Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paavo Järvi esitab Pariisis kõik Beethoveni sümfooniad


Dirigent Paavo Järvi kannab Pariisis Champs-Élysées’ teatris ette kõik Beethoveni sümfooniad, orkestriks Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremenist.Paavo Järvi esitab Ludwig van Beethoveni kõik üheksa sümfooniat Bremeni Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie’ga, mille kunstiline juht ta on alates 2004. aastast.Täna tehakse Bremeni esindussaalis ’die Glocke’ veel n-ö lahkumiskontsert kavaga "Der heroische Poet", esitamisel on Beethoveni sümfooniad nr 2 ja 3 ning Viiulikontsert, kus solistiks suurepärane noor hollandlanna Janine Jansen.Ettekanded Pariisis on planeeritud kolmele päevale: 28. märtsil kõlavad Sümfoonia nr 1, nr 2 ja nr 3, 29. märtsil pärastlõunal on kavas Sümfoonia nr 4 ja nr 5, õhtul Sümfoonia nr 6 ja nr 7. 30. märtsil tulevad esitamisele Sümfoonia nr 8 ja koos Deutsche Kammerchoriga Sümfoonia nr 9, kus tuntud solistideks on bariton Matthias Goerne, sopran Christiane Oelze, tenor Michael König ning eesti metsosopran Annely Peebo.Beethoveni sümfooniate koguesitused on muusikamaailmas üsna haruldased. Paavo Järvi on sümfooniate seniste ettekannete ja plaadistuste eest saanud mitmeid tunnustusi ja hea kriitika.Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on Pariisi üks mainekamaid klassikalise muusika esitamispaiku.Selle kuu algul käis Paavo Järvi Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie’ga New Yorgis, kuhu oli kutsutud oma orkestriga kuulsa Alice Tully Halli piduliku taasavamise kontserte andma. Ka seal esitati neli Beethoveni sümfooniat.Harukordsena esitavad Paavo Järvi ja Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Beethoveni sümfooniate kogu tsükli veel ka tänavusuvisel Salzburgi rahvusvahelisel festivalil.
Priit Kuusk

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beethoven selon Paavo Järvi


By Thierry Hilleriteau on 3/25/09

CLASSIQUE. Tout Beethoven, comme vous ne l'avez jamais entendu ! Inutile de faire l'article pour cette intégrale des neuf symphonies du compositeur romantique : les opus discographiques déjà parus (RCA), sous la baguette empreinte de clarté et de vivacité du chef estonien, nous promettent quatre concerts rien moins qu'époustouflants. Les couleurs sans cesse réinventées de la Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie de Brême y sont pour quelque chose.

Faut-il y aller ? L'idéal, si on le peut, est de s'abonner pour les quatre concerts. À défaut, il faudra privilégier le rendez-vous du 28, au cours duquel le chef dirigera « le choc » de l'« Eroica » , sa favorite. « La Neuvième » (le 30), avec Matthias Goerne en soliste, ne manque pas d'attrait non plus.

Beethoven selon Paavo Järvi au Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, 15, avenue Montaigne (VIIIe). Date : le 30 mars. Places : 5 à 85 € (188 à 304 € les 4 concerts). Loc. : 01 49 52 50 50.

Un Beethoven allégé mais vivant


By Christian Merlin on 3/26/09

Le chef Paavo Järvi est l'une des baguettes les plus impressionnantes du moment. (Martine Archambault/Le Figaro) Crédits photo : Le Figaro

En trois jours et quatre concerts, le public du Théâtre des Champs-Élysées pourra entendre l'intégrale des Symphonies de Beethoven, pierre angulaire de tout le répertoire orchestral, dans l'ordre chronologique. Occasion rare d'entendre ainsi ces œuvres à la fois comme un tout et comme une évolution. Le chef, Paavo Järvi, futur directeur musical de l'Orchestre de Paris, est l'une des baguettes les plus impressionnantes du moment : un homme déterminé, dont les visions musicales sont marquées à la fois par une volonté impérieuse et par une grande ouverture d'esprit. Ainsi, ce chef de culture symphonique jouera Beethoven avec la Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie de Brême, formation d'une quarantaine de musiciens habituée au jeu baroque.

Järvi et la Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie dans Beethoven, voilà l'une des propositions les plus stimulantes que l'on puisse faire aujourd'hui. Ce cycle Beethoven leur est familier : ils l'ont enregistré pour RCA, et déjà joué en concert à Tokyo. Après Paris, ce sera New York et le Festival de Salzbourg, l'été prochain. Paavo Järvi aime travailler avec cet orchestre, car si le chef apporte sa propre conception, c'est aussi un échange permanent avec ces musiciens habitués à s'autogérer. Grâce à son père, le chef d'orchestre Neeme Järvi, l'un des rares à posséder des disques occidentaux dans l'Estonie soviétique, Paavo a appris son Beethoven chez les grands chefs romantiques d'autrefois, à commencer par Furtwängler : il reste convaincu que ce dernier a mieux compris que n'importe quel autre l'esprit de cette musique. Mais il a eu dans les années 1980 le choc Harnoncourt et a depuis confronté sa culture symphonique au jeu sur instruments anciens. Et de cette confrontation est née la passionnante synthèse qu'il propose actuellement. Ainsi, ses cordes n'utilisent le vibrato qu'avec parcimonie : « Si l'on vibre tout

le temps, la main qui tient l'archet démissionne face à la main gauche, et les musiciens en oublient de phraser : le jeu est beaucoup plus libre et mobile sans vibrato. » Il utilise des cors modernes à pistons, et non les cors naturels d'époque, mais ses instrumentistes les jouent avec une technique de cor naturel : « Il est évident que Beethoven avait dans l'oreille la coloration différente que donnent les sons bouchés, que l'on perd sur le cor moderne, qui sonne parfois comme une turbine. » Si leur Beethoven est allégé, il n'est pas rétréci pour autant : toujours vivant, expérimentant sans cesse, jamais figé, il devrait représenter une expérience nouvelle pour ceux qui croient n'avoir plus rien à apprendre de ces symphonies.

Pahud's Flute, French Music Grace Music Hall


From "Music in Cincinnati," the blog of Mary Ellyn Hutton, on 3/23/09

Vive la musique francaise. Vive la flute. Such was the response to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s all-French program March 22 at Music Hall. Led by music director Paavo Järvi, the concert featured Swiss-French flutist Emmanuel Pahud in Poulenc’s Sonata for Flute, and Marc-Andre Dalbavie’s Flute Concerto. The Dalbavie was a U.S. premiere. Also on the program (which opened March 21 at Music Hall) were Gabriel Faure’s “Dolly” Suite and Debussy’s “La Mer.” One felt drenched in Gallic colors, from the golds and ivories of the salon to the greens and blues of the vineyards and the Mediterranean Sea. Pahud, 39, is principal flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic and an international soloist of the first rank (flutist James Galway was also principal flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic). Dalbavie, who wrote his 2006 Flute Concerto for Pahud, is one of France’s most important contemporary composers. Pahud and CSO principal flutist Randolph Bowman explained the close connection between the flute and French music in a highly informative and engaging Classical Conversation with CSO assistant conductor Vince Lee before the concert. The flute, a concerto instrument during the baroque and classical periods, was eclipsed during the romantic era, when orchestras grew larger, putting it at a disadvantage in the solo spot. Improvements to the flute by Theobald Boehm during the 19th century enhanced its solo capacity and fostered a revival of the concerto literature beginning at the turn of the 20th century in France. Flute virtuosi at the Paris Conservatory taught many of the great flutists of the 20th century, including Galway, William Kincaid, Julius Baker and going into the 21st century, Pahud. Bowman, whose distinctively sweet tone graced much of the music on the CSO program, was a student of Baker at the New England Conservatoy. Pahud led off with Poulenc’s Flute Sonata, a staple of the flute repertoire transcribed for orchestra in 1977 by English composer Lennox Berkeley. It was an ear-ravishing performance, featuring close interaction with the CSO principal winds throughout. Natty in a red bow tie with a red handkerchief peeking from his vest pocket, Pahud swayed and danced with the music. Dalbavie’s Concerto followed after intermission. Seventeen minutes long in a single, three-part movement, it is at once a showpiece for the flute, an immersion in timbres and colors and an illustration of the attempts by many of today’s younger composers to synthesize modernism and so-called more “accessible” musical languages. It began like something out of a Bernard Hermann film score with a thud of gong, chime and timpani followed by rapid flute arpeggios. “The Flight of the Bumblebee” also came to mind as Pahud sped along, joined by the trumpets in rat-a-tat-tat-like figures on single notes and ringing harmonies that recalled Estonian composer Lepo Sumera’s symphonies. The flute and instruments in the orchestra tossed rapid figures to one another with seeming abandon. The slow mid-section brought hazy textures, string glissandi and a recollection of the flute solo at the beginning of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.” Rapid rhythmic activity returned in the final section, where Dalbavie asks the solo flutist to imitate the trumpet and also to play “pizzicato,” a term which on the flute, means blowing into the instrument’s mouthpiece while simultaneously forming a “t” or “p” sound. Headlong downward scales by the flute and orchestra, some nimble playing by Richard Jensen on xylophone and a final, exuberant flourish drew a whoop or two from the audience. “La Mer,” the concert’s timeless international classic, bathed Music Hall in Debussy’s vivid harmonic and timbral palette. “From Dawn to Noon on the Sea” pictured a calm but sparkling day over the waters, Järvi’s characteristic attention to detail bringing out even the smallest squiggle of bassoon. The great cello surge was shaped beautifully, with the horn cresting on top, and principal cellist Eric Kim and English hornist Christopher Philpotts added a lovely wistful moment to the overall sunny day. “Games of the Waves” featured outstanding playing by the characterful CSO winds, with the harps adding picturesque sprays now and then. “Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea” brought the storm clouds, beginning with an ominous growl in the lower strings. Joan Voorhees’ menacing piccolo cut through clearly, and the great, eerie moment -- brought to near silence by Järvi -- before Bowman and principal oboist Dwight Parry’s keening, two-note incantation -- was breathtaking. Everything came together in a magnificent conclusion that earned repeated curtain calls and acknowledgements of and by the CSO players, who accorded Järvi a solo bow by finally refusing to stand. Opening work on the program was 19th-century composer Gabriel Faure’s charming “Dolly” Suite, a set of six character pieces for piano duet originally written for a friend’s young daughter (Dolly) and later transcribed for orchestra. String textures were extraordinary here, soft as kitten’s fur in the opening “Berceuse,” like silk in “Mi-a-ou” (“Messieur Aoul”) as they reflected off the CSO winds. Parry and principal French hornist Elizabeth Freimuth had a lush romantic moment in “Tendresse,” while the final tambourine-laced “Les pas Espagnol” was festive and brassy.

http://www.musicincincinnati.com/site/reviews/Pahud_s_Flute_French_Music_Grace_Music_Hall.html

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flutist dazzles CSO audience

This article by Janelle Gelfand appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 20, 2009.

The flute hasn’t appeared much on center stage since the heydays of James Galway and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Today, the flute repertoire has a new star, Emmanuel Pahud, whose sound is so rich and larger-than-life, you can do nothing but revel in its glory.

Pahud was soloist Friday morning with Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in an all-French program, which twice had the audience on its feet. It included a ravishing performance of Debussy’s “La Mer,” as well as charming pieces by Gabriel Fauré and Francis Poulenc.

But the biggest surprise was a Flute Concerto composed by Frenchman Marc-André Dalbavie in 2006 for Pahud, who was performing its United States premiere in Music Hall. Here was a piece that was beautifully crafted, with a radiant tonal palette for the orchestra and vibrant melodies and effects for the flutist.

The Swiss-French flutist, who is principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic, tackled the work’s virtuosities with panache, almost as if he were improvising on the spot. It opened with soaring arpeggios that grew into a frenzied perpetual motion, and called upon all types of special effects, including flutter-tonguing.

More languid sections were reminiscent of Debussy. Pahud had the ability to vary the colors of a phrase seamlessly, whether performing rhapsodic melody or staccato motives. One of the most unusual sounds was a “pizzicato” that involved puffing into the flute, a sound like hollow Asian chimes in a breeze.The orchestra provided a refined canvas.Pahud also performed Poulenc’s Flute Sonata, arranged by Lennox Berkeley. This was an irresistible performance, negotiated with flawless technique and a pure, golden tone.The morning opened with Fauré’s “Dolly” Suite, which began life as a piano duet. Järvi captured its French style, one of lightness and transparency, and orchestral soloists made fine contributions.The orchestra has performed Debussy’s “La Mer” many times, and Järvi has recorded it with them for Telarc. But this was as fresh and spontaneous a reading as one could wish for, and the orchestral sound was glowing and refined.The opening “From Dawn to Noon on the Sea” was buoyant and well-paced, with wonderful plays of light and dark. Leading in big, dramatic sweeps, Järvi allowed his players to shine, while allowing the music to breathe.Järvi led the finale with momentum, power and a touch of fierceness. I prefer a more spacious quality leading up to the brilliant finish, but the result was pure electricity.

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20090320/ENT/90320017/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Password is...Passion!


From the online journal of Albert Imperto (photo on the left), writer for the Gramophone web site, posted 3/15/09:

After a pizza (with eggplant and extra sauce – yum!) and half a bottle of wine (Castle Rock Pinot Noir, double-yum!) on Saturday night, I listened to a string of recordings. Gramophone’s April issue has a “Collection” survey of Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” (Symphony No 2), and since they put Pletnev’s recording with the Russian National Orchestra at the top of several good choices I gave it a spin (the cycle had been a disappointment to me when I marketed it back in my DG days, but I think Pletnev’s Second is the strongest in the set). A few discs later, fully under the influence of the wine (but far from inebriated), I listened to a Virgin Classics recording of Brahms’s Piano Trios (Virgin Classics is a client). I had heard it a few times before while I was working, but this time, with no distractions, I was utterly gripped by the performances and found myself firing up the computer to jot down some notes. Those follow unedited here…
Brahms Piano Trios played with real convictionGenteel performances are the bane of classical music. Hearing Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and Nicholas Angelich play Brahms’s Piano Trio No 2 in C major, Op 87 makes me realise how wrong it would be to put this music into some cozy “chamber music” salon. Their performances are dangerous and alive, wrenching and expressive. The forlorn atmosphere that begins the second movement is reminiscent of Schubert; the fierce, almost macabre dance in the central section has a real diabolical swagger; throughout Renaud’s fiddle and then Gautier’s cello are supremely eloquent and full of ardour. The third movement Scherzo – once again reminiscent of Schubert – starts out with eerie graveyard dance that nonetheless melts into rhapsodic expression. Angelich’s rippling pianism is a marvel throughout the movement. The finale has the swagger of a Golden Age Hollywood film, reaching symphonic heights of exuberance. The performances burn with conviction. Musicians are responsible for tapping into the reverie through which music elevates the soul; but also, the audience must create the environment that enables artists to bring all of their gifts to bear. Caution is what is most dangerous to classical music’s prospects of reaching future audiences. Okay, my prose goes a bit purple (perhaps wine-colored would be a better adjective?), but Brian was listening too (from upstairs, above the living room) and I heard him yell out “Wow!” several times. In any case, the line that strikes me most from what I wrote is, “The performances burn with conviction.” Which made me think, how many performances of “burning conviction” have I heard lately in concert or on recording? Truth is, I feel pretty lucky lately and can list at least a handful of performances that have left a powerful mark on me. Back in late February, for example, my client Leif Ove Andsnes did a duo recital with violinist Christian Tetzlaff at Carnegie Hall that was superbly thrilling from the first note of the Janacek Sonata for violin and piano to the last encore. On record in just the past few days I’ve heard Mutter playing a new Gubaidulina violin concerto written for her (DG), David Fray (Virgin Classics) and Hélène Grimaud (DG) playing Bach keyboard works, Boulez doing Bartók concertos with various soloists (DG) and, just today, a Beethoven Seventh Symphony as exciting as any I’ve ever heard – and by an orchestra (Anima Eterna) and conductor (Jos van Immerseel) I didn’t know on a label I’ve never heard of (Zig Zag Territories, no less). And during the re-opening festivities for Alice Tully Hall I heard an explosive, no-holds-barred live Beethoven Seventh, along with the composer’s First Symphony, that I’ll never forget. The artists were Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, who are recording a Beethoven symphonies cycle for RCA Red Seal. By chance I had the opportunity to have a phone conversation with Paavo earlier this week. He’ll be conducting the Curtis Symphony in April at Carnegie Hall, and since the Curtis Institute of Music is one of our clients, I had arranged to chat with him to get some quotes for a press release. The timing was perfect because I began our conversation by telling him how much I loved the two Beethoven Symphonies I had just heard him do at the “new” Alice Tully Hall. That began a rather animated conversation with the two of us naming our favourite symphonies (Shostakovich 10 being one of the greats of the 20th century that both of us put near the top of the list; I found out we also share an inordinate love of Ravel’s Mother Goose). When I asked him what was the most important thing that he had learned at Curtis, he said it was that achieving the very best quality of performance was non-negotiable, that there’s no excuse for giving anything less than your best – and even then, that might not be enough to do the music justice. When I asked him what was most different about conducting a student orchestra versus a professional orchestra I clearly touched a nerve. “Conducting a student orchestra is often a BETTER experience. For far too many musicians, being professional can mean getting stuck in unnecessary traditions and regulations and caring more about rights than responsibilities. In the best situations the professional orchestras are great, but for many organizations it can be a breeding ground for mediocrity.” I whooped up a couple of cheers after hearing this and thanked him for his fiery responses. “I can’t do stock answers!,” he said with a laugh. Then he continued, “Music is a hobby for me, not a profession. It’s the same for my Dad [conductor Neeme Järvi] and he’s 72 now! Music is a gift from God – there’s so much about its impact on us that we still don’t understand. I have such an insatiable need to hear more and more music and to learn more and more repertoire. Next season in Cincinnati, for example [Järvi is music director of the Cincinnati Symphony), 90% of the works I’ll be doing are works that I’ve never done before. I just can’t get enough.” I thought that was a pretty cool statistic to say the least. Paavo’s enthusiasm really lit me up and our half hour conversation quickly became twice that before I let him go. But I think he had said in words what that Brahms Trio recording suggested to me last night: passionate artists and passionate music-making will be what ultimately keep the classical music scene alive and healthy – if not growing – in the future.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ligeti wows at symphony. Who knew?


From "The Cincinnati Enquirer" on 3/14/09, by Janelle Gelfand

Paavo Järvi had a surprise for the audience in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s concert Friday night. It was called "Romanian Concerto" by Gyorgy Ligeti. Ligeti’s "Concert Romanesque," which concluded the evening, was the most fantastic piece you’ve never heard. Rich with Romanian folk tunes and village dance music, it reminded one of Bartok’s folk music in the same vein. It made a fine partner to Bartok’s "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta," a 1936 work that continues to amaze, which opened. This was extraordinary music, and, with the orchestra in peak form, it was superbly played. The only disappointment was that this Bartok and Ligeti program will not be recorded as originally planned due to budget cuts, as well as the closing of Telarc’s production division. At the program’s center was Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467, with Canadian pianist Louis Lortie as soloist. For the Bartok, the seating was arranged in two string orchestras, with percussion, harp, keyboards and eight double basses arrayed across the back. The emotion was palpable in the first movement, a fugue, which opened with its mournful, chromatic subject in the violas, and built to a searing climax. The second was a vibrant contrast. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an exciting performance, with Järvi a driving force, galvanizing the musicians. They responded with brilliant flourishes in timpani, harp, piano and celesta, and the basses put on quite a pizzicato show. (Sit upstairs for the best view.) The slow movement, characteristic of Bartok’s "night music," was all about mystery and atmosphere, with its sweeping glissandos and eerie tremolos in the strings. Järvi built the intensity to a frenzied climax in the finale, a biting dance in Bulgarian rhythms.

Ligeti is better known for his atmospheric music used in Stanley Kubrick films, but his early "Romanian Concerto" (1951) is a real find. The first movement, evoking a Romanian Christmas carol, was spacious and lyrical. Its charming features included echoing horns between stage and balcony (Thomas Sherwood), Transylvanian fiddling for concertmaster Timothy Lees and colorful village tunes to show off the winds.

For the centerpiece, Montreal-born Lortie took the stage in Mozart’s glorious Piano Concerto No. 21, famous for the theme used in the movie, "Elvira Madigan." Lortie possesses a glittering technique and a showman’s stage presence. His penchant for tossing up his hands and bouncing along with his arpeggios grew distracting. His touch sparkled through Mozart’s sunny themes, though his playing was uneven in the cadenzas (of his own invention).

The heart of the work is the slow movement, and he brought lovely tone to its unforgettable melody. Then he dashed through the finale. In the end, he communicated the work’s joy, but not its inspiration.

The orchestra made a refined partner, and their ensemble with the soloist was in perfect synch.
The concert repeats at 8 p.m. today in Music Hall. 513-381-3300, http://sitelife.cincinnati.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/www.cincinnatisymphony.org. What did you think? Review this concert at Cincinnati.Com/Entertainment.

www.cincinnati.com

Bartok/Ligeti Climax Bartok Project


Posted on "Music in Cincinnati," Mary Ellyn Hutton's blog, on 3/14/09

Those who heard Paavo Järvi conduct the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Ligeti 's Concert Romanescu Friday night (March 13) at Music Hall may justly feel cheated. Unless they return for tonight’s repeat (8 p.m. at Music Hall), tune in for a broadcast later this season on Cincinnati's local public radio station, or wait for the next time Järvi and the CSO perform the Bartok and Ligeti, they will not hear this remarkable pairing again. To help weather the economic downturn, all CSO recording activities have been suspended. Sadly, the next CD in line for production (by Telarc, which just coincidentally, has gone out of business) was a Bartok/Ligeti album to have included the two works on this program. It would have been an important addition to the orchestra’s recorded legacy. (One can only hope that some kind of underwriting can be found to pick up the slack and keep this orchestra among the documented front rank of the profession.) Guest artist for the concert was Canadian pianist Louis Lortie in a very rewarding performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K.467. Bartok has been a focus of CSO programming this season, and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, his masterpiece, was the fitting climax. This 1936 work is one of the musical wonders of the 20th century. Crafted to the nth degree of mathematical detail (the bane of much contemporaneous music) it is music that nevertheless touches the emotions. If the Fibonacci series is not what one goes to concerts to hear (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.), Bartok’s music is. The CSO strings were divided into halves, one on the left, the other on the right side of the stage, with the percussion along the back, and the piano, celesta and harp on the left. The first sound heard, the violas pronouncing the sinuous fugue theme that opens the Andante tranquilo, was astonishingly soft and smooth, with no blurred edges. As the other voices entered, weight and tension built to a climax, and then faded back in retrograde motion to the same pitch with which the movement began. The vigorous Allegro that followed featured Bartok’s signature snap pizzicato (raising the string and letting it strike the fingerboard) and vibrant, sometimes dance-like rhythms where Järvi made it twinkle. Percussionist Richard Jensen opened the Adagio – an example of Bartok’s trademark “night music” -- by tapping out a Fibonacci sequence on the xylophone, followed by timpanist Patrick Schleker’s soft pedal glissandi and a mournful melody by the violas. There were insect-like trills and glissandi by the second violins, which became a veil of night creatures as Heather MacPhail on celesta, Gillian Benet Sella on harp and Michael Chertock on piano successively entered. The atmosphere cleared in the finale, a merry, folk-like movement with strummed pizzicato and a prominent return of the fugue subject from the first movement. Everywhere in the work, ensemble was precise, details were integrated and lines were shaped for the utmost musical effect. The CSO showed their appreciation for Järvi’s leadership by applauding him even before taking their own bows at the end. Lortie followed with what Järvi described in his “First Notes” video as a “taste of lemon sorbet” between courses” (of Bartok and Ligeti). It was far more, however, than a palate cleanser in this elegant collaboration. The opening Allegro featured Lortie’s own cadenza, in Mozartian style but with some daring harmonic excursions. There was a collective sigh in the audience during the lovely Andante (whose theme was popularized in the film “Elvira Madigan”). Lortie emoted tastefully here and Järvi pumped tenderness into the orchestral accompaniment. The concluding Allegro vivace had Lortie in perfect sync with the CSO and the crowd on their feet at the end. Sleeper on the program was Ligeti’s 1951 Concert Romanesc (Romanian Concerto). A mini-concerto for orchestra pre-dating his later modernist style, it follows in the folkloric tradition of fellow Hungarians Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly. Ligeti’s inspiration for the work was Romanian folk song, which he knew growing up in Romania (then a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) and later studied in Bucharest. The opening Andantino began with a lovely unison melody by muted strings, (similar according to Peter Laki’s excellent program notes), to a Romanian Christmas carol. Järvi shaped it with his hands as it took on harmony. He reverted quickly to his baton for the succeeding Allegro, a brief, brisk movement where piccoloist Joan Voorhees and the winds exchanged spirited licks with concertmaster Timothy Lees. In the Adagio that followed, principal French hornist Elizabeth Freimuth was answered from the balcony by associate principal Thomas Sherwood. (Both played, according to the composer’s directions, in valve-less horn style, i.e. using natural overtones, which don’t always sound “in tune” to our ears.) English hornist Christopher Philpotts lent sonic beauty to this soulful movement. Jarvi pulled out all the stops in the Molto vivace finale. Lees led a Transylvanian hoedown on his violin, with echoes by principal second violinist Gabriel Pegis and principal violist Victor de Almeida, and there were some highly evocative effects such as strings playing on the bridges of their instruments. George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsodies came to mind more than once as the excitement grew. There was a prominent clash of harmony by trumpets a semi-tone apart near the end, an infamous moment that got Ligeti’s work banned by the Stalinist authorities in Hungary, who allowed nothing of the kind to sully the wholesome soviet realist art approved by the Communist regime. (Ligeti left the country for good soon afterward.) The bottom seemed to drop out of the music finally, leaving Lees noodling high on the violin and Pegis sounding colorful harmonics. The horn calls of the third movement returned briefly and everything hovered in suspension before the final, delayed stinger chord. The concert repeats at 8 p.m. tonight at Music Hall.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Brahms, Bronfman powerful


From the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday, March 6, 2009
By Janelle Gelfand

Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 is a work of symphonic scope, and fiendishly difficult for the pianist. So to have Yefim Bronfman, one of the greatest pianists on the planet, perform Brahms' Second with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, it was bound to be an event.

And so it was. On Thursday in Music Hall, Bronfman delivered a powerhouse performance of the Second, yet the searing drama that he summoned was balanced by moments of unforgettable beauty.

Paavo Järvi was on the podium for a program that included two folkloric works by Bartok.
Some of the appeal of Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major is its rich orchestral canvas, in which piano and orchestra are equal partners. The noble horn theme that opened the first movement was warmly shaped (Thomas Sherwood), and Bronfman answered with a view that was impassioned and "symphonic" from the outset.

He built massive sonorities in the piano, climbing summit after summit thrillingly in an endurance test of power.

Yet his sound was never harsh and the depth of his musicianship and intensity of concentration were always evident.

The heart of this concerto is its songful slow movement, with its beautiful cello solo. Guest cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, principal cello of the Baltimore Symphony, unveiled a radiant tone and the intimate collaboration with pianist and orchestra glowed.

The finale was all sun and sparkle. The pianist played with stunning lightness, yet with enough weight to match the orchestra. Järvi's leadership was seamless, and the orchestra responded with polished, sonorous playing. With the crowd instantly on its feet, Bronfman went around the piano to shake the cellist's hand.

Järvi opened with Bartok's "Two Portraits." As soloist, concertmaster Timothy Lees approached the melodious first movement with a sweet sound and deeply felt phrasing.

Bartok's Dance Suite was an exuberant showpiece, and Järvi wonderfully illuminated its earthy Hungarian rhythms and folk tunes.

Lang Lang kicks off CSO season


From the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 8, 2009
By Janelle Gelfand

For the first time in memory, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will open its season next year with a single gala concert.

The orchestra will launch its 115th season Sept. 17 in Music Hall with a specially ticketed event starring Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. Paavo Järvi will open his ninth season as music director with music by American composers, including Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Leonard Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story." "The idea was to take one clear angle and to highlight American music throughout the season," Järvi says.

The orchestra's 2009-10 season will include a wide-ranging lineup of stars, including Järvi's brother, conductor Kristjan Järvi, in his subscription debut; pianist Gabriela Montero, who performed at President Obama's inauguration ceremony; the ever-popular French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and American conductor William Eddins conducting Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F from the keyboard.

Besides the tried-and-true symphonic fare, next season's programs will include a "Latin Night, the popular choral piece "Carmina Burana" and Wagner's Music from "The Ring." And the orchestra hopes to make Handel's "Messiah" an annual December tradition.

The Cincinnati Symphony is also revamping its Sunday afternoon series. A new, four-concert "Pathways" series will include an hour-long concert, followed by a half-hour discussion with Järvi joined by symphony musicians. The chats will be moderated by on-air personalities from WGUC-FM. The four afternoons will be offered at a lower price than full-length subscription programs.

The orchestra is responding to the economy by offering no price increases for its subscriptions, and cheaper single tickets next season. Single tickets will start at $10 - down $2 from this year.
The idea, says Trey Devey, the orchestra's president, is to make an evening out at the symphony "just as affordable as going to the movies."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Mainstream Flows Into Alice Tully Hall and Is Hushed




In the first week of its Opening Nights Festival, Lincoln Center filled Alice Tully Hall with all kinds of music, from medieval works to chamber music and large-scale contemporary works. But surely one important measure of the hall’s new acoustics is how they treat music from the mainstream canon.

You won’t find works more mainstream than the Beethoven symphonies, and on Monday evening Paavo Jarvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen gave vigorous performances of four of them — the First, Third (“Eroica”), Seventh and Eighth — in back-to-back concerts that kept the hall rocking until midnight. Or, at least, the orchestra and the audience — a nearly full house at both concerts — rocked. The hall itself was shockingly impassive.

Here is the good and bad news about the new Alice Tully Hall: the good news is that in quiet music, you can hear every gesture with complete clarity. A pianissimo in the new Tully is as lovely as could be. But when the music is loud, and you expect the hall to add something of its own — reverberation, warmth, perhaps a rounding of overly bright edges — forget it.

The stately, propulsive 15-note phrase that opens the Eighth Symphony? The final note sounds, the violinists lift their bows off the strings, and, well, that’s all you get. The opening chordal blasts of the “Eroica”? Surely those produce a touch of reverberance? Sorry.

If you’ve been dreaming that the dryness of the old Tully Hall has been banished, and that the new hall, with its rich hues, will yield a lush, vibrant tone, it’s time to wake up.
There may be hope for anyone interested in grasping at straws. This time Lincoln Center used the intermediate stage extension. By all accounts the full extension, which juts farther into the audience and brings the ensemble more fully into the hall, yields the best sound. That arrangement did not produce much resonance last Thursday, when the Juilliard Orchestra performed Messiaen’s “Des Canyons aux Étoiles,” but that evening, 18 sound-absorbing panels were deployed.

That excuse now looks like wishful thinking. No panels were used this time. Maybe the trick is to use the full extension and no panels. I wouldn’t bet what’s left of a retirement account on it.
The performance offered considerable compensation, once the orchestra had settled in. A curtain-raiser, the “Consecration of the House” Overture, had its ragged moments, and at the first concert, a listener had a choice of forgiving, or not, an occasional lack of cohesion in the Eighth Symphony and in the “Eroica,” too.

But Mr. Jarvi, the orchestra’s director since 2004, clearly prizes highly charged music making, often at top speed, with thoughtful phrasing and sharply punched accents. And the use of valveless trumpets; woodwinds with a bright, astringent sound; and hard timpani mallets, combined with a reduced string section, yielded unusual balances that revealed each score’s inner workings, usually without unreasonably skewing the balance between theme and accompaniment.

When the orchestra plays at its best, these qualities yield refreshing, powerful performances. That was consistently the case in the late-night concert, when the orchestra played hardest, perhaps in the vain hope of coaxing some reverberation from the hall. In the Seventh Symphony, Mr. Jarvi’s full-throttle approach was not surprising; you expect an orchestra to play the Presto and the closing Allegro con brio with all the energy it can summon, and Mr. Jarvi’s account kept you on the edge of your seat.

The First Symphony is usually far more restrained: Beethoven is still using Haydn’s playbook, weaving threads of rustic playfulness into an overwhelmingly courtly fabric. But Mr. Jarvi and his players reconsidered that balance, making vehemence and drive absolute values and letting the courtly charm fend for itself. It was a risky approach, but it worked.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Consecration and a Beatification

By Harry Rolnick from Concerto.net

New YorkAllice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center03/02/2009 - March 3, 2009
Ludwig van Beethoven: Overture to “The Consecration of the House”, Op. 124
Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Opus 93-Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (“Eroica”), Op. 55 Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen)
Paavo Järvi (Conductor)

Alice Tully Hall has been open nearly a week now, but with the last night’s starting fortissimo C Major chord, followed by four more sforzando chords, like a rapid-fire explosive, this theatre was finally and officially blessed. And blessed by no less a personage than Ludwig van Beethoven himself. The opening notes were from the overture to “Consecration of the House”, for a new theatre in Vienna, but the extraordinary conducting of Paavo Järvi made this not only a blessing, but a benediction, orison and beatification as well. Both the overture, and two Beethoven symphonies were christened with the unique Järvi imprimatur, so one can honestly say that Beethoven has never behaved this way in New York before, and we shall have to wait for the next appearance of the Bremen Chamber Philharmonic to hear it again.To the specifics. Physically, Mr. Järvi, especially in the overture, is the most exciting conductor to watch today. We aren’t speaking Bernstein-style showmanship or the majesty of a Solti. Rather, we have a man in full control of his orchestra with every motion. Granted, he has the luxury of a “chamber” orchestra—40-odd players—but his signaling, his dazzling baton-play, his cueing and measured beat were as electrifying to watch as to hear. The Bremen group, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, could probably respond to anybody, but it was the alacrity of their response to Mr. Järvi which made this such an exciting concert. Exciting and possibly controversial. For the conductor’s tempos were very far on the fast side, at times, as in the finale of the Eighth Symphony, almost hectic (though never headlong). We seemed be listening to an orchestral cadenza rather than a structured movement. Mr. Järvi, like Anne-Sophie Mutter, believes that the original concerts by Beethoven (or in her case, Bach) were taken at this speed, though nobody will ever prove it to be true. Certainly in the Eighth Symphony, that worked out well. The tale is told that after Beethoven would play the most profound slow movement of a piano sonata, he would give a loud guffaw, while the audience was sighing, The Eighth is a Beethoven laugh. And Mr. Järvi played it to the hilt.That work is especially made for the Bremen Chamber Orchestra, since the scoring is never clogged or blurred. On a recording, or with a larger orchestra, you might simply hear the explosive end of the first-movement development (and Mr. Järvi loves his explosions). Here, though, you could listen to the bass theme come through under the great chords. The second and third movements had a kind of mock-finesse, but the finale was crazy—in the best way. It was velocity, energy, not so much vivace as extreme brio, so that the fake endings came as punch lines to a huge joke. If this was hearing the F Major in new garb, what would Mr. Järvi do with the “Eroica”? First, with possibly the finest chamber orchestra in the world, he could afford to play around with balances. He gave the timpani countless chances to bang through the more explosive parts of the opening movement, he let the horns play merrily in the Scherzo (albeit with one fluff), and the strings simply had to sound as they were, perfect. But with these tempos, he had more than enough challenges. The funeral march was, yes, more sprightly than usual, but the control was such that it was still a magisterial movement. Even more important, the clash of chords at the climax was almost frightening, since we could hear every instrument, one fighting against the other to be heard. The finale had equal personality, which was not ever stolid, never the stern frowning Beethoven, but a composer who, more the Greek god than the Roman Emperor, loved wit, little practical jokes (the end, of course) and the delight of inspiration.Back to the first memories of Consecration of the House. This was no orthodox overture, it was hardly balanced, Maestro Järvi often brought out the bass and brass over the more plain-spoken higher string themes. But one doubts that Paavo Järvi paid much attention to the usual nasty portrait of Ludwig. He was looking for exuberance, muscularity, and the joy of inspiration. With his orchestra, he achieved all three.

http://www.concertonet.com/scripts/review.php?ID_review=5370

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen--Late Night Concert

Monday, March 02, 2009 10:30 PM Alice Tully Hall, Starr Theater
Great Performers
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Järvi conductor
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major
Led by the dynamic conductor Paavo Järvi, this German chamber orchestra takes the late-night stage for a concert featuring the music of Beethoven.
This performance is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes including 1 intermission. Please note: There is no late seating
This event is part of the Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights Festival

http://www.lincolncenter.org/show_events_list.asp?eventcode=17830

Musique symphonique--Orchestre de Paris

Paris. Salle Pleyel. 16-X-2008. Claude Debussy (1862- 1918) : Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune ; Serge Prokofiev (1891- 1953) : Concerto n° 2 pour violon et orchestre en sol mineur op. 63 ; Béla Bartok (1881- 1945) : Concerto pour orchestre Sz116. Roland Daugareil, violon. Orchestre de Paris, direction : Paavo Järvi.

Il suffit de peu finalement pour trouver le chemin de l’excellence. Juste un homme. Après la rencontre de l’Orchestre de Paris avec Rafaël Frühbeck de Burgos qui n’avait pas porté toutes ses promesses, ce soir, avec Paavo Järvi, son chef promis, c’est plus qu’une entente : une alchimie.

Du Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Järvi ose un poème, façonnant la matière brute avec délicatesse. Celle-ci se pare d’ombres et de lumières, colorée et sobre à la fois. Très vite, le merveilleux s’empare de l’auditoire, grâce à la patience, la souplesse et l’écoute renouvelée des musiciens. Tous les pupitres sont sollicités avec la même exigence, la même présence musicale et tous s’appliquent au caractère. L’élasticité du discours est exemplaire et laisse aux protagonistes une grande liberté (individuelle et collective).

Dans Prokofiev, la pâte savoureuse de Roland Daugareil, violon solo de l’orchestre, associée à un lyrisme candide et ravissant, fait merveille. L’accompagnement (difficile) intuitif et rigoureux lui permet de communiquer avec les différents pupitres et déployer un phrasé généreux avec une palette sonore riche et chaude (Stradivarius Txinka). Sa forme technique est remarquable (intonation particulièrement assurée), confirmée par un bis d’Ysaÿe, pittoresque et fuyant comme l’Aurore…

Avec le Concerto pour orchestre de Bartók, la complicité entre l’orchestre et le chef s’accentue, tout comme la confiance mutuelle. L’ensemble est débridé mais étonnement discipliné. Le geste énergique, éclatant de Järvi obtient des résultats exceptionnels : vraies ruptures d’atmosphères, nuances suivies à la lettre, cordes emportées (nostalgie vibrante de la pastorale magyare de l’Intermezzo interrotto), clarté dans les passages ardus (cohésion du fulgurant Presto final), dosage irréprochable de l’harmonie…

Les idées convaincantes et structurées d’une direction superbe semblent avoir ravivé, au cœur de cette formation, une petite flamme. Peut-être bien celle de son identité, indissociable de celui qui prouve avoir déjà pour elle un plan d’avenir.

http://www.resmusica.com/article_5889_musique_symphonique_orchestre_de_paris_paris_transfigure.html

Paavo Järvi assure la relève brucknérienne


Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) : Symphonie n° 7 en mi majeur (Edition Léopold Nowak). Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio de Francfort, direction : Paavo Järvi. 1 CD RCA/Sony-BMG. Code barre : 886973899724. Enregistré les 22-24 novembre 2006 au Alte Oper Frankfurt en live. SACD hybride multicanal. Notice trilingue (allemand, anglais, français). Durée : 67’27 Bruckner encore. Bruckner toujours. Bruckner jadis décrié et moqué. Bruckner aujourd’hui hissé au sommet de la hiérarchie créatrice. L’homme et sa musique ne cessent d’interroger, de fasciner, de jeter un trouble merveilleux mais indéfinissable dans l’esprit des auditeurs autant que des interprètes. Que l’on en juge en indiquant qu’un site internet dédié à Anton Bruckner (abruckner. com) recense pas moins de 300 références discographiques concernant la seule Symphonie n° 7, toutes versions confondues. Paavo Järvi grâce à l’Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio de Francfort apporte à son tour sa contribution. Face à tant de versions prestigieuses pour la plupart le chef américano-estonien et la phalange allemande s’en sortent très honorablement. Ils assurent une lecture maîtrisée ne refusant jamais les merveilleuses effusions lyriques dont Bruckner s’est fait une spécialité. Ils retiennent l’édition Léopold Nowak de 1954 au détriment des versions A. Gutman et Hass (de 1944) à l’image de la majorité des choix des interprètes. La composition de la symphonie elle-même date des années 1881-1883 et sa création l’année suivante (1884) à Leipzig revint au célèbre et très engagé Arthur Nikisch. Le premier mouvement Allegro moderato, un des plus célèbres du catalogue du maître autrichien, occupe l’espace sonore de manière ample, analytique mais sans excès et avec une exceptionnelle maturité. Il évite toute dramatisation déplacée, tout pathos superflu… Les variations d’intensité et de tensions, justes et justifiées, viennent renforcer la logique et l’impériosité du discours symphonique pour aboutir au merveilleux sommet du mouvement. Dans l’Adagio, les acteurs de cet enregistrement trouvent le ton idéal fait de recueillement et de gravité pour cette marche funèbre inoubliable. Dans le Finale, traditionnellement moins apprécié car jugé moins inspiré, cette version propulse la vision de Bruckner très haut dans l’inspiration et la continuité et porte ce texte au plus près du génie authentique de l’organiste de Saint-Florian. L’orchestre se surpasse, la captation nous paraît superlative, le chef jouit d’une illumination qu’il convient de vite découvrir. L’ensemble se positionne tout près du sommet de la discographie. Chef brucknérien indiscutable, Paavo Järvi, nouveau venu dans la compétition, pose magistralement la première pierre, plus que prometteuse, d’une intégrale ardemment espérée.