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.