Saturday, September 18, 2004

CSO opens in grand style

Don't cry for me, Cincinnati. But, if I had had my 'druthers, I would have been taking my prime observation perch in the balcony (stage right!), watching over the opening night concert of Paavo's third season as Cincinnati Symphony Music Director, instead of lying, despondently, in a hospital bed recuperating from heart surgery.

Nevertheless, this was still a wonderful occasion in which the CSO found itself sharing the talents of the Estonian National Male Choir in CSO opens in grand style by Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer (9/18/04).

"The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was at full throttle as the Estonian National Male Choir pronounced with clipped power in old Finnish, Thus died Kullervo the hero. It was a thrilling conclusion to Sibelius' colossal masterpiece Kullervo, a work that gripped Friday's opening night audience in Music Hall, and made a momentous opening to the orchestra's 110th season, Paavo Jarvi's fourth as music director.

"...From the outset of this five-movement, 75-minute journey, Jarvi led stunning aural canvases that were full of life - dark and earthy in the basses; glowing in the violins and inspired playing in the winds and brass.

"Through it all, Jarvi propelled his musicians with imagination and momentum, never flagging in intensity, and they played with true distinction."

Read more: CSO opens in grand style by Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer (9/18/04).

Friday, September 17, 2004

Järvi up for fourth season

Järvi up for fourth season: Paavo returns to lead symphony Friday
by Janelle Gelfand
Cincinnati Enquirer, September 17, 2004

Conductor Paavo Järvi was sitting in a hotel room in Bremen, Germany, earlier this month, saying in a groggy voice that he'd been on the road "a little bit too long." As he mused about his nonstop summer travels, the Estonian-born maestro was anticipating his fourth season as music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which begins Friday.

Janelle Gelfand: What's the most interesting thing you did this summer?

Paavo: I don't know where to start. Most recently was my Salzburg Festival debut (in Austria) with the Deutsche Philharmonie Bremen (his chamber orchestra). Another was a European Union Youth Orchestra tour, which we finished in Estonia a few days ago. The other thing was my Cleveland Orchestra debut (at the Blossom Festival).

JG: What's the first thing you'll do when you get to Cincinnati?

PJ: The routine is so clear: you get off the plane, and you basically go to your apartment and say, "Hmmm, OK, I suppose that's my home now for these three weeks." I have to start from zero, get groceries and mundane stuff.

JG: What CDs do you listen to on your way to Music Hall in your Buick SUV?

PJ: I listen to a lot of jazz - Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. I have probably all their CDs. I listen to various things, but to be honest with you, I still go back to the older stuff.

JG: As a former rocker, do you have a favorite rock band?

PJ: I don't really have one favorite, but recently I heard a new CD by Peter Frampton. It was very impressive.

JG: Is there a CD in your collection that would surprise people?

PJ: I have all kinds that don't really live up to the image of what a classical conductor would listen to - rap artists, salsa artists and so on. For example, Eminem. He's brilliant and controversial, but the stuff that he's doing is pretty hip.

JG: What do you sing to your baby daughter to get her to sleep?

PJ: Sometimes it takes quite long to get her to sleep, so I go from the slow movement of a Brahms Symphony. I sing the whole thing, and she's still awake.

JG: You're opening the symphony season with "Kullervo," an "epic" by Sibelius. What would you like the audience to know about it?

PJ: It is slightly like a Greek myth - a whole list of characters and their journeys, and how the nation of Finland was created. The strength of the piece is that it is fresh, courageous and uncompromising music.

JG: You're bringing the Estonian National Male Choir, with whom you won a Grammy last year. Is the male choir a big tradition in Estonia?

PJ: It is, and throughout history and especially during Soviet times, it was a symbol of independence. A male choir was as close as one could have 100 men onstage singing something. In any other situation, it would be called an army.

W H E N   Y O U   G O 
What: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, conductor; Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano; Jaakko Kortekangas, baritone; and the Estonian National Male Choir. Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3; Sibelius' Kullervo.

When: 8 p.m., Sept. 17-18.

Where: Music Hall, 1243 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine.

Tickets: $21.75-$60.50; $10 students; (513) 381-3300.

New improved Web site: The orchestra's updated site has program notes, downloadable sound bites of Järvi speaking and a flash movie of a performance.