Monday, December 29, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Erkki-Sven Tüür: Aditus. Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 61. Igor Stravinsky: Pètrouchka; Scherzo à la russe. (Christian Tetzlaff, v.; Paavo Järvi, cond.).
"Folksy peasants, pure of mind, body and spirit romp about like so many Kansas corn huskers in Eastern European drag." Such was Lillian Hellman's scathing description of the 1943 filmThe North Star. And Hellmann ought to have known. She had written the script. But Hollywood had gotten hold of what was originally envisioned as a stark and serious production. Spectacle took the place of seriousness. In the midst of war, this story of a Ukrainian village resisting Nazi invasion garnered half a dozen Oscar nominations. But much had been lost along the way.
One of the things abandoned was a score by Igor Stravinsky, who had been replaced by Aaron Copland because of contractual and script-related differences. But Stravinsky, seeing no reason for good music to go to waste, recycled part of his North Star score as the Scherzo à la Russe,which guest conductor Paavo Järvi includes on this weekend's Cleveland Orchestra concerts.
Järvi uses the Scherzo as a sort of programmed encore following his not-quite-complete rendition of the 1947 Pétrouchka. Järvi's Stravinsky is both robust and deliberate. He gets better results in the ballet than in the somewhat heavy-handed Scherzo. Not surprisingly, Pétrouchkasounds less modern under his baton than it does on the highly regarded Pierre Boulez-Cleveland Orchestra recording. But what Järvi sacrifices in analytical precision he makes up for in narrative vividness. After hearing this richly colored Pétrouchka, you'll think you've been to see the ballet.
This weekend's concerts also feature Christian Tetzlaff's performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. And if you heard Gil Shaham perform this music last year at Severance Hall, you might find Tetzlaff equally satisfying, completely different, and, yes, a bit offbeat. Tetzlaff's Beethoven seems far more introverted than Shaham's. There's no flashy virtuosity here: just a provocative reading that brings out the gentle and cerebral sides of the concerto. On repeated hearings, Tetzlaff's discursive Larghetto could prove wearing. So could the rather odd first-movement cadenza for violin and timpani that he's arranged from Beethoven's piano-concerto version of the work. But Tetzlaff's is an interesting alternative approach, easily meriting the encore elicited on Friday by the audience's enthusiasm: the Andante from Bach's Unaccompanied Violin Sonata BWV 1003.
Perhaps the most memorable component of the program was the curtain-raiser: Aditus, by Järvi's Estonian compatriot Erkki-Sven Tüür. In Järvi's recording of the work with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Aditus comes off as ten minutes of unbridled energy. Friday evening's Aditus seemed altogether subtler: a product of careful and ingenious craftsmanship.
When Lillian Hellman lashed out at Samuel Goldwyn over the final version of The North Star, the eminent producer retorted: "My name is Samuel Goldwyn and I do not turn out junk!" Judging from Aditus—as well as the handful of other works by the composer that I've heard—neither does Erkki-Sven Tüür.
I'm Jerome Crossley for WCLV 104/9.
|Review||by Uncle Dave Lewis|
It is a little surprising that Telarc decided to go with the Vadim Repin portrait of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky for its recording of Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphonyin his best-known orchestral works. Painted as Mussorgsky lay dying in a St. Petersburg hospital, it captured the composer at his most dissolute and chaotic, but as it remains the most famous image of Mussorgsky among the limited amount of iconography left for him, perhaps its use was a foregone conclusion. It certainly does not reflect the vision of the music that's inside. This is Mussorgsky at its most pristine, cohesive, and well-tailored; a little like the photographic portrait, with his beard trimmed and waxed moustache turned up at its sides, that Mussorgsky might have preferred as the image we keep of him in our minds. Järvi opts for the standard Rimsky-Korsakov scores of Night on Bald Mountain and the prelude "Dawn on the Moscow River" from Khovantschina, but introduces a little twist inRavel's orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition in that the original French published edition of 1929 is consulted for correction of errors and specifics on phrasing and dynamics. A whole industry of activity has grown up around Mussorgsky's scores, not to mentionRimsky-Korsakov's and others' alleged meddling with them, resulting in a donnybrook that has raged pro and con among musicologists and performers alike for decades. Nevertheless, amid all of that confusion, no one else thought to go back and review the familiar Ravelscore, and there is every reason to. It has been a public domain score, at least in the United States, for decades. Practically every orchestra has a copy filled with markings and changes of various kinds even beyond errors stemming from the original prints themselves.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Paavo Järvi juhatab Saksamaal Beethoveni IX sümfooniat
Paavo Järvi dirigeerib Beethoveni Üheksanda sümfoonia ettekandeid jõulueelsel Saksamaal, orkestriks ta oma Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremenist.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Also, Telarc producer Robert Woods was nominated for classical producer of the year, citing the CSO's Mussorgsky and Prokofiev albums, as well as Ravel's "Bolero" by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
New Favorite Conductor
Paavo Jarvi is from Estonia. Studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and is now the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He's a FABULOUS conductor - I'm looking forward to the rest of his career! I just saw him conduct the Cleveland Orchestra. They played the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Stravinsky's Petrouchka, a piece by an Estonian composer, and Stravinsky Scherzo a la russe. All great.