Saturday, August 27, 2005

Praise for PJ and DKAM!

Today's issue of the Ithaca [NY] Journal featured a nice editorial about Paavo and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie's recent visit to Cornell University:

Darts & Laurels Concert help: Benefactor helps many

Editorials

LAUREL: From Anna and Hermann Moratz to the anonymous Cornell alum who (along with other sponsors) enabled Ithacans to enjoy the amazing concert by the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with conductor Paavo Jarvi and violinist Viktoria Mullova on Aug. 3. Some of the people, who lined the back entrance to the Kiplinger theatre for more than an hour for the free tickets, had to be turned away. The lucky ones were treated to an all-Beethoven concert by this incredibly wonderful orchestra. The tremendous enthusiasm of the audience led to three encores! The German Nordwest Radio reported: “The first stage of their U.S. tour was Ithaca, which has a first-rate reputation due to Cornell University, with its 20,000 students. It is very evident that focus is on culture in this town."

Friday, August 26, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Piret Väinmaa

Ilmunud: reede, 26 august 2005

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE BREMEN ja Baiba Skride (viiul, Läti) PAAVO JÄRVI dirigeerimisel Estoonia kontserdisaalis 16. VIII, kavas Beethoven ja Sibelius.

On vanu muinasjutte, mida ikka ja jälle tahetakse kuulata ning mille tarkusetera kulub eluteel marjaks ära. Kontsert on aga sündmus, kus rullub lahti muusikaline muinasjutt. Ja on heliloojaid, kes elavad tänapäevani õnnelikult muusikalise muinasmaa mäetippudel. Üks neist on Beethoven, kelle loomingust võib ikka ja jälle elamusi ammutada.

16. augustil Estonia kontserdisaalis Paavo Järvi juhatusel esinenud Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on koosseis, mille kuulamiseks võiks kokku tulla uhkes säravate lühtritega mõisasaalis – dirigent Järvi sõnutsi köidab teda just võimalus mängida Beethovenit ajastule omase, suure sümfooniaorkestriga võrreldes väiksema koosseisuga.

Suursugusust õhkus ka repertuaarivalikust: Beethoveni kaks sümfooniat, Esimene (C-duur op. 21, 1800) ning Neljas (B-duur op. 60, 1806), saadetuna romanssidest viiulile ja orkestrile (G-duur op. 40 ja F-duur op. 50), lisaks veel Sibeliuse humoreskid (op. 87 nr 1 ja 2) samuti viiulile ja orkestrile, solistiks lätlanna Baiba Skride.

Maailmas on kindlasti vähe selliseid häid orkestreid, kelle musitseerimises oleks sama palju tuld, kirge ja tahet kui Bremeni muusikute koosluses. Beethoveni partituurid, sisaldades endas inimtunnete paletti kui ideaalipüüdlusi jumalikkuse poole, pakuvad selle avaldumiseks ka tänuväärse võimaluse. Ei saa mööda minna ka ühest olulisest väljendusvahendist meie selleõhtuste külalisesinejate arsenalis: armastusest ja õhinast muusika vastu, mis liitus kaasakiskuva tahte ja intensiivsusega. Sealjuures on Bremeni kammerorkestri mängutehnika keskeuroopalikult usaldusväärne ja korrektne.

Esimese sümfoonia kõlamaailmas on tugevaid Haydni mõjutusi, Beethoveni omapära see aga ei varjuta. Allegro’s ilmnes orkestrantide kõlakujutluse värskus, valmisolek ja väga hea koostöö dirigendiga. Andante cantabile pisut rutakas tempo röövis aga veidi lüüriliste ja humoorikate kujundite nõtkust. Ent finaali Allegro molto e vivace hoogu ei pidurdanud miski.

Viiulisolist Baiba Skride musitseerimine tegi Beethoveni ja Sibeliuse palad kergesti kuulatavaks ja ülimalt nauditavaks. Kõnelev cantabile, karakterite selgus ning perfektne koostöö dirigendi ja orkestriga iseloomustas Skride esinemist algusest lõpuni. Eriti vaimukalt olid kujundatud siinmail vähe esitatud Sibeliuse humoreskid, pakkudes üllatusi esimesest viimase noodini.

Vaatamata Schumanni poeetilisele iseloomustusele Beethoveni Neljanda kohta, mis olevat kui sihvakas helleni tütarlaps kahe põhjamaise hiiu vahel, ennustab sümfoonia traagilise alatooniga sissejuhatus kogu partituuri teatavat otsivat, isegi heitlikku karakterit, kus otse sekundipealt muutub ooperlik õhin või seikluslik märul enesessepöördunud mõtiskluseks.

Teise osa Adagio karakter on üks mõistatuslikumaid: mõtted oleks justkui laokil, teisal jälle pöörduvad kindlasse suunda... Forte kõlaline kvaliteet paistis enim olevat paigas kolmandas osas Allegro vivace’s.

Paavo Järvi professionaalsuses ja partituuri valdamises pole kahtlust. Järvi juhatusel elas dünaamilistest kontrastidest pakatav Beethoveni partituur täisverelist elu. Ometi võib igapäevases leivas, nagu Beethoven dirigentidele on, avastada uusi ja mitmekesiseid maitsevarjundeid, eriti forte’s, mis sel õhtul kippus sümfooniates ühetaoliselt kalgivõitu kõlama. Beethoveni dünaamikamärkuste, sealhulgas rõhkude ja crescendo’de kontekstipõhisem tõlgendamine aidanuks sümfoonia muusikaliseks tervikuks sidumisele oluliselt kaasa ning toonuks esile suurvormide tõelised kulminatsioonid.

Vaimustust äratas Bremeni orkestri ülim pühendumus ja aktiivsus musitseerimisel, mis tuletab meelde, et midagi ei saa poolikult teha – kui tahta, et muinasjutud tõeks saaksid.

Senikaua, kui on muusikuid ja kuulajaid, jätkub ka muinasjutt.

New Piece Commissioned by PJ for the CSO


Paavo in white tie at his first weekend as CSO Music Director, September 14-15, 2001 (Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer)

Wow. Sometimes I even surprise myself -- I just can never tell what might turn up next! After just deleting what appeared to be a potentially dangerous (virus-laden) message from Charles Coleman, I decided to take a look at his website again for old times sake. If you were around here when Paavo began his tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony, you may remember the weekend following September 11, 2001. It was opening weekend for the new symphony season and Paavo's first one as CSO Music Director and was to have been a time of celebration. Paavo had commissioned a new work for the orchestra by New York composer Charles Coleman. Entitled Streetscape, it was inspired by the long walks around the city that Coleman is so fond of making. Due to the tragic events of 9/11, Coleman was almost unable to make it for the world premiere of his new piece until his parents volunteered to drive him to Cincinnati. Streetscape was a great success, lifting the spirits of those of us in attendance and proving to be the embodiment of New York's diversity and life at a time when the city and the nation mourned so many deaths.

And now, according to his website, "Charles Coleman has been commissioned once again by Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony to write a 15 minute work for full Orchestra. [It is s]cheduled for performance during their 2006-2007 season."

We'll be looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

PJ's Contract with DKAM Extended

Congratulations to Paavo!

From the official press release:

Due to the great success which the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi recently had and because of several invitations for the next year of the "combination" Paavo Järvi/The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Beethoven symphonies, it is only logical that the collaboration of the orchestra and its conductor will continue. The current contract, valid till December 2006, will be extended till the end of 2007.

The next outstanding project will be a tour through Japan in May 2006. Its highlight is a cyclic interpretation of all nine Beethoven symphonies lasting three days in the Yokohama Concert Hall. Järvi comments on the successes with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen especially with the Beethoven symphonies: "The work with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is most inspiring for me. The highlights of the past season were without doubt the wonderful Beethoven concerts in the US and Canada." The New York Times writes about the performance of the orchestra on the occasion of the Mostly Mozart Festival as "the event of the summer".

Another blogger

Look what I just discovered. It's an Estonian blog called
märtsijänese kodukant
with a post about Paavo's recent concert (I think!).

If anyone would like to translate it to share with the rest of us, I would greatly appreciate it!

olemise lihtne võti

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen verlängert Vertrag mit Paavo Järvi


Musikmarkt Online
24.08.2005

Hmmm, if my Systran translation is correct, it looks like Paavo's contract with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen has been extended through 2007!

Bremen - Der Vertrag zwischen der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen und dem Künstlerischen Leiter Paavo Järvi wurde vorzeitig um ein weiteres Jahr bis Ende 2007 verlängert. Bisher galt die Vereinbarung bis Ende 2006. Auch international erfolgreich ist die Verbindung zwischen Järvi und der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen vor allem mit der Interprätation von Beethoven Sinfonien. So waren sie unter anderem in diesem Jahr in den USA und auf dem Baltikum unterwegs.

Paarvo Järvi kommentiert den Erfolg der Zusammenarbeit so: "Die Arbeit mit der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen ist für mich höchst inspirierendes Musizieren." In Deutschland ist die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen unter Leitung von Paavo Järvi am 6. September in Bremen und am 7. September in Oldenburg im Rahmen des Musikfestes Bremen zu hören. Am 11. September sind sie beim Internationalen Beethovenfest Bonn zu Gast.

Über die Vertragsverlängerung freuen sich (von links) Senator Jörg Kastendiek, Paavo Järvi, Künstlerischer Leiter der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen und Albert Schmitt, Managing Director der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Autor: j koehler

CONCERT REVIEW: Elus Ludwig, riukalik Jean

24.08.2005 00:01
Evi Arujärv, muusikakriitik

Häid ja suurepäraseid orkestreid mitmest ilmakaarest on meil tänaseks juba palju käinud. See seab ootuste lati kõrgele. Aga ikka ja jälle leidub üllatajaid.

Beethoveni veel Haydni ja Mozarti vaimu kandva «Esimese sümfoonia» (1800) sissejuhatus Bremeni Saksa Kammerfilharmoonialt Paavo Järvi juhatusel üllatas, meenutades oma sooja ning tihke kõla ning aegluubis voo­lamisega pehmet kooreiirist.

Seda ikka heas mõttes: muusika loob helisevat tõeluseillusiooni; peale kuulmise ka teisi meeli hõlmates on see tõeluseillusioon täielikum kui muidu.

Mitu üheskoos

Aga läbi kava üllatas kammerorkestri nimetust kandev kollektiiv ka sellega, et kehastas järgemööda ja läbisegi otsekui mitut erinevat orkestrit ja orkestristiili. Ka Beethoveni ja Sibeliuse romansse esitanud endine imelaps ja nüüdne menukas lavapersoon Baiba Skride tundub olevat muusik, kes eelistab tavapärasele erilist.

Tema väljenduslaadi kannab tugev, ekstrovertne ja ennastnautiv artistlikkus. Ehk seepärast ei domineerinudki Beethoveni romanssides see soe, ennastunustav hingus, mis üht armulaulu täitma peaks, vaid muud küljed: viiulikõla sära ja sensuaalsus ning pingevaba vormikujundus.

Näib, et enamasti turvalise koraaliharmoonia lainetel liikuvad romansid ei andnud solisti fantaasialennule suuri võimalusi. Sibeliuse hu­moreskides oli selleks enam ainet: ettekande tegid põnevaks eri stiilide põrkumised ning sundimatu huumor.

Rõõmus ja loov

Kontserdi keskpunktiks võiks siiski pidada Beethoveni sümfooniate ülimalt värskeid tõlgendusi.

Esimese sümfoonia aegluubis sissejuhatusele järgnesid Allegro con brios mati kõlaga kammerlike dialoogide ja säriseva täiskõla kontrastid. Teine osa (Andante can­tabile con moto) oli tõeline graatsia õpetus. Kolmanda osa (Menuett) tuulehoona mõjuvatesse liikumistesse sekkus karm vasekõla. Ka neljandale andsid ilmet õhkõrna ja mahlaka kõla kontrastid.

Individualiseeritud, kammerliku muusikakõne juurest võimuka üldistava retoorika poole – selline on väga sageli klassikalise sümfoonia üldine siht. Järvi käe all said «väikese» ja «suure» retoorika kontrastid väga detailirikka ja veenva vormistuse.
Rõõmus ja loov oli kuuldud kontserdi klassikatõlgendus tervenisti – väga elus Beethoven ja riukalik Sibe­lius.

Kontsert
Bremeni Saksa Kammerfilharmoonia
Dirigent Paavo Järvi, solist Baiba Skride (viiul)
16. augustil Estonia kontserdisaalis

Paavo Järvi verlängert Vertrag bei Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Well, even with my virtually non-existent knowledge of German, I could figure out that this little article is an announcement of a tour of Japan for PJ and his little band of merry musicians! And they will be performing all nine of Beethoven's symphonies over a three day period, as well. (Oh! His contract has been extended through 2007, too!)

Japan-Tournee im Mai 2006
freiepresse.de, 24.08.05

Bremen (ddp). Der estnische Dirigent Paavo Järvi und die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen setzen ihre Zusammenarbeit fort. Eineinhalb Jahre vor dem Auslaufen des Vertrages haben sich der künstlerische Leiter und das Orchester auf eine Verlängerung bis Ende 2007 verständigt. Danach solle jährlich neu verhandelt werden, sagte der Geschäftsführer der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie, Albert Schmitt, am Dienstag in Bremen.

Ausschlaggebend für die frühzeitige Vertragserneuerung seien vor allem die erfolgreichen Konzerte in den USA und im Baltikum im Sommer gewesen. «Mit diesem Orchester stimmt einfach die Chemie, und es warten noch spannende Projekte auf uns», sagte Järvi.

Dazu zählt eine Japan-Tournee im Mai 2006, auf der innerhalb von drei Tagen alle neun Beethoven-Sinfonien in der Yokohama Concert Hall präsentiert werden sollen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Baustelle mit Weltklasse-Niveau

Kammerphilharmonie zeigt Baustelle ihrer neuen Räume in der Gesamtschule Ost. Vertrag mit Järvi verlängert. Verhandlungen über Zuschüsse laufen noch
Die Tageszeitung, 23.8.2005

Bremen taz Wenn die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen spricht, dann immer in den höchsten Tönen. Einen tristen Sichtbeton-Innenhof auf der Baustelle Gesamtschule Ost stellte das Bremer Weltklasse-Orchester gestern mit dem künstlerischen Leiter Paavo Järvi und Kultursenator Jörg Kastendiek (CDU) vor - den neuen Probensaal. Weltklassig soll er werden, geeignet für SACD-Aufnahmen höchster Qualität und Konzerte. Beinahe nebenbei gab der Geschäftsführer des privaten Kammerorchesters Albert Schmitt bekannt, dass Järvi seinen 2006 auslaufenden Vertrag erneuert hat - Jahr für Jahr soll das Engagement des estnischen Dirigenten verlängert werden zusammen mit der Verabredung konkreter "Projekte". Und die gibt es genug: Die Salzburger Festspiele stehen regelmäßig auf dem Programm, eine Japan-Tournee im Mai 2006, auf der auch der gesamte Zyklus der neun Beethoven-Symphonien gespielt werden soll, 2007 dann in Strasbourg.

Järvi revanchierte sich in höchsten Tönen über das Orchester, das ihm von der New York Times das Lob "event of the year" für ein Konzert in der Carnegy Hall eingebracht hat. Die Arbeit mit der Kammerphilharmonie "never feels like work, it is a joy", meinte Järvi, und die gerade in den letzten Tagen aufgenommene Beethoven-SACD lobte er als den besten seiner Tonträger.

Im Rahmen seines Engagements für den Nachwuchs hat die Kammerphilharmonie die "Patenschaft" das Bremer Landesjugendorchester übernommen. Wenn der neue Probenraum im kommenden Sommer fertig ist, will sie auch mit den Schülern der Gesamtschule Ost zusammenarbeiten. Dann erwartet das Spitzenorchester, dass das Land Bremen seine Förderung fortsetzt - dass der Senat dem Orchester den neuen Probenraum spendiert, war zumindest ein starkes Signal. kawe

taz Bremen Nr. 7749 vom 23.8.2005, Seite 21, 62 Zeilen (TAZ-Bericht), kawe

Sunday, August 21, 2005

New Overtures at the Symphony

Daniel J. Wakin of The New York Times contributes yet another article about ways orchestras are trying to awaken Sleeping Beauty (aka the potential audience) in New Overtures at the Symphony, August 21, 2005 (requires registration). Here are some excerpts from his observations:

"...As audiences seem to grow older and the public turns its attention away from concertgoing, orchestras around the country are adopting a wide array of methods, from the trivial to the thoughtful, to bring more people into the concert hall. They are hunting for the neophytes, the dabblers and mainly the ungray.

"...At the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's 'Classical Connections' series for the under-40 set, you can speed date, take salsa lessons or exchange résumés before the performance, a shortened concert with onstage commentary and occasional video.

"For six Friday nights, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will play a traditional program for the first half of the evening, but then provide the choice of chamber music or jazz in the lobby for the second half.

"The New World Symphony, a high-level training orchestra in Miami Beach led by Michael Tilson Thomas, will play four 20-minute concerts in one evening, each on the hour, from 7 to 10.

"...Trying nonmusical methods to lure concertgoers is not new. For at least a decade, orchestras - particularly smaller ones - have introduced shorter and earlier concerts, onstage commentary and film-score programs to broaden their appeal. More recent innovations include video screens in the concert hall, hand-held electronic devices to provide running commentary and musical programs built around pop culture themes.

"But a recent surge in experimentation tempts one to wonder if orchestra executives and their increasingly influential marketing departments might be panicking. In any case, the ferment of ideas just may change the symphony concert experience.

"...Crucially, subscriptions - a critical part of orchestra finances - are declining. And every subscription not renewed is yet one more batch of tickets that must be sold just to stay even. Single-ticket sales usually do not make up the difference....

"Why are audiences shrinking? It's the great debate in the classical-music world, as pervasive a topic as race in South Africa or real estate in New York: Is the business of classical music as we know it dying?

"Pessimists say it is at least on the decline, and blame a lack of music education, shorter attention spans, an image-obsessed culture and a vast new world of entertainment options. Another point of view says classical music is alive and well, with more listening than ever occurring at home or in the car. Maybe, this line of thought goes, the problem is not demand but supply: too many orchestras are playing too many concerts.

" 'It used to be orchestras had very small staffs and gave many fewer concerts,' said Joseph Horowitz, the author of the recent book Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall. 'This is the nub of the issue. It's a surfeit of product that's causing many of the dysfunctions.' That, he says, and the lack of charismatic music directors, amid an overabundance of marketing directors. (Most orchestras did not even have marketing departments until the 1970's. Today, a staff of a dozen is typical.) And there are always practical considerations like concertgoers in suburbs spreading ever farther from downtown concert halls, difficult parking and expensive tickets....

"Researchers divided that quadrant into categories like active and casual audiences; 'sophisticated low-frequency alums,' many of whom would attend if invited; dabblers; and 'uninitiated prospects.' They spoke of orchestras as 'delivery systems' for 'product,' providing an 'entertainment experience.' Focus on what the audience wants, the study said. Loosen the definition of classical music. Pay more attention to social functions. And offer lots of visual stimulation.

" 'It's been one-size-fits-all for a long time,' said Alan S. Brown, a consultant and the project director of the Knight audience study. 'Today's cultural consumers are demanding more intense experiences.'

"And orchestras are cooking them up and dishing them out. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a leader in what might be called the fun-factor area, has a Thursday night series that provides free dinners. The doors to Music Hall open at 6:15, and concertgoers hit the buffet line, taking an entree and salad and sitting at tables in the hall's 20,000-square-foot ballroom. 'College Nite' concerts feature post-performance parties twice a year, in which students nibble appetizers and listen to a local band (not the symphonic kind).

"Paavo Jarvi, the music director, and orchestra musicians make appearances. The orchestra's CSO Encore! group, for young professionals, is sponsoring a 'Dressed to the Nines' party at the hall for opening night, when a Beethoven symphony - no need to say which - is on the program. At the beginning of last season, the symphony even sold Paavo's Baack T-shirts, a surprising accessory to Mr. Jarvi's intelligent music-making and serious demeanor.

" 'We're just trying to snap it up a bit,' said the orchestra's spokeswoman, Carrie Krysanick.
...

"The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is shaking things up too - shaking, but not stirring - with Symphony With a Twist, a series of four concerts preceded by martini bars and jazz in the lobby. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's version is called Bravo.

"In Houston the focus is less on the party in the lobby than the visuals on the stage. The Houston Symphony projects images of the musicians, arms sawing and fingers flying, and the conductor, baton a-waving, on large screens in the hall. (The Omaha Symphony, the San Diego Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra have all tried similar experiments, as did the New York Philharmonic.) 'We have to recognize that this is a visual generation,' Evans Mirageas, an orchestra marketing consultant [Sandye's note: and new Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Opera], said. 'They are used to seeing things more than they are used to hearing things.'...

"The critical question is whether the new tricks actually work. And so far, the evidence is mixed. Cincinnati's free meals brought higher attendance. ('If you feed them, they will 'said Ms. Krysanick, the orchestra's spokeswoman.)...

"'We live or die on the repertoire, from Bach through John Adams and Steve Reich and so on,' said Peter Pastreich, an orchestra administrator for 40 years who retired as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1999. 'That's what makes the difference.'

"As for cocktails and canapés? Can they determine the future of classical music? 'We are in a lot of trouble,' he said, 'if that's true.' "

Saturday, August 20, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Kleine Häppchen als Vorgeschmack

Von Ralf Döring
Neue OZ-Online,20.08.2005

Bremen - Da gehen einige "Ohs" durch die Reihen. Keine Frage, mit ihrem knallroten Kleid macht Baiba Skride schon rein optisch etwas her. Dabei steht die flammende Farbe in bemerkenswertem Gegensatz zur schüchternen Ausstrahlung.

Ein wenig verstohlen wischt sie die Hand am Kleid ab, bevor sie dem Konzertmeister der Kammerphilharmonie Bremen und deren Dirigenten Paavo Järvi die Hand gibt. Doch souverän gibt sie sich, wenn sie ihre Geige ansetzt und mit ihrem warmen Ton das Konzerthaus "Die Bremer Glocke" füllt.

Nach ihrem Gastspiel beim "Nordtöne"-Festival in Osnabrück gab Skride ihr Debüt bei den Salzburger Festspielen im Jahr 2004: der Startschuss zur großen Karriere. Dennoch findet die 24-jährige Lettin noch Zeit für Abstecher in die vermeindliche Provinz: So gastiert sie Ende der kommenden Spielzeit, im Juni 2006, abermals in Osnabrück als Solistin beim 8. Symphoniekonzert. Und dort tritt sie mit einem ungleich gewichtigeren Programm auf als nun in Bremen: Johannes Brahms' Violinkonzert steht dann auf dem Programm.

In gewisser Weise ist auch ihr Auftritt in der Glocke Ausdruck ihrer Souveränität: Baiba Skride muss sich und dem Publikum nichts beweisen. Und was sie aus den beiden Romanzen für Violine und Orchester von Beethoven macht, besticht durchaus. Denn ihr Spiel ist intelligent und technisch brillant. So treibt sie Beethovens Hits die Sentimentaliät aus, entwickelt aus der Partitur heraus ihren nuancenreichen Ausdruck.

Kein Dynamikwechsel wirkt hier zufällig, kein Akzent aufgesetzt, jeder Wechsel der Klangfarbe entspringt Skrides klarer Vorstellung vom musikalischen Inhalt. Leider ist das Orchester unter Järvi da nicht immer auf gleicher Höhe - wie sich die Kammerphilharmoniker an diesem Abend ohnehin nicht von ihrer besten Seite zeigten. Wacklige Einsätze, gelegentlich auch etwas zu viel Kraft, machen es Skride nicht immer leicht.

Mit Sibelius stand ein weiterer Komponist auf dem Programm, der ein wichtiges Violin-Konzert geschrieben hat. Doch auch bei ihm beschränkte sich Skride auf Virtuosenhäppchen: Auf die Humoresken op. 87 Nr. 1 und 2. Sicher, wiederum zeigte sie sich als beeindruckende Solistin mit festem Bogenstrich und rasanter Virtuosität. Ihre Größe konnte man bei den kleinen Stücken jedoch lediglich erahnen. Aber der nächste Sommer kommt ja gewiss - und damit Baiba Skride. Freuen wir uns also auf Brahms.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: CSO remains gem of a cultural value

Cincinnati Enquirer, August 20, 2005

As chairman of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Board, I thank The Enquirer for its continuing coverage of the CSO. "Fewer hear CSO, Pops" (Aug. 17) included recent statistics about the CSO, but behind the numbers is an orchestra at the top of its game artistically with one of the most important young conductors in the world - Paavo Järvi.

Although we strategically raised ticket prices recently, which caused some decline in subscriptions, we continue to provide the lowest average ticket price among America's leading symphony orchestras.

Our orchestra is fiscally sound and enjoys a positive image at home and abroad that raises the profile of our city. Cincinnatians can be proud of their cultural gem.

Rick Reynolds, chairman, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Board

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

CSO Ticket Revenues Increase; but attendance levels decline

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Cincinnati Post, August 17, 2005

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is reporting mixed financial results from its just completed 2004-05 season.

The good news is ticket revenues were up and, unlike most American orchestras, the CSO is debt-free and with a balanced budget.

The bad news is that, though revenue from ticket sales grew 9 percent for the CSO and 11 percent for the Cincinnati Pops, it came from fewer customers.


Average attendance at CSO Music Hall concerts was 1,707, down 12 percent from last year. For the Pops, attendance averaged 2,296, down 8 percent from the year earlier, although the Pops remained the best-attended musical groups in the U.S.

There were 6,887 CSO subscriptions sold, down 10 percent from 2003-04. The Pops sold 5,406 subscriptions, a decline of 14 percent over the year before.

The fall in ticket sales was anticipated, said CSO president Steven Monder, because of higher ticket prices for the 2004-05 season. CSO and Pops ticket prices were raised by 25 and 20 percent, respectively.

"It was a correction that had to be made," Monder said. "Our prices were way low."

Attendance at orchestra concerts nationwide has fallen in recent years, though it tends to look more drastic at Music Hall, which, with 3,516 seats, is the nation's largest concert hall.


Attendance was up 15.5 percent for the CSO and Pops 2005 Riverbend season, bucking a trend for many orchestras at their summertime venues. Net revenue was up.

Monder ascribed the increase to a combination of good weather and successful programming.

Riverbend is owned by the CSO.

The most popular CSO concerts were May 7 with music director Paavo Jarvi and pianist Alexander Toradze, and April 30, with Jarvi and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

Monder said several initiatives are under way for the orchestra. Conductor Erich Kunzel and the Pops will tour China in October, with the idea of raising the profile of the orchestra.

The CSO is going slow on plans to downsize Music Hall, Monder said, chiefly out of concern for preserving its superior acoustics. Under discussion have been moving the stage forward and removing seats from beneath the balcony.

The CSO made some belt-tightening moves this year, including canceling is "Home for the Holidays" show, its summer chamber orchestra series and its "Jammin' on Main" festival downtown.

The CSO players took a two-year salary freeze as part of their contract renewal last fall; the CSO administration also agreed to a salary freeze.

Artistically, it was a red letter year for Jarvi and the CSO, with a highly praised tour of Europe last fall and some critically acclaimed recordings.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hear Radio Bremen's Reports from American Tour!


Journalist Friederike Westerhaus from Nordwestradio accompanied Paavo and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on their recent visit to America to report about it for Radio Bremen and Norddeutscher Rundfunk. You can listen to her reports (in German) here!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

PJ and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen Embark on Tour of the Baltics


Wish I was there to hear it! :-)

From the concert calendar:

Sunday, August 14, Amfiteatr nad Motlawa, Danzig, POLAND; Monday, August 15, Riga, LATVIA; Tuesday, August 16, Kontserdisaal, Tallinn, ESTONIA; Wednesday, August 17, Kontserdimaja, Parnu, ESTONIA; Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 19, Die Glocke, Bremen, GERMANY. The program includes Beethoven's Romances, as well as Symphonies 1 & 4; Sibelius's Humeresques; and Stravinsky's Concerto in D. Guest Artist: Baiba Skride, violin.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: La musique des Lumières

"La musique des Lumières"
by Christophe Huss
Le Devoir, 8 août 2005

Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Symphony No. 3 "Eroica." Viktoria Mullova (Violin), Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Conductor: Paavo Järvi. Lanaudière Amphitheater, Friday, 5 August 2005. Broadcast by the radio station Espace Musique on 30 August 2005.

BY CHRISTOPHE HUSS

"Paavo Järvi arranges his orchestra very intelligently by placing the violins opposite each other, the timpani positioned on the right, the double basses at the rear on the left, next to the horns. That is what Klemperer sometimes did. The results can be noticed immediately, thanks as well to an orchestra roster of approximately forty musicians – passing the phrases among the strings (when have you ever heard a dialogue between the second violins and violas in the Finale of the "Eroica"?); the clarity and charisma of the woodwinds; the effect of the timpani struck with a very dry stick.

Paavo Järvi demonstrated on Friday that he, along with Osmo Vänskä, is one of the truly great conductors of his generation. His art continues a tradition that was believed to be lost – that of Antal Dorati, Hermann Scherchen, Charles Münch, and Paul Paray. It was probably inevitable that some day a "true master" would transform the eloquence of the Baroque specialists into music. Paavo Järvi is the master in that respect. His Beethoven is uncompromising, terse, trenchant, and, above all, clear. He does not let himself be made a fool of by some tradition or other and does not become slower when the music is soft – for example, in the pizzicatos in the Finale of the "Eroica," which are absolutely a tempo.

Järvi proves himself to be a "true master" in that his Beethoven is not rhythmic in a simplistic way (in the style of Gardiner) or aggressive (in the style of Norrington). He enjoys shaping the music, especially with precise crescendos, distinct accents, and tiny but still consistent pianissimos. There is an excitement with him, even in the least tangible nuance. This formula, which was applied in the Violin Concerto, gives us a transformed Larghetto (second movement) that regains its true pulse, which in this work is the equivalent of what Casadesus and Rosbaud recreated in the "Emperor" Concerto. With this first-rate accompaniment, Viktoria Mullova merely had to indicate her own sonority throughout the work, without ever overtaxing it.

One could cite many other examples of important ideas, but I would never forgive myself if I did not develop one of them in more detail. The "Eroica" Symphony is definitely a revolutionary work, but it does not appear out of nowhere. Under Paavo Järvi's direction, one hears a real march in the second movement, emphasized by the timpani. From the standpoint of sonorities, one is right in the midst of the French music of the revolution. It is Gossec, it is Méhul in a sublimated form – a Beethoven who is the heir to the Enlightenment. It is astounding, clear, and obvious – I have never heard it like this.

"After the final chord, my neighbor, an 80-year-old, whispered to his wife, 'That was one of the greatest things I ever heard in my life.' I did not only attend the concert of the year, on top of that I sat next to a wise man!"

Friday, August 12, 2005

Paavo Järvi juhatab erilist orkestrit

Paavo Järvi juhatab erilist orkestrit
12.08.2005 00:01
Kristel Kossar, toimetaja

Dirigent Paavo Järvi toob järgmisel teisipä_eval esmakordselt Eesti kuulajate ette kammerorkestri Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, mille kunstiliseks juhiks ta möödunud aastal valiti. Järvit seob maailma kammerorkestrite paremikku kuuluva Saksa orkestriga aastatepikkune koostöö.

Eestisse jõuab Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen pärast edukaks osutunud Kanada ja USA tuuri, kus jõuti üles astuda kahel festivalil – Mostly Mozart festivalil New Yorgis ning Ravinia festivalil Chicagos. Enne esinemist dirigendi sünnimaal näevad kammerorkestrit kuulajad Vilniuses, samuti minnakse esinema Lätti ja Poola.

Ühised arusaamad

Tallinnas on kavas Ludwig van Beethoveni esimese ja neljanda sümfoonia kõrval helilooja romansid viiulile ja orkestrile, samuti Jean Sibeliuse humoreskid.

Paavo Järvi alustas orkestri juures tööd esmalt külalisdirigendina, teda vaimustas Beethoveni sümfooniate esitamine kammerkoosseisuga. «See on just õige orkester Beethoveni teoste ettekandmiseks – 35 inimest. Praegu mängitakse tema teoseid suure orkestriga, kuid helilooja eluajal kanti neid ette märgatavalt väiksema koosseisuga ning filigraansemalt, samuti teise tempoga,» kõneles Järvi.

«Olin dirigendina peaasjalikult kandnud ette suuri teoseid suurte sümfooniaorkestritega. Kuid tundsin puudust kammermuusikast, millega olin üles kasvanud – isa oli suur Mozarti ja Haydni loomingu austaja.»

«Sel orkestril on hoopis teistsugune tööstiil, mis sarnaneb pigem noorteorkestri omale,» iseloomustas Järvi, kelle sõnul muusikud ei mõtle, et on vaid osakesed suurest orkestrist, vaid pigem nii, et nad kõik paistavad silma.

Järvi hinnangul sobib see orkester esitama nii vana- kui nüüdismuusikat. «Väga oluline on leida endale orkestri näol partner, kes sinust aru saab. Nende arusaam muusikast on minu omaga väga sarnane.»

Pikaajaliseks huvitavaks projektiks peab dirigent plaani plaadistada Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremeniga kõik Beethoveni sümfooniad. Juba on lindis seitsmes ja kaheksas sümfoonia, pärast esinemisi Eestis plaadistatakse kolmas ja neljas. Lisaks on Järvi nendega plaadile mänginud Igor Stravinski ja Richard Straussi loomingut.

20 aastat laval

Paavo Järvi debüütesinemisest 1985. aastal Trondheimis saab tänavu kakskümmend aastat. «Alguses on nii palju tundmatut repertuaari, et kui ka iga päev teed midagi uut, ei saa tehtud pooltki sellest, mida tahad. Stress on suur, palju tarvis õppida ja proove teha, samuti inimesi tundma õppida – kui orkestri ette astub kahekümneviiene poiss, olgu ta kui tahes geniaalne, ei saavuta ta puuduliku inimestetundmise tõttu eales sellist tulemust nagu hea vanem dirigent.»

Nüüd, kui Järvil on enda sõnul kogemusi rohkem, lubab ta hakata tasapisi külalisdirigeerimisi piirama. Seda enam, et koduorkestreid jagub: lisaks muusikadirektori ametile Cincinnati Sümfooniaorkestri juures saab Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremeni kunstilisest juhist ning ERSO kunstilisest nõustajast varsti Frankfurdi Raadio sümfooniaorkestri peadirigent.

Kontsert
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Dirigent Paavo Järvi
Solist Baiba Skride (viiul)
16.08 kell 19.00 Tallinnas
Estonia kontserdisaalis ja 17.08 kell 20.00 Pärnu kontserdimajas

Paavo Järvi ja Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen Eestis

Madis Kolk
Ilmunud: reede, 12 august 2005

Meie muusikakultuuri üheks fenomeniks on teatavasti võimas rühm maailmatasemel dirigente. Enamik nende tegemisi leiab aset merede ja mägede taga, tavaliselt metropolides, mis kuhjavad kokku kaunite kunstide hiilgust. Pigem reegli kui erandina on neil raja taga “oma” orkester või isegi mitu, kus nad on peadirigendiks või muusikadirektoriks. Legendaarne on olnud Neeme Järvi töö Göteborgi orkestri rahvusvahelisse tippu viimisel, värvikaid näiteid tema ja teiste Eesti dirigentide viljakast partnerlusest välismaiste orkestritega leidub rohkesti.

Laias ilmas palju saavutanud maestrod pole unustanud kodumaiseid orkestreid, Eestis juhatavad nad – kes vähem, kes rohkem – päris tihti. Võimalus osa saada meie tippdirigentide musitseerimisest nende juhtimise all välisorkestrite ees on arusaadavatel põhjustel palju haruldasem. Need visiidid on meeldejäävad suursündmused.

Hiljutisel Tubina festivalil osalesid Eri Klas, Olari Elts, Kristjan Järvi oma orkestriga Tamperest, Riiast, Viinist. Mäletame Neeme Järvit Detroiti ja Göteborgi orkestriga, Eri Klasi Hollandi RSOga. Oleks tore, kui tulevastel hooaegadel ilmuks siia näiteks Neeme Järvi New Jersey või Haagi SO või ka Paavo Järvi Cincinnati SO eesotsas.

Selletaolist sündmust saame kogeda algaval nädalal. Paavo Järvi juhatusel esineb esmakordselt Eestis Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Tegu on kammermõõdus sümfooniaorkestriga, mida peetakse kunstiliselt kvaliteedilt ning esituste elamuslikkuselt võrdseks suurekoosseisuliste maailma tippsümfooniaorkestritega. Järvi on orkestri kunstiline juht aastast 2004. Orkester põhjendas Järvi valimist veendumusega, et selle dirigendiga kaasneb kõrgeima kunstilise kvaliteedi jätkumise ning arengu garantii.

Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on solistide orkester. Kollektiivi liikmeid ühendab solistlik mängukvaliteet ning kammermuusikaline kogemus, tulemuseks orkestri ebatavaliselt intensiivne sisemine kommunikatsioon ning jõuline üldkõla. Paljud orkestri liikmed esinevad regulaarselt solistina ja eri kammeransamblites, millest tuntuimaks Bläsersolisten der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Orkester kuulub muusikutele: kõik liikmed on ettevõtte osanikud. Kõrvuti loominguliste uuendustega arendatakse innovaatilisi juhtimis- ning finantseerimisstruktuure. Kollektiivi peetakse üheks eeskujuks Saksamaa arvukate sümfooniaorkestrite reformimisel.

Igal aastal annab orkester 25 kontserti kodulinnas ja umbes 50 kontserti rahvusvahelistel turneedel, külastades regulaarselt kõige hinnatumaid festivale ja kontserdisaale nagu Salzburgi festival, Londoni promenaadikontserdid, Carnegie Hall, Berliini Filharmoonia, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Vahetult enne Eestit saabuti USA turneelt, mis hõlmas kontserte kahel USA kuulsamal klassikafestivalil: “Mostly Mozart´il” New Yorgis ning Ravinia festivalil Chicagos.

Tähelepanuväärne on ka kontsertide solist Baiba Skride. Läti viiuldaja kuulub pärast kuninganna Elizabethi konkursi võitmist 2001. aastal vaieldamatult oma põlvkonna rahvusvahelisse tippklassi.

Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Järvi ja Baiba Skride esinevad teisipä_eval, 16. augustil Tallinnas Metodisti kirikus ja kolmapä_eval, 17. augustil Pärnu kontserdimajas: kavas Sibelius ja Beethoven.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Mullova, Jarvi bring fresh sound to Ravinia

By Michael Cameron
Chicago Tribune, August 10, 2005

How do you make a program fresh when it includes two of the great monuments of orchestral literature? If you play it safe with tried and true interpretations, you're lambasted for cookie-cutter caution. If you aim for novelty, you're taken to task for willful iconoclasm or studied mannerism.

Rarely, the finest musicians so internalize a score that questions of traditional habits become moot. In Beethoven's Violin Concerto at Ravinia on Monday, conductor Paavo Jarvi and violinist Viktoria Mullova favored brisk tempos but managed to avoid the breathlessness in long forms that can be so numbing. Communication was paramount, and among conductor, soloist, and players of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the eye contact and body language yielded a coherent and engrossing performance.

Mullova has been a presence on world stages for 20 years. Oddly, this is her first appearance at Ravinia. Management would do well to snare her again soon.

She strolled on stage with calm confidence and easy poise, and once the fiddle hit the chin, she was all business. Her avoidance of interpretive perfume or musical aerobics could be misread as emotional distance, but nothing could be further from the truth. Mullova may be the most elegant, refined and sweetly expressive violinist on the planet.

Her sound is lustrous and suave with no hint of strain in any register. One could hope for more flexibility during big transitions, but the structural point was achieved by more subtle means--tone, vibrato and endless shades of dynamics. In the second movement, the fiendish arpeggios in the stratosphere never sounded so effortless.

The finale is a dance that usually evokes a peasant stumbling out of a pub. With Jarvi and Mullova, it was graceful skipping in a meadow.

Younger conductors often borrow ideas, including a close adherence to Beethoven's written metronome marks. Jarvi was no exception in the Symphony No. 3, choosing a lively pace that highlighted long threads. As in the concerto, structural touchstones were not announced by pulling on the reins. Yet the divisions were clear, often with striking changes in character from old melody to new.

Jarvi made a splash with his appearance last year with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and he is scheduled to appear again in April. It would be tragic if he didn't make it to the short list in their music director search.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Mostly Beethoven

By Jay Nordlinger
New York Sun, August 8, 2005

Taking the stage at the Mostly Mozart Festival on Thursday night was the Deutsche Kammer philharmonie Bremen, or the German Chamber Orchestra of Bremen. The stage wasn't Avery Fisher Hall, but Alice Tully Hall. On the podium was the orchestra's artistic director, Paavo Jarvi, son of the esteemed conductor Neeme Jarvi. (They are Estonian.) The younger Mr. Jarvi's main post is in Cincinnati, where he is music director. The Bremen program was all Beethoven, or almost all Beethoven - Mr. Jarvi brought in a couple of foreigners, at the end.

The orchestra's "bio," printed in the program, had this to say: "A vital basis for the orchestra's extraordinary achievements is the soloistic quality and chamber-music approach of each individual orchestra member, which results in particularly intense musical communication within the orchestra and an extremely energetic orchestral sound." Isn't that for others to say? Yet others may well say it.

Members of the orchestra entered the stage together - in the European fashion - then turned to the audience and bowed, virtually as one. That was impressive. And it portended precision to come.

First on the program was Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, and Mr. Jarvi and the orchestra performed it like a house afire. Mr. Jarvi was wired, tense, insistent - so were his charges. This was Beethoven that was raw and punchy, but not too "period" (if you know what I mean). Mr. Jarvi's account had a nice inexorability, and reminded us that the "Coriolan" is, indeed, a drama. The horns had a bad moment, right on cue - but otherwise you could hardly fault the orchestra's playing.

Continuing the concert was Beethoven's Violin Concerto, in which Viktoria Mullova was soloist. Has it really been 20 years since this striking young woman won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition? No - it's been 23. A few months ago, she played a recital at Carnegie Hall that was less distinguished than expected. It didn't live up to her reputation, or recordings - or ability. She was stronger in the Beethoven.

Her tone was not especially beautiful, but then she wasn't trying for that. It was a manly, useful tone, and could grow sweet in the upper register. Her passagework wasn't always silky, and her intonation was sometimes amiss (flat). Moreover, you might have asked for more tenderness in Beethoven's first movement: Ms. Mullova is rather severe, a cool customer. But this is a smart musician, and she communicated the essence of Beethoven. Her cadenza was by Ottavio Dantone, a harpsichordist, fortepianist, and conductor. (His name means Big Dante, by the way!) The cadenza was long, and interesting, and sympathetic: I dare say Beethoven would have approved.

Throughout the first movement - as, indeed, throughout the concert - Mr. Jarvi was commanding. Barely a note or thought went astray. Honestly, he looked like a martinet on that podium, and I mean that as a compliment. Rodzinski and Reiner got the job done, didn't they? The orchestra demonstrated a fine sense of line and extreme clarity.

Mr. Jarvi and the orchestra began the second movement, the Larghetto, with assurance, almost matter-of-factness. They did little to the music - they let it speak for itself. The tempo was somewhat fast, but then this is the preference these days. At one point, the orchestra was softer than soft - and that didn't really work, even in Alice Tully Hall. But the Larghetto was afforded its power. It was not sublime, as it can be, but it was moving. Ms. Mullova is straightforward in her musicality.

She played the final movement, the Rondo, with great character, and so did the orchestra. Even the bassoonist (no offense to bassoonists anywhere). Ms. Mullova had a few technical problems, but these were overridden - banished - by her musical conviction, a conviction born of understanding.

After intermission we had Beethoven's Third Symphony, the Eroica. This chamber orchestra is, in fact, recording all the Beethoven symphonies. Is there room for another set? There's always room for another set, if it's good.

Mr. Jarvi lit into the symphony while the audience was still applauding his entrance: That's the kind of performance it was, largely - no-nonsense, bold, defiant. It was also alive and exciting. Have you ever heard a Beethoven symphony - I mean, a big one - in a chamber hall? It is overpowering, even from a chamber orchestra. You felt sort of in the score. While Mr. Jarvi is no-nonsense, he's not without spontaneity, even some whimsy. Something funny occurred in the first movement: As he was shaping a trill, he looked at the audience, as if to say, "Isn't this nifty?" It was a little theatrical, and a little weird - but enjoyable.

The funeral march had its pathos, even if Mr. Jarvi's tempo was brisk, and the texture of the orchestra light. As for the rest of the symphony, one can say what I've said about Ms. Mullova: There were technical bobbles, but these were insignificant, in view of the larger music-making.

Mr. Jarvi would not leave the spotlight to Beethoven alone, offering two encores: a Brahms Hungarian Dance and Sibelius's Valse triste.

And may I close with something utterly extraneous? Before the downbeat of the Coriolan Overture, the man behind me said to his wife (or someone) excitedly, "Two of the bass players are women: I love it!" Remember this: Even if a Bremen concert isn't good, you have some female bass players. What is Beethoven, where race/gender is involved?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

SACD REVIEW: Ravel

Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé (Suite No. 2), Pavane pour une infante défunte, La Valse, Ma Mère l’Oye, Bolèro
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Paavo Järvi [Telarc SACD-60601].
By Russell Lichter
Stereo Times, May 2004

I spent most of last night with this hybrid SACD in a state of deep enjoyment and excitement. Between times, I thought of how I was going to go about writing this review. Did I want to listen to other versions of La Valse, Pavane, Ma Mère l’Oye, and Bolèro (I have several), make general and specific comparisons, have my attention caught by the cadence and tempo of a particular passage and swap CDs back and forth, while a grasped for the right words? Or did I want to write about my immediate experience, without reference to what other conductors and orchestras may have done? I’ve opted for the latter approach.

Recordings of Ravel’s orchestral music are plentiful. This is easy to understand: in tems of sheer beauty and evocative magic, it doesn’t get any better. All of the selections on this disc are well known, and I have heard them countless times. There is always the danger, in a case like this, of approaching the performance with a lack of freshness and openness. I needn’t have concerned myself. The more I listened to this disc, the more impressed I was. This is a disc that leaves no room for doubt.

Like all the Telarc hybrids I’ve heard recently, the sound quality is excellent, very dynamic with an excellent sound stage. But what really sets this disc apart is the music making by Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Järvi began his studies in Estonia and came to the USA when he was 17. One critic drew attention to the fact that Järvi studied with Leonard Bernstein, and that Järvi’s conducting showed the "furious intensity and bravura panache" of his teacher. I agree. When Bernstein was on the money, he was hellfire with an orchestra. And Järvi’s handling of the CSO is quite extraordinary in its precision and excitement. It’s as if everything is working so perfectly that a kind of sublime ease emerges, the conductor’s hand directs without any need for iron control. He brings the orchestra to the point where it is the music itself that directs their playing, if that makes any sense.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in La Valse. Daphnis et Chloé, Ma Mère l’Oye, all the music on this disc is simply gorgeous and haunting, but to me La Valse is the centerpiece of the album. I’ve heard lots of performances of this music, which is nearly as ubiquitous as the Pavane, but I have never heard a performance that so well captures the ominous ambiguity, the undercurrent of upheaval, the ironic gaiety, the frenzy of Ravel’s waltz with such balance, clarity and ease. I have always favored the original piano versions over Ravel’s sumptuous orchestrations, without exception, but Paavo Järvi’s rendering has changed my mind about La Valse. This is simply the finest La Valse I have ever heard.


Ravel’s music always has a powerful evocative quality for me, but the first time I listened to La Valse I saw in my mind’s eye a furious choreography, not at all waltz-like, only to read in the notes afterward that Ravel composed La Valse at the behest of Diaghilev. Diaghilev recognized it for the masterpiece it surely is, but said "...it is not a ballet...only the portrait of a ballet." Ida Rubinstein, who had also choreographed Bolero, in 1928, first choreographed it ten years later, in 1930. Ravel said of La Valse "I feel that this work is a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz, linked in my mind with the impression of a fantastic whirl of destiny."

CD REVIEW: Peer Gynt; Debussy

Edvard Grieg -- Peer Gynt. Peter Mattei, baritone; Camilla Tilling, soprano; Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano; Estonian National Symphony and choirs; Paavo Jarvi, conductor. (Virgin Classics) FOUR STARS out of four

Claude Debussy -- Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, La Mer, Nocturnes, Berceuse heroique. Cincinnati Symphony; Paavo Jarvi, conductor. TWO STARS out of four

By Mark Stryker
Detroit Free Press, July 31, 2005

Paavo Jarvi missed last month's big Detroit send-off for his father, Neeme Jarvi, because of surgery to repair nerve damage affecting his hand. But the new-release bins are still bulging with CDs led by the fast-rising star conductor.

Jarvi's hour-long version of Grieg's beloved incidental music from Peer Gynt occupies an alluring middle ground between overstuffed complete recordings of the score and the oft-recorded short suites familiar to concertgoers. Jarvi's reading with the Estonian National Symphony (and choirs and vocal soloists) is full of freshness, exuberance and beautifully individualistic touches. Even overly familiar episodes communicate the pulse of the Norwegian soul.

The latest CD featuring Jarvi's American orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, surveys Debussy's most famous orchestral works. The conductor etches finely wrought details, but he makes curious choices in phrasing -- Afternoon of a Faun and La Mer have micromanaged passages that interrupt the music's natural circulation and atmosphere: an interesting if not ideal interpretation.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

PJ and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie at Ravinia

The Chicago Sun-Times' Wynne Delacoma writes in the August 5 edition:

"At 8 p.m. Monday Paavo Jarvi, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a rising star in his generation of young conductors, brings the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie to the pavilion for an all-Beethoven concert. The Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") is on the bill as well as the Violin Concerto with soloist Viktoria Mullova.

"Tickets are $30-$40, $10 for the lawn. Ravinia is on Green Bay between Lake-Cook and Clavey in Highland Park. Call (847) 266-5100."

CONCERT REVIEW: Beethoven opus packs a punch

By Bradley Bambarger
New Jersey Star-Ledger, August 6, 2005

NEW YORK -- When Beethoven's Coriolan Overture appeared in 1807, it must have seemed like the last word on musical violence. It's relatively rare when a contemporary performance recaptures some of the visceral impact this storm surge of a piece must have had back in the day.

Yet the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie-Bremen, conducted by its music director, Paavo Järvi, delivered a Coriolan Thursday like a blow to the sternum. The chamber orchestra's dark, sinewy sonority was ideal for this tense work in C minor, the key of Beethoven's most dramatic music.

The combination of a lean, mean ensemble and an intimate space yielded the boldest of sounds
, as the German orchestra filled Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for an all-Beethoven program as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival. And Järvi -- eldest son of New Jersey Symphony Orchestra music director Neeme Järvi -- revealed a modernist edge as a Beethoven conductor, reminiscent of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

The pile-driving chords and weight-of-the-world pauses that opened the Coriolan Overture proved immediately that Järvi was out to extract maximum force from the score, accenting Beethoven's dissonances and offbeat rhythms rather than smoothing them over. But even at Järvi's hurtling pace -- with a few musicians lifted up in their seats at critical points -- everything was beautifully played.

Throughout the night, Järvi's approach felt naturally musical, imbued with heat but also a taut brand of gravitas.
This was a pleasant surprise; in January at Carnegie Hall, he had made an annoyingly mannered showing in a family specialty, Nordic music, with his other band, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

It is Beethoven's lyrical side that comes out in his Violin Concerto. Soloist Viktoria Mullova, molded in the Russian virtuoso tradition, has turned away from her grand birthright in recent years to delve into the subtler, smaller-scaled world of period-performance practice. Her lighter tone and no-nonsense phrasing not only reflected this experience, but served as an ideal match for the fine Bremen group.

The media, especially in the U.K., have tended to dub the tall, sleek Mullova as an "ice princess." That seems unfair now. The violinist downplays her glamour (as much as she can) and doesn't allow herself the expressive leeway of a peer such as Anne-Sophie Mutter. But the fresh tone and metrical discipline of her Beethoven offered its own rewards, with even the cruelest passages concentrated and pure, like clear spring water. She played Ottavio Dantone's cadenzas -- which neatly fragmented key themes across double-stops and other challenges -- with gazelle-like vitality. And the warm audience response brought the warmest of smiles in return.

As with the Coriolan, Järvi and company's account of the Eroica Symphony placed a premium on intensity (boding well for their project to record all of Beethoven's symphonies). Tempos were feisty and the phrasing detailed -- the orchestra played music, not just notes. The opening Allegro had brio to spare, with nervous propulsion tempered by lovely wind solos. The Funeral March burned slowly until it convulsed with tragic weight. The Scherzo and finale were exhilarating, the rhythms spinning like a top.

If he were his own man during the main event, Järvi showed his genetic inheritance by indulging the packed house with two encores. There was a skipping take on a Brahms Hungarian Dance, as well as a version of Sibelius' Valse Triste that -- shorn of the foibles in his rendition with the Cincinnati Symphony -- was richly bittersweet.

CONCERT REVIEW: Beethoven Strikes Back for Classics

By Anne Midgette
New York Times, August 6, 2005

The future of classical music is a hot topic these days. Plenty of us hold forth about the need for more new works, more variety, a more contemporary flavor. But the Mostly Mozart festival on Thursday night was an all-Beethoven concert with some of the most traditional, oft-played repertory in the book: the violin concerto and the third symphony. And what do you know? The crowds reached from Alice Tully Hall to the corner, and many were turned away disappointed. It looked like the event of the summer. Which should remind some of us that one thing the classical music audience does want is classical music.

And in this case the audience was completely right. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, conducted by Paavo Järvi, gave one hot performance.

Part of the reason it was so good was that it was young, energetic and contemporary, tradition notwithstanding. This orchestra grew out of a youth orchestra whose members wanted to find a way to keep playing together; it's organized democratically, and the players' autonomy is audible in the crispness and vitality of the playing. The winds are a full warm cohesive presence, balancing the taut strings. The players listen keenly to one another. Mr. Järvi, their artistic director, conducted with electricity, and the players followed him so closely that even the silences bristled.

There were moments when the act of interpretation was too deliberate. A surprisingly restrained passage at the opening of the violin concerto was followed by an exaggerated forte that didn't quite convince. And in the first movement of the symphony, at the moment when the recapitulation carries the end of the first theme into an upward curve like a burst of light, the conductor turned and gave a kind of wry smile over his shoulder to the audience. It was hard to tell if he was underlining the moment's beauty or slightly mocking its sweetness, but it was certainly a reminder that this was his distinctive reading of it.

But his readings did allow each piece its own character. The Coriolanus Overture was startling and vivid. The violin concerto showed Beethoven at his most classical; the orchestra took its tone from the soloist, Viktoria Mullova, whose sound was light and dry, athletic but occasionally ungainly. (To her credit, she used new cadenzas by Ottavio Dantone; they tended to stutter and trip themselves up, but it was nice to hear a soloist put her own new stamp on the piece.) Mr. Järvi stripped the second movement of pathos and instead effectively used dynamic extremes, scaling down to a pianissimo so quiet as to verge on the border of the imaginable. But there was both warmth and pathos in the funeral march of the graceful Eroica.

Clear and compelling throughout, the performance was a reminder that new doesn't have to mean contemporary. For anyone wanting to get into classical music, this would have been a good first concert.

Friday, August 05, 2005

CONCERT REVIEW: Festival de Lanaudière

Music of the Enlightenment

FESTIVAL de LANAUDIÈRE
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Symphony No. 3 "Eroica." Viktoria Mullova (Violin), Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Conductor: Paavo Järvi. Lanaudière Amphitheater, Friday, 5 August 2005. Broadcast by the radio station Espace Musique on 30 August 2005.

BY CHRISTOPHE HUSS

"Paavo Järvi arranges his orchestra very intelligently by placing the violins opposite each other, the timpani positioned on the right, the double basses at the rear on the left, next to the horns. That is what Klemperer sometimes did. The results can be noticed immediately, thanks as well to an orchestra roster of approximately forty musicians – passing the phrases among the strings (when have you ever heard a dialogue between the second violins and violas in the Finale of the "Eroica"?); the clarity and charisma of the woodwinds; the effect of the timpani struck with a very dry stick.

Paavo Järvi demonstrated on Friday that he, along with Osmo Vänskä, is one of the truly great conductors of his generation. His art continues a tradition that was believed to be lost – that of Antal Dorati, Hermann Scherchen, Charles Münch, and Paul Paray. It was probably inevitable that some day a "true master" would transform the eloquence of the Baroque specialists into music. Paavo Järvi is the master in that respect. His Beethoven is uncompromising, terse, trenchant, and, above all, clear. He does not let himself be made a fool of by some tradition or other and does not become slower when the music is soft – for example, in the pizzicatos in the Finale of the "Eroica," which are absolutely a tempo.

Järvi proves himself to be a "true master" in that his Beethoven is not rhythmic in a simplistic way (in the style of Gardiner) or aggressive (in the style of Norrington). He enjoys shaping the music, especially with precise crescendos, distinct accents, and tiny but still consistent pianissimos. There is an excitement with him, even in the least tangible nuance. This formula, which was applied in the Violin Concerto, gives us a transformed Larghetto (second movement) that regains its true pulse, which in this work is the equivalent of what Casadesus and Rosbaud recreated in the "Emperor" Concerto. With this first-rate accompaniment, Viktoria Mullova merely had to indicate her own sonority throughout the work, without ever overtaxing it.

One could cite many other examples of important ideas, but I would never forgive myself if I did not develop one of them in more detail. The "Eroica" Symphony is definitely a revolutionary work, but it does not appear out of nowhere. Under Paavo Järvi's direction, one hears a real march in the second movement, emphasized by the timpani. From the standpoint of sonorities, one is right in the midst of the French music of the revolution. It is Gossec, it is Méhul in a sublimated form – a Beethoven who is the heir to the Enlightenment. It is astounding, clear, and obvious – I have never heard it like this.

"After the final chord, my neighbor, an 80-year-old, whispered to his wife, 'That was one of the greatest things I ever heard in my life.' I did not only attend the concert of the year, on top of that I sat next to a wise man!"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

SACD REVIEW: Debussy

Excerpted from High FidelityReview.com, U.K.

SACD REVIEW
© Mark Jordan ~ July 10, 2005

Paavo Järvi doesn’t stand too far off the traditional path, but, like Michel Plasson, he has a concept which recognizes the importance of the traditional French approach to orchestral sound. Thus, the rhythms are lightly sprung, the textures are kept airy and open, woodwinds are never swamped by the strings, and there is a consistent effort to find the center of gravity in each musical phrase, instead of emphasizing all notes more-or-less equally, which to a certain degree is a hallmark of the Germanic approach (and which is why, despite his taste for clarity, Boulez is as much Germanic as French). What is most remarkable about Järvi’s approach is that this deftly Francophilic approach is coming from a non-French conductor. Whereas Mitropoulos and Cantelli evoke their native lands’ Mediterranean Sea, and Boulez or Colin Davis capture more muted tones of the North Atlantic, Paavo Järvi does not merely transport Debussy’s piece to his native Estonia, nor to America where he now lives. Rather, he captures a suitably bright sound, firmly echoing the old French style. This interestingly stands in contrast with his father Neeme Järvi’s Chandos recording, which seems drenched with the chilly spray of the Baltic Sea (or perhaps that’s just waves of the sort of extra reverb Chandos used to favor). In the end, for this approach, I would still give top nod to Plasson, with special status reserved for the old Inghelbrecht recording. For the finest modern mainstream approach, Boulez continues to hold sway in La Mer, though his accompanying Nocturnes are not in the same league. Paavo Järvi’s rendition will please fans of the French style, though devotees of the Karajan approach may find this La Mer a little dry.

The piece which opens this new Telarc disc is the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun). This piece is probably Debussy’s most famous work, a dreamy orchestral evocation of the sensuous atmosphere of the poem by Stéphane Mallarmé. But now it’s confession time: After decades of listening to dozens of recordings of this piece over and over again, I still can’t say that I’ve grown to care for it very much. I don’t have anything against it, but I don’t have a lot for it, either. I can recognize in an abstract way why it was so shocking and revolutionary in its day, but I have never been able to rouse any great enthusiasm for it, except for the mysteriously inconclusive final few bars. Other than that, I’ve always viewed the piece as nine minutes of meandering sound with nary a solid downbeat in sight. The Cincinnati winds are well caught in this recording, playing with color and shapely turns of phrase, and the fact that it does nothing for me is of course my problem, not the performance’s, as it joins a crowd of other famous recordings which left me respectful but unmoved. We all have our blind spots!

What a different story with the Nocturnes. They have always appealed to me, and their allure grows with every passing year. And I was pleased to find that here Paavo Järvi scores his biggest triumph. He nails a perfect pace for the elusive first nocturne, Nuages (Clouds) neither distending it like Tilson Thomas, nor over-efficiently dispatching it à la Boulez. Järvi finds a tempo that holds the fragmentary movement together yet allows for a brooding buildup of tension. Is there any other piece in the repertory which is equally devastating in such a quiet, half-spoken manner? How innovatively Debussy suggests a foggy night; instead of covering more-or-less conventional melodies with a cloud of random soft notes as Richard Strauss did in his Alpine Symphony, Debussy uses a backdrop of silence to suggest the fog. All the instrumental sounds are clear, but one gets the sense that they are merely fragments of more complete sounds which have drifted in past a curtain of silence. Here, a distant boat horn, there, a snatch of voices down the street. Järvi captures the still, gray agony exquisitely, and Telarc’s recording captures the oppressive room ambiance of the vast spaces of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, hanging impassively behind the sounds, swallowing them as quickly as they appear. In the second nocturne, Fêtes, Järvi keeps an admirable focus on the woodwinds, so that their contributions are like flashes of color in a night-time street party. For the procession in the middle of the movement, Järvi opts for on-stage trumpets played with mutes, though offstage unmuted trumpets would have provided a nice chance to move some sounds to the rear surround channels. Telarc’s recording keeps the percussion distanced enough to not overwhelm the rest of the orchestra (although more punch would have been preferable at the climax), and Järvi purposefully keeps the strings from swamping the woodwinds throughout. Telarc’s recording rightly lets the silences play an important part in this music, instead of covering all pauses with artificial reverberation. It’s hard to imagine the dry, pointillistic style of French orchestration making sense without such silence as a backdrop. Again, those who prefer to wallow in their Debussy won’t care for the recorded sound here, but I think it helps Järvi create an effective approach. Most felicitous of all is Järvi’s shaping of phrases, injecting energy into every paragraph, while always keeping plenty in reserve. Järvi is fairly spacious in the final nocturne, Sirènes, but he never sags into the slowness of the Davis or Tilson Thomas recordings. Although I might momentarily miss the reckless energy of a Monteux or Doráti careening into the central climax of Fêtes, Paavo Järvi’s performance of the Nocturnes is the best to come along in several years, outdoing Boulez/Cleveland and Abbado/Berlin quite handily, and standing proudly alongside earlier recordings by Michel Plasson and Bernard Haitink.

The Berceuse elegiaque closes the disc with the elusive half-lights of Debussy’s later works. Its less-familiar byways prove an attractive filler for this effective compilation, adding further proof to the increasingly widespread view that Paavo Järvi is the most enterprising conductor since Thomas Schippers to have held the top post in Cincinnati.

Telarc has made many recordings over the years in Cincinnati’s Music Hall, so they have certainly become familiar with its strengths and weaknesses. One challenge is that the hall is so large, orchestral sound can be swallowed up in the silences. But that very feature is used to advantage here, utilizing silence as an integral part of the music. Delicately scored music which didn’t specifically take into account the impact of silence might become dwarfed by the space, but Debussy’s approach works quite naturally in this venue. The wooden stage of the building helps create a rich and mellow orchestral sound, but the high resolution of Telarc’s DSD recording picks up the bright instrumental colors that are so central to Debussy’s sound-world. As is the usual approach for Telarc, there is a fair amount of bounceback in the surround channels to give the listener a strong sense of being within the space where the music is being played. Some may find that a tad artificial sounding, but recording is an art like everything else, and Telarc does it exceptionally well. Their goal is to create an ideal soundscape, one that is a little better in focus and presence than any true seat in Music Hall could ever be, and in that, they succeed. There is effective three-dimensional sense of depth to the orchestral sound-picture on stage, capturing the depth of the stage in real life. The combination of Järvi’s balancing, the orchestral playing, the sure deployment of the microphones, and the resolution of the DSD recording (both in stereo and multichannel) make the woodwinds a joy to the ears throughout this recording. I do feel that the percussion is arguably a little too tastefully controlled and kept at arm’s length, but the timbre of their sounds are caught clearly. The regular CD layer of this hybrid is up to Telarc’s usual fine standards, though it doesn’t come to life as vividly as the SACD layers.

In sum, Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony have given us a fine, perceptive Debussy disc. Telarc’s recorded sound works hand-in-hand with the conductor’s stylistic approach as well as with the natural sound of the hall to make Debussy’s music come to life with its French flavors intact. Järvi’s Nocturnes is the best to come along in many years, and claims a distinguished place among the many competing recordings. The rest of the program is not quite as sharply characterized, but still fares well in Järvi’s deft hands. The Telarc recording is fine as well, lacking only a little boisterousness from the percussion in the climaxes.

CD REVIEW: Peer Gynt

Järvi junior follows in father’s footsteps with a worthwhile disc of Peer Gynt
By Edward Greenfield
Gramophone

Grieg, Peer Gynt,Op 23.
Camilla Tilling, soprano; Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo; Peter Mattei, baritone;
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Estonian National Male Choir; Ellerhein Girls' Choir/Paavo Järvi; Virgin Classics New CD 545722-2 (60 minutes : DDD)

Selected Comparisons:
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi (2/88) (DG) 423 079-2GH2

Paavo Järvi here follows his father, Neeme, in recording Grieg’s Peer Gynt music substantially complete but, where Järvi senior on DG included even the items involving substantial sections of dialogue, with actors, Järvi junior has opted for what will be, for many, the ideal compromise. There are many discs which offer more than the two popular orchestral suites, but Paavo Järvi’s selection of 20 numbers is more generous than direct rivals. If overall Neeme Järvi is a degree cooler and more restrained, and captures the folk element more vividly, with the rustic violin parts moe rasping, his son compensates in the extra warmth of his performances, helped by full, forward sound, recorded in a rather reverberant acoustic.

His account of the celebrated In the Hall of the Mountain King is even more exciting than his father’s with a wild accelerando and vigorous vocal contributions reminding me of a vintage Sir Thomas Beecham disc, one of the first to include vocal items. Here, and throughout the selection, the Estonian choruses sing with splendid attack, and though their roles are limited, the three soloists are first-rate, too. The baritone, Peter Mattei, gives a virile portrait of Peer Gynt in his Serenade, while the singer on the DG set has a far thinner voice. If Camilla Tilling as Solveig is less pure and sweet than Barbara Bonney on DG, with a tendency to slide up to exposed notes, the warmth of her singing is never in doubt. The rich mezzo of Charlotte Hellekant as Anitra is even finer, making one regret that the part is relatively brief.

As to the numbers made popular in the orchestral suites, Paavo Järvi in The Death of Åse underlines the phrasing more heavily than his father, who is lighter, too, in the evocative picture of Morning. Similarly, Paavo is beefier and livelier in Anitra’s Dance. The new Virgin disc from Estonia can be warmly recommended to those who want a single disc of virtually all the significant music that Grieg composed for Ibsen’s play.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

PJ and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in NY!


According to music critic Fred Kirshnits of The New York Sun in his July 26 article, Too Much of a Good Thing about the Mostly Mozart Festival: "For sheer talent of conductor and soloist, it would be hard to beat Paavo Jarvi and Viktoria Mullova in an all-Beethoven concert with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (August 4)." Included on the program: Beethoven's Coriolan Overture and Symphony No.3 ('Eroica').

For more information on tickets, call Lincoln Center at 212-875-5456.

Other North American tour dates for PJ and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen include:

Wednesday, August 3 Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Tickets are FREE and are available (four per person) starting at 6:30 p.m. on the day of the performance in the theatre lobby. CONTACT: Jennifer Cook 255-8226;
jc27@cornell.edu


Friday, August 5 Festival de Lanaudière, Amphitheatre of Lanaudière, Lanaudiere, CANADA

Monday, August 8 Ravinia Festival, Ravinia, IL

Purchase Viktoria Mullova's recording of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos, conducted by John Eliot Gardner, from Amazon.com.

Monday, August 01, 2005

CD REVIEW: Peer Gynt

CD REVIEWS
by Sarah Bryan Miller
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 26, 2005

Edvard Grieg's incidental music to Ibsen's play Peer Gynt is familiar from the two orchestral suites he arranged from it. But there's much more to this score -- from folk fiddling to choral singing -- than you get from the suites, which sound almost anemic once you've heard the original versions.

I first got to know the more complete version from a now-out-of- print recording by Edo de Waart and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, from the early 1980s; it was a revelation. This one has better sound and a more idiomatic treatment; it also has three additional selections, for a full hour of music.

The real differences come in the sections that were written for singers. Solveigs sang (Solveig's Song) is occasionally heard with a soprano soloist, but I Dovregubbens hall (In the Hall of the Mountain King) is far more exciting when it builds up to the chorus entrance, exploding with Slagt ham! (Kill him!). Purely instrumental versions just don't cut it after you've heard that, and it's a mystery why anyone with access to the original would waste time on the "Music Minus One (Group)" arrangement.

Paavo Jarvi has a wonderful feel for the score, and he has superb collaborators for this recording. Mezzo-soprano Charlotte Hellekant sings lusciously as Anitra, and soprano Camilla Tilling is a sweet- but-resolute Solveig. There's also some robust vocalism from baritone Peter Mattei. The fine Ellerhein Girls' Choir and the Estonian National Male Choir are well-supported by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

The difference between the suites and this recording is like the difference between white bread and whole grain; there's just so much more substance here. Highly recommended.