers make much greater use of polyphony, i.e. playing more than one line simultaneously. The instrument has a flatter bridge and fingerboard to make this easier.

"I'm sure Paavo wants the guts of the folk fiddle feel and that's what I'm going for," said Patterson. "I like to play American fiddle music and it has to have some kick to it."

Playing hardanger fiddle is a tradition in Norway going back 300 years. "Along with it comes the whole of Norwegian culture," he said.


To view the "tip of the iceberg," visit the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America at www.hfaa.org.

Paul Patterson plays hardanger fiddle in Grieg's "Peer Gynt" with Paavo Järvi and the CSO at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday at Music Hall. For tickets, call (513) 381-3300, or order online at www.cincinnatisymphony.org.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Symphony attendance, Music Hall and the Banks

From Janelle Gelfand's Classical Music blog in the Cincinnati Enquirer (11/13/05):
How great it was to see nearly 400 kids for "College Nite" at the symphony Friday night. Clearly, the Cincinnati Symphony has struggled this season to fill the 3,400-seat Music Hall, week after week, night after night.

In particular, symphony attendance the past few weeks has looked especially dismal. The orchestra is considering, in fact, "downsizing" Music Hall to be smaller for symphony concerts, by closing off parts of the hall or pushing the stage out to the center of the hall – a "thrust" stage.

Sometime this season, the orchestra will likely hire theater and/or acoustical consultants to come up with a plan.

Music director Paavo Jarvi is concerned because of the perception that tickets are always available.

"There is no demand," he says.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, another theater where the orchestra played in the '30s, which has exceptional acoustics and is a mid-sized hall, is crumbling in disrepair. That, of course, is the Emery. It's a jewel of a theater, with so much potential, yet support of its renovation has waxed and waned over the past two decades.

Jarvi is afraid that if the orchestra were to leave Music Hall even for a few concerts somewhere else, the Grande Dame of Elm Street would fall into a decline.


Then there's the Banks. In today’s A&E section, our arts staff proposed ways to make the Banks an arts destination – including a mid-sized theater that could present movies, or even chamber music or choirs, says Margaret McGurk. I would add to that, a theater suitable for an alternative symphony series or a permanent home for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

What do YOU think?

Should Music Hall be redesigned to accommodate fewer seats for symphony concerts?

Should the Emery be revived? And if the orchestra played there -- even for a few concerts -- would that jeopardize Music Hall?

Should a new theater suitable for symphonic music be built as part of the Banks?

OR: Should Music Hall be left alone, and the symphony make more effort to beef up its attendance? Already, the board is considering things like mounting video screens on either side of the stage, or even mounting screens OUTSIDE of Music Hall – or on Fountain Square.

What about crime in the neighborhood? Should it be a priority of the new mayor and City Council to make the area around Music Hall safer?

Let me know your ideas!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Nielsen's 6th a riot

By Janelle Gelfand
Cincinnati Enquirer, November 12, 2005

Who knew that Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 6 could be so much fun?

At the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Friday night, Paavo Järvi re-introduced Nielsen's Sixth, in just the second performance by the orchestra since Thor Johnson gave its American premiere in 1957. Järvi knew how to sell this quirky number, one that had even the musicians grinning as they played.

Nielsen's Sixth capped a mostly Nordic program that included the stunning United States debut of 27-year-old Dutch violinist Janine Jansen in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Sibelius' "Tapiola."

Nielsen's "Sinfonia semplice" (simple symphony) might better be labeled "the eccentric." The Danish composer's last symphony of 1924, it looks ahead, while seeming to make fun of the direction music is going. Serious passages dissolve into music for triangle, side drum and glissando trombone, and brass fanfares come out of nowhere.

Yet, despite its surprises, Järvi managed to make it all hang together, and the orchestra's playing was full of character. No recording could ever reveal the inside jokes of the second movement "Humoreske" so clearly as this performance. In the third movement, an intense fugue for strings, the ensemble has never seemed so refined.

Orchestral soloists shone, from a noble theme in the horns in the first movement, to the witty bassoon solo (William Winstead) that opened the fourth. It was all a wonderful discovery.

For the centerpiece, Jansen delivered an electrifying account of the Tchaikovsky. Not just another flavor of the week, it was clear from the first note that this is an artist with something to say. She's a risk-taker, who could stretch a slow passage and then dive into a diabolically difficult one like a rocket.

The sound she projected on her priceless 1727 "Barrere" Strad wasn't large, but it could be sweet or throaty, with each chameleon-like turn of a phrase. Although her first movement was not especially Russian-sounding, it was so spontaneous you had to hold your breath through the adrenalin-charged virtuosities.

She beautifully captured the pathos of the "Canzonetta," where her sound was almost vocal. The finale was mesmerizing and passionate, delivered with her bow and long hair flying.

Järvi gave her free rein and kept an ideal balance, and the good-sized crowd was on its feet.

"Tapiola" evokes the woods outside of Helsinki in the same way that "La mer" evokes the sea. Järvi cultivated a dark, rich sound in the strings and horns, and the orchestra responded with beautiful playing.

The concert repeats at 3 pm Sunday in Music Hall. Tickets: (513) 381-3300.