Sunday, December 31, 2006

Looking back: Classical music

By Janelle Gelfand
Cincinnati Enquirer, December 31, 2006

Music lovers enjoyed an array of great performances in 2006, ranging from early music to Peter Frampton. Programs around the world highlighted the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth and Shostakovich's centennial, and Cincinnati was no exception.

In the news, string quartets became endangered. First, the 60-year-old Oxford String Quartet at Miami University lost a violinist and the school refused to refill the position. (The trailblazing quartet is still hanging on with guest musicians filling in.) And at Northern Kentucky University, the Azmari Quartet had a moment of panic when the school announced it was abandoning the resident post. Supporters rallied to fund the region's only surviving quartet in residence.

In February, we learned that, although Cincinnati was once a jazz mecca where the nation's greats played, that legacy is endangered today.

And this fall, the 112-year-old Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra updated its old-world image with some high-tech additions, including its first-ever DVD of a live performance (Paavo Järvi's inaugural concert as music director). The orchestra introduced a new principal timpanist for the first time in 39 years, Patrick Schleker. And Elizabeth Freimuth began her first season as principal horn.

Expect more new faces. Tonight, after 41 years, cellist Carlos Zavala is retiring after his final New Year's Eve concert.

Here are 10 of the year's most memorable performances:

Pulling out the stops - In January, fans of organ music who were lucky enough to get in the door of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church were treated to a dazzling display from French organist Olivier Latry. The master, whose regular gig is at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, called upon a full orchestral palette, in a mesmerizing, inventive and majestic journey that seemed to use every color of the organ's spectrum.

La Renée in Dayton - Opera star Renée Fleming brought her glamorous image and spectacular artistry to the Dayton Philharmonic in February, conquering the crowd with Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and some obscure, somber Italian opera arias. She charmed most though when she brought out chestnuts like "O mio babbino caro."

Mahler in March - Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," in March was one of the most electrifying readings by Järvi in his five-year tenure, a journey that was at once fiercely intense and wonderfully relaxed. The CSO shared the stage with the May Festival Chorus, Finnish mezzo-soprano Lilli Paasikivi and soprano Latonia Moore. The sprawling work had not been performed at the symphony since 1980.

Finding joy in laments - Catacoustic Consort released a debut album of 17th-century laments, a magical discovery of intimately scored music singing of loss and love. As in her local concerts, Annalisa Pappano, a Glendale-based master of ancient instruments such as the viola da gamba, assembled a group of acclaimed early music specialists.

Mozart in May - It wasn't just the vocal fireworks of soprano Mary Dunleavy or the Hollywood glamour of actor Michael York. Cincinnati May Festival's three-hour concert staging of Mozart's "The Abduction from the Seraglio" was a thrilling evening of great operatic singing that ended in a roaring, 10-minute ovation. James Conlon presided over the singspiel using a new script that he commissioned.

Frampton plays alive - Peter Frampton's Cincinnati Pops debut in June was a Frampton lovefest for the thousands of fans at Riverbend, who clapped, danced and sang along with '70s hits from the best-selling live album of all time, "Frampton Comes Alive!"

Chamber opera - Mozart's opera, "Cosi fan tutte" was given a hilarious new interpretation by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in Patricia Corbett Theater. Staged by Robert Neu and conducted by Mischa Santora, the production starred a young cast of fresh-voiced singers, all students or graduates of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.

High notes - At Cincinnati Opera, Evans Mirageas' first season as artistic director turned out to be a triumph. It culminated in Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann," an evening of feasts for the eyes, imaginative staging and the spectacular company debuts of Vinson Cole as Hoffmann and Sarah Coburn as Olympia the doll.

Sweet clarinet - The Linton Music Series opened its 28th season of "music making among friends" in October with an old friend - clarinetist Anthony McGill, former associate principal clarinetist of the Cincinnati Symphony - and a new partnership with the Azmari String Quartet. Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, one of the gems of the clarinet literature, was the afternoon's highlight.

Epic symphony - Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony delivered a searing reading of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad," in November, for the centennial of Shostakovich's birth. The sheer power of this shattering music in Music Hall's spacious acoustic was an aural experience unlike any other, I would venture, in the country.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

RADIO BROADCAST: Cincinnati Symphony

A recording of the September 29 & 30, 2006 concert (Paavo Järvi, conductor; Alisa Weilerstein, cello) will be broadcast via streaming audio on Sunday, December 31, at 7:30 pm over Classical WGUC, 90.9FM.

Tubin: Symphony No. 11
Schumann: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A Major

Happy Birthday, Paavo!

43 44 years young! ;-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Valitsus andis eriteenete eest kodakondsuse viiele inimesele

Valitsus andis eriteenete eest kodakondsuse viiele inimesele

Valitsus otsustas eriteenete eest anda Eesti kodakondsuse viiele inimesele, nende seas dirigent Paavo Järvi abikaasale, viiuldaja Tatiana Järvile.
Eesti kodakondsuse pälvisid veel Sergei Sergejenkov, Anatoli Gruba, Vladimir Stepanjan ja Aleksei Aleksejev, teatas valitsuse kommunikatsioonibüroo.

Viiuldaja Tatiana Järvi on õppinud Suurbritannias Yehudi Menuhin’i koolis Yehudi Menuhin’i ja Natalia Bojarski käe all. Järvi on võitnud mitmeid rahvusvahelisi auhindu. Interpreedina on Tatiana Järvi aktiivne Eesti heliloomingu propageerija.

Sergei Sergejenkov on meretranspordi juhtimise spetsialist ning töötanud Eestit läbivate transiitveostega seotud ettevõtetes 19 aastat. Sergejenkov aktiivselt kaasa aidanud Eesti ekspordipotentsiaali tõstmisele ja majandussidemete arendamisele välisriikidega.

Anatoli Gruba oli üks esimesi laevaremondi kuraatoreid Eestis. Tänu tema tulemuslikule tööle usaldab üha rohkem Euroopa laevaomanikke oma merealuste remondi BLRT Grupi tehastesse.

Vladimir Stepanjan on aktiivselt tegelenud judoga. Eestis elamise ajal on ta võitnud kaks korda Eesti meistritiitli ja tulnud kolm korda Eesti karikavõitjaks. Eesti judokoondisega alustas ta tööd 1999. aastal, mil ta kutsuti koondise massööriks.

Aleksei Aleksejev töötab Ääsmäe põhikoolis filmiõpetuse õpetajana. Ta on loonud mitmeid dokumentaalfilme. 2003. aastal asutas ta mittetulundusühingu Etnomeedia, mille eesmärk on tutvustada soome-ugri rahvaste etnograafiat, folkloori, antropoloogiat ja teisi rahvuskultuuri valdkondi.

Käesoleval aastal laekus valitsusele kokku 13 ettepanekut Eesti kodakondsuse andmiseks eriliste teenete eest. Vastavalt kodakondsuse seadusele võib eriliste teenete eest anda Eesti kodakondsuse mitte rohkem kui kümnele isikule aastas.

Thomas Mell

2006's Top 10 Classical-Music Discoveries

2006's Top 10 Classical-Music Discoveries

Cincinnati-based NPR station WGUC plays classical music 24 hours a day, reaching out to the genre's newcomers and longtime aficionados alike. WGUC music director Kent Teeters compiled this list of the 10 best classical CD discoveries of 2006.

1. Osmo Vanska/Minnesota Orchestra: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 8
Just when it seems like there are plenty of Beethoven symphony recordings to go around, at least six major new symphony cycles are being issued. Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra are in the midst of completing the recording and release of all nine symphonies. Vanska, in his early tenure with Minnesota (he was named music director in 2003), provides a worthy rival to other classic Beethoven interpreters.

2. Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra: Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra/Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes/Elgar: Enigma Variations
The latest installment from Telarc's Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra collaboration, this release features lush English orchestral music from two greats: Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten. One of only a handful of American orchestras to have an ongoing recording contract, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performs at its peak under Jarvi's leadership. The much-loved Enigma Variations and non-narrated Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra don't disappoint in these fresh interpretations.

3. Alison Balsom: Bach: Works for Trumpet
For fans of the trumpet and the music of Bach, listening to this young, accomplished artist is a must. Balsom studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Paris Conservatory, and then with world-renowned trumpet virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger. Balsom convincingly navigates these Bach transcriptions.

4. Paavo Jarvi/Estonian National Symphony Orchestra: Grieg: Norwegian Dances, etc.
The father-son conducting duo of Neeme and Paavo Jarvi is responsible for hundreds of recordings made with excellent orchestras from around the world. For this all-Grieg disc, Paavo Jarvi returns to his native Estonia to lead the National Symphony Orchestra in Grieg's tuneful Norwegian and Symphonic Dances and the familiar Holberg Suite.

5. Rolf Lislevand: Nuove musiche
It's been said that music from the 1600s had as much to do with what wasn't on the page as with what was. Rolf Lislevand has fully embraced that improvisatory concept, bringing early music into the 21st century. The unique and mesmerizing performances here are clearly "old wine in new bottles," yet the result is much truer in spirit to what likely would have occurred 400 years ago.

6. Daniele Gatti/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6/Serenade for Strings
If you already have the "mini-cycle" of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies, you could wait until your old favorites are reissued on SACD, or you could start anew with Daniele Gatti's fresh and marvelous readings, all now available in that format. Gatti's recordings of Tchaikovsky's 4th and 5th symphonies came out earlier. This combination of the Symphony No. 6 and the Serenade for Strings was released in 2006.

7. Douglas Boyd/Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Schubert: Symphony Nos. 8 & 4
Rather than utilizing a full-time resident conductor, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is led by a collaboration of six "Artistic Partners." This recording marks a new era for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: its first release with Artistic Partner Douglas Boyd, and the first CD released on its own label.

8. Stephen Layton: Eric Whitacre: Cloudburst and Other Choral Works
American composer Eric Whitacre's harmonic language is nothing short of stunning. And, as expected from the vocal group Polyphony, the performance is top-notch. Though Whitacre is only in his mid-30s, many of his works (several of them on this recording) have entered the standard choral repertoire. This is the future of classical choral music.

9. Esa-Pekka Salonen/Los Angeles Philharmonic: Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps/Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain/Bartok: The Miraculous Mandarin
There's perhaps no better test piece for an orchestra, or for a recording engineer, than Stravinsky's Le Sacre. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the technicians from Deutsche Grammophon are all up to the task with this debut live recording from Disney Hall. And, for those who only know the Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov version, Mussorgsky's original orchestral score for Night on Bald Mountain will come as a revelation.

10. Gustavo Dudamel/Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela: Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 5 & 7
It's hard to believe that this is a youth organization of mostly teenagers performing. The recording is also the Deutsche Grammophon debut for young Gustavo Dudamel, whom Sir Simon Rattle calls "the most astonishingly gifted conductor I've ever come across." If this is what Dudamel can do at 25, imagine his gifts at 50.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Paavo Järvi: kultuuri tuleb väärtustada ametlikult, osana poliitikast

Foto: Marko Mumm

Paavo Järvi: kultuuri tuleb väärtustada ametlikult, osana poliitikast
Autor: Brigitta Davidjants
Eesti Päevaleht Online, 20. detsember 2006

Täna kõlab Estonia kontserdisaalis Eesti riikliku sümfooniaorkestri juubelikontsert, mida juhatab Paavo Järvi. Dirigent leiab, et ERSO on jõudnud heale tasemele.

•• Mille järgi valisite juubeliprogrammi teosed?

Kuna käin siin harva, on Eestisse tulek minu jaoks alati eriline sündmus. Olen siin kasvanud ja muusikaeluga sünnist saati kursis olnud. Muusikasse armusingi Eestis. Seetõttu püüan siia tuua erilisi teoseid. Need projektid on alati seotud plaadistuste või suurvormidega, näiteks Sˇostakovitsˇi 7. sümfooniaga. Seekord tundus, et võiks teha midagi standardset ja fundamentaalset, mida kõikjal mujal juhatan, aga siin pole saanud teha.

•• Mis seob teid ERSO-ga?

Osalt on mul selle orkestri ees kohusetunne. Olen ERSO proovides üles kasvanud. Kõik vanemad mängijad tunnevad mind sellest ajast, kui olin väike põnn. Nii et ühest küljest on meie suhe väga perekondlik. Teisest küljest on palju uusi noori mängijaid. Meil pole iial olnud orkestriga koos arenemise protsessi. Nende igapäevaelu möödub kellegi teisega, mina tulen siia vaid vahel. Mul on alati tunne, et sellest on mulle pisut vähe. Tahaksin proovida, kuidas kõlaksid siin näiteks Brahmsi, Haydni või Mozarti sümfooniad.

•• Milline on Eesti orkestri tase Euroopa mastaabis?

Orkestri tase tõuseb kogu aeg. Muidugi oleneb, millise Euroopaga võrrelda. Kas Eesti orkestrit saab praegu võrrelda Berliini filharmoonikutega? Loomulikult mitte. Aga Helsingi linnaorkestriga? Loomulikult. Küsimus pole isegi võrdlusmomendis, sest muusika pole sport. Tähtsaim on see, et orkester areneb. Raske esimene etapp saada heaks orkestriks on läbitud. Nüüd tuleb saada heast orkestrist väga heaks orkestriks. Ja väga heast erakordseks orkestriks tõustakse üliharva. Neid orkestreid on maailmas ehk viis-kuus. See on sisemise orkestrikultuuri, aga ka finantsküsimus. ERSO on jõudnud heale tasemele. On iseasi, kas leidub sisemist fanatismi ja organisatsioonikultuuri, et teha heast väga hea orkester. Mina näen, et leidub. Aga see protsess nõuab eneseületust, raskeid otsuseid ja pragmaatilist mõtlemist.

•• Kas tahate öelda, et potentsiaal on suur, aga takerdutakse majandusmuredesse?

Mitte ainult. Ma ei tunne maailmas ühtki orkestrit, kes mängiks halvasti, sest neile makstakse vähe. Muidugi peab maksma paremini kui praegu. Võimalus normaalselt elada ja hästi tööd teha on miinimum. Aga kui oled õhtul laval, ei mängi sa kunagi halvemini sellepärast, et sulle makstakse vähe. On vaja luua tingimused, et saaks kodus harjutada ega peaks tegema haltuurat. Aga rääkides oma kogemusest – ma juhatan orkestreid, kus makstakse erakordselt hästi, kuid ikka saabuvad proovide vaheajal õpilased ja haltuura.

•• Kuidas edeneb töö Frankfurdi Raadio sümfooniaorkestri peadirigendina?

Meil on väga põnev periood, nagu kestaksid mesinädalad. See on ka pisut ohtlik, sest tead juba algul, et need ei kesta igavesti. Samas on see ainus aeg, mil on võimalik asi õigesti käima panna. Ei saa hakata nelja aasta pärast nõudma midagi, mida oleks tulnud nõuda varem ja mis jäi kahe silma vahele. Keegi ütles kunagi, et esmamuljet saab jätta vaid üks kord. Algul tuleb paika panna filosoofia, teha seda humaanselt ja halastamatult. Mul on positiivne tunne, et oleme seda protsessi alustanud väga hästi. Ausalt öeldes oli esimene kontsert peadirigendina väga raske. Olin väga pettunud, sest mulle tundus, et nad ei võtnud seda kõike tõsiselt. See pani mind mõtlema, kuidas seda muuta, ning aitas langetada tähtsaid otsuseid. Mõnikord on raskeid momente vaja, et leida jõudu teha midagi, mida tavaliselt ei teeks.

•• Milline on üks hea orkester?

Selline, kus mängutase on ühtlaselt kõrge, kus inimesed tunnevad end nagu artistid ega käi tööl nagu näiteks bussijuhid. Inimesed peavad oma töö ja eriala üle uhked olema, mitte arrogantsed, vaid hindama oma saavutusi. Täna on võimatu mängida halvasti, kui eile mängisid jube hästi. Siis peab homme veel paremini minema. See on protsess. Orkester peab teadma, et tähtsaimad on kvaliteet ja muusika teenimine, mitte kõik need praktilised organisatoorsed küsimused. Muidugi peavad needki olema hästi lahendatud.

•• Teil on palju pakkumisi dirigeerida eri orkestreid. Mille järgi langetate valikuid?

See sõltub potentsiaalist. On väga huvitav näha, et midagi võib ehitada, saavutada. Aga see on ka keemia küsimus. Mõne inimesega püüad leida vastastikust kontakti, aga seda ei teki. Teisele vaatad korra peale ja kohe on arusaamine. Orkestrigagi on küsimus puhtinimlikus keemias. Ühega klapib, teisega mitte. Kui orkestriga pole musikaalset sidet, on koostöö väga ohtlik, ükskõik kui huvitav ja prestiizˇikas see ka pole. See võib väga halvasti lõppeda.

•• Tooge mõni positiivne näide.

Näiteks Cincinnati sümfooniaorkestriga on mul algusest peale väga hea kontakt. Praegu on see vist parim, sest see pole rajatud heale tujule, vaid tuli põhjaliku ja raske töö tulemusel. Nad teadsid, et mind valides ei lähe nende elu kergemaks. Ütlesin kohe algul, et peame tegema kõvasti tööd. Alguses ma neile ei meeldinudki. Aga praegu on tekkinud atmosfäär, et mängime nüüd paremini kui kahe aasta eest. Meid tuntakse rohkem ja me oleme selle üle uhked. Kui tunned, et asjad edenevad, on see nakatav. Ja kui teised seda mõistavad, kasvab ka eneseuhkus.

•• Millised heliloojad on teile südamelähedased?

On heliloojaid, kellega püüan tulutult sidet leida. Mõnega see lõpuks tekib. Kui olin noorem, jättis prantsuse muusika mind külmaks, eriti Debussy. Olen aastaid proovinud teda üha uuesti mängida. Ja mingil hetkel tekkis klapp, kuigi see polnud armastus esimesest silmapilgust.

Kasvasin üles väga traditsioonilises muusikalises keskkonnas, kus valitses standardne klassika: Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Haydn, Tsˇaikovski, Sˇostakovitsˇ jt. Kuna isa õppis Leningradis ja eksisteeris Nõukogude Liit, oli vene kallak väga tugev. Ja nagu Nõukogude Liidus üldse, oldi tollal repertuaari osas väga piiratud. Näiteks Sibeliust ja Nielsenit ei mängitud üldse. Venemaal ei mängita neid tänini. Meil olid kõik plaadid kodus ja isa tegi orkestriga palju põnevaid töid. Oli ka ooper, kus isa oli vist 20 aastat peadirigent.

•• Tunnete siis ooperit väga hästi.

See on osa mu elust, millega tegelen kahjuks liiga vähe. Tahaksin sellega rohkem kontaktis olla, aga mul pole aega. Ooperi väljatoomine võtab vähemalt neli kuni kuus nädalat. Minul pole järgmise nelja-viie aasta jooksul ühtki vaba nädalat. Püüan leida kompromisse, et saaksin teha korra aastas mõne ooperi kontsertettekande. See pole küll päris see, aga siis olen muusikaga vähemalt kontaktis.

•• Kas läänes on nõudlus akadeemilise repertuaari järele veel olemas või on põhjust rääkida klassika kriisist?

See on vale. Klassikaline muusika on just nüüd leidnud oma nivoo. Erakordset populaarsust ei tasugi loota, sest see pole see zˇanr. See pole massidele. Oleme tahtnud panna seda muusikat situatsiooni, kuhu see ei sobi. Sümfooniakontserdil ei pea olema üle 2000 inimese. Aga ehitatakse saale, kuhu mahub isegi 4000 inimest. Siis on saalid tühjad ja tundub, nagu teeks midagi valesti. Tegelikult olgu saalid pisemad ja intiimsemad. Ei tohi olla tunnet, et said kuskilt pileti, oled staadionil, istud jube kaugel ja kõik paistab tilluke. See on massikultuuri imiteerimine. Sellist populaarsust nagu popmuusikutel ei tule kunagi, sest see on teine maailm.

•• Kuidas on lugu populaarse repertuaariga?

Ei tohi pingutada nende jaoks, kes püüavad saale täita vaid populaarse repertuaariga. Mida rohkem nõuab kommerts, seda vähem mängitakse huvitavat muusikat. Teame hästi, et “Carmina Burana” peale on rahvas kohe saalis. Aga me ei saa elada ainult väheste standardteostega. Tuleb teha uut ja ka kammerlikku muusikat.

•• Kuidas haakub see turumajandusele orienteeritud ühiskonnaga?

Probleem on selles, et orkestreid peab keegi toetama. Vanasti tegid seda kirik ja jõukad inimesed. Üks intelligentne ja mõjukas ühiskonnakiht mõistis alati selle vajalikkust. Tänu sellele on meil muusika, mille najal püsib kogu lääne kultuur. Ei ole nii, et kui nad ise hakkama ei saa, pole neid vaja. See arusaam on väga tänapäevane ja harimatu. Kui see mõtlemine oleks valitsenud 300 aastat tagasi, poleks suurt osa lääne kultuurist. On oht, et mida kaugemal asuvad meie poliitikud klassikalisest kultuurist, seda vähem mõistavad nad lõpuks selle tähtsust. See on universaalne probleem. Tuleb selgitada, miks on klassikaline muusika ja üldse kunst olulised. See pole pelgalt meelelahutus.

•• Kas inimesi tuleks harida?

Harida nagunii, kuid küsimus on ka huvi äratamises. Inimene peab olema lahtise olekuga. Mind häirib pigem popkultuuri tohutu surve. On väga selgelt paika pandud, mis on cool, mis vanade inimeste muusika ja mida noor inimene ei pea kuulama. See diktaat tuleb massimeediast, on kaval, huvitav ja atraktiivne. Tegelikult on see ajupesu ja ideoloogia nagu Orwelli romaanis. Ma ei teagi, kus üks noor inimene peaks klassikat kuulma. Kommerts domineerib. Muusika peab hea välja nägema ja kiirelt erutama. Aga päris hea asi nõuab aeglast süvenemist. Ja mõnikord pakub just see, mis võtab aega, kõige suuremat naudingut.

•• Kas klassikaline muusika üldse jõuab inimesteni?

Jõuab. Näen Ameerikas inimesi, kel pole klassikaga mingit pistmist. Ma ei tea ühtki vanemat, kes tahaks minna lapsega näiteks räpikontserdile. Nad vaatavad, mida nende laps vajab, ja asuvad otsima seda, millest on alati distantseerunud. Aga miks? Sest nad teavad, et see räpikontsert on tegelikult tühi.

Kultuuri tuleb väärtustada ametlikult, see peab olema osa poliitikast. Küsisin kord ühelt norralaselt: kui lähed Ameerikasse ja ameeriklane küsib, mis on Norra, siis millest sa talle räägid? Ta vastas, et Norra on tema jaoks loodus, siis Ibsen, Grieg ja Munch. Ta ei maininud kordagi sotsiaalkindlustust või naftat. Ühele riigile annab südametunnistuse kultuur.

•• Mida tähendab teile Eesti?

Minu jaoks on see eesti keel, heliloojad ja muusikud. Tammsaare on see eesti kultuur, mis istub südames. Me räägime absurdset juttu Eesti Nokia otsinguist. Nokia võib keegi ära osta ja siis kuulub see kellelegi teisele. Aga Sibeliust ja Tammsaaret ei ole võimalik ära osta.

•• Kes on teile eesti heliloojatest lähedased?

Austan väga Erkki-Sven Tüüri. Teeme koos palju tööd ja see sujub hästi. Aga ka legendaarset Arvo Pärti ja Eesti esimest sügavat sümfonisti Tubinat. Mul oli väga hea vahekord Lepo Sumeraga, mis katkes tema surma tõttu. Praegu on palju suure potentsiaaliga noori. Tähtis on, et neile antaks kodus võimalusi ja nende muusikat mängitaks. Tegelikult neid hinnataksegi ja see on hea. Meie heliloojad on välismaal edukad. Paljud usuvad, et ka nemad võivad jõuda sinna, kus on näiteks Arvo.

•• Kes on teie eeskujud?

Mu esimene eeskuju on isa Neeme Järvi. Olengi vaid seetõttu dirigent, et see soov tekkis väikse poisina teda vaadates. Mida ma tollal dirigeerimisest teadsin? Mitte midagi! Veel aastaidki ei teadnud. Aga see oli loogiline jätk. Isa on tõeline muusikaarmastaja, tema entusiasm nakkab. Temaga oli kogu aeg põnev. Muusika tundmine ja kuulamine muutusid järk-järgult mu elu osaks. Ta küsis mult alati: mis helilooja see on? Ei tea. Mis maalt ta pärit on? Ei tea. Aga mis sajandist? Meil olid alati sellised mõistatamismängud. Ja need tulid kasuks.

Paavo Järvi

Rahvusvaheliselt nõutud

eesti päritolu dirigent

•• Kogu maailmas tunnustatud dirigent Paavo Järvi sündis 1962. aastal Tallinnas ja õppis Tallinna muusikakoolis löökpille.

•• 1980. aastal kolis ta Ameerika Ühendriikidesse, kus jätkas oma õpinguid Curtise muusikainstituudis ja Los Angelese filharmooniainstituudis professor Leonard Bernsteini juures.

•• Aastast 2001 on ta Cincinnati sümfooniaorkestri muusikaline juht.

•• Orkestriga on esinetud Ameerikas, Euroopas, Aasias. Sellest hooajast on Järvi Frankfurdi Raadio sümfooniaorkestri peadirigent.

•• Ta on maailmas äärmiselt nõutud külalisdirigent. Järvi juhatamisel on esitatud palju eesti heliloojate loomingut, näiteks Pärdi, Tüüri, Sumera ja Tubina teoseid.

ERSO kontserdil kõlab Brahms

•• Täna leiab aset ERSO 80 aasta juubeli kontsert, kus soleerib jaapani viiuldaja Akiko Suwanai. Dirigeerib Paavo Järvi, kes on ühtlasi orkestri kunstiline nõustaja ning teinud orkestriga palju häid salvestusi. Mängitakse Johannes Brahmsi “Akadeemilist avamängu”, viiulikontserti D-duur ja sümfooniat nr 1 c-moll.

•• Akiko Suwanai on noorim rahvusvahelise Tsˇaikovski konkursi võitnud muusik ning ta on mänginud paljude maailmakuulsate orkestritega. Kontsert leiab aset Estonia kontserdisaalis kell 19. Hetkel on ERSO peadirigent ja kunstiline juht Nikolai Aleksejev.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lanaudière 2007

Here's a confirmation that Paavo and DKAM will be returning to Canada next summer.

Lanaudière 2007

Confirmé: la Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Philharmonique de chambre de Brême) et son chef Paavo Järvi donneront les neuf Symphonies de Beethoven en un week-end de quatre concerts à Lanaudière cet été. Chef et orchestre y avaient présenté un concert Beethoven en 2005. La programmation 2007 comprend aussi trois concerts de l'OSM dirigé par Kent Nagano.

Monday, December 18, 2006

CSO Encore goes to Chicago

Members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's young professionals organization, CSOEncore!, traveled to Chicago to watch Paavo conduct another "CSO" - the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With Järvi (center) are Jenny Walker, Kevin McManus, Matt Leonard, Heidi Tillinghast and Larry Wang.

Paavo Järvi – The Man Who is Going to Reveal the Best-Kept Secret

Somehow, I missed this interview back in October. Hope you enjoy it now!
Paavo Järvi – The Man Who is Going to Reveal the Best-Kept Secret

»No game-playing, no testing the limits, no showmanship« - the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra starts the 2006/07 season with its new chief conductor.

It’s sometimes good in an interview to have one or two empty pages at the end with no questions written on them. You never know. Perhaps the interviewee would like to add something that isn't a response to a specific question? Many people would simply say »No thanks« or rattle off some glib generalisation. Not so Paavo Järvi. As with all of the preceding questions, he thinks about the non-question for a long time. And his answer begins almost philosophically. He says that a question always opens a door, that thoughts are set in motion, one question leads to another. »Everything is interconnected. The intellect leads you.« If there's no question, there's no answer. If there's no discussion, there's no insight.

Paavo Järvi, born in Estonia in 1962, is a very careful conversation partner. And he’s a very careful musician, never someone who is always just passing through, either musically or thematically. It might appear like that at first glance. After all, he is chief conductor of three orchestras – the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and – his most recent addition – the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. You could never say Paavo Järvi, who was brought up in the US after his father Neeme Järvi moved there with his family in 1980, takes it easy.

If you ask him about the differences between working with a US and a German orchestra, he’ll immediately cut through the surface to delve much deeper. For Paavo Järvi, it’s not purely the sound that differentiates a US orchestra from a German one. No. With the exception of the Staatskapelle Dresden, the German sound doesn’t really exist any more. It’s more in the attitude to music of the individual musicians that you notice the difference. In the US, the orchestra knows the piece before the first rehearsal. Every musician already knows his part. »You’re dealing with a perfectly oiled machine. In Cincinnati, I can do as much in a single rehearsal as I can in two weeks with other orchestras. Everyone is prepared. Everyone brings with them their technical ability. But no-one asks questions, ever,« says Paavo Järvi.

With a German orchestra, on the other hand, you need longer. »You must work to achieve something. A process occurs, there are discussions, perhaps even differences of opinion. And that means you delve deeper into the music, into the meaning of what you’re playing. That’s what I love about my work in Germany. The question isn’t: how fast or how slow? How loud or how quiet? But why? What is behind the music?« And so it doesn’t matter to Paavo Järvi if every thing lasts just that little bit longer, if it allows you to go that much deeper. »That’s not laziness or a lack of preparation on the part of the musicians. What’s better than an orchestra that really wants to understand the music?«

And it’s precisely an orchestra like the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra that is used to asking questions and is used to getting involved. After all, Hugh Wolff was its chief conductor for the past nine years, ruling the orchestra with an open, an inviting hand. The much smaller Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, too, sees itself as a democratically organised ensemble. But for Paavo Järvi, real democracy is a chimera in the orchestral world. »How can there be democracy, when there’s someone standing at the front with a stick?« he asks.

For him, the most important task of a conductor is to have a point of view. »And that’s not democratic by nature. It’s personal. Music without a point of view is uninteresting, mediocre, at best, simply correct music-making.«

On issues such as power, authority and his own role, Paavo Järvi ponders a great deal. He searches for the right image. The orchestra isn’t an army, it's more a football team, whose players must put their trainer’s ideas into practice if they want to succeed. The players need to trust in their trainer’s abilities and in his ideas, even if those ideas are not immediately clear to everyone at the same time. Nevertheless, for Järvi it is both self-evident and irreversible that the Maestro of the past has had his day. »My generation of conductors very consciously seeks to avoid anything reminiscent of power or of the abuse of power. The conductor as despot, that’s a thing of the past.«

From that point of view, there is continuity for the orchestra of Hessen radio. Paavo Järvi is a receptive, stylistically open-minded orchestra chief, someone who’ll carry on the ideals of Hugh Wolff. The performance practice of the first Viennese school is a case in point. Valveless horns, vibrato-less strings. »An orchestra of the 21st century must simply be able to do that,« Järvi says.

(He’s just performed all the Beethoven symphonies with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with the exact number of players usual in Beethoven’s time. But Järvi doesn’t want to be dogmatic on such issues. His response is different for each of his very different orchestras.)

At the same time, the orchestra is going to move in a new direction, to a repertoire where the »sound« plays a very special role. Järvi believes that the Frankfurt Radio Symphony's sound potential is perfectly suited to the symphonies of Bruckner, which have hardly been played at all in Frankfurt over the past decade. Bruckner’s symphonies »combine beautifully that with which you associate the ›German sound‹ and a homogenous, powerful brass. It’s the perfect mix,« says Järvi. In the coming season, he’ll be performing a lot of Stravinsky with his new orchestra. And he’s very curious to see how the orchestra handles the brilliant, individual sound with its Russian sharpness. »Sound is not about how an orchestra plays, but how it hears and how it wants to hear,« he says.

Before they even knew that Järvi was going to be its chief conductor, a great many musicians, soloists and colleagues told him that the best-kept secret in the German orchestral scene was Frankfurt's Radio Symphony Orchestra. He liked that. It confirmed he had made the right decision. It felt good, it was the right starting point. But the bit about it being the »best-kept secret«: Järvi knows that could change very quickly. And he knows that the medium of radio with its ability of reaching larger audiences will play a substantial role in changing that, as will a prominent position on the CD market. Paavo Järvi likes to have a visible profile, too.

Finally, Paavo Järvi decides to accept the carte blanche invitation, to give a response without a question being asked, after all. Something is fermenting inside of him. But he takes his time. Ten, 15 seconds go by and still he doesn’t begin. He deliberates, struggles with how to put it into words. Then finally it comes: One question he is often asked is: why can he be the chief conductor of three orchestras at the same time? Is he a workaholic? In the past he’s always argued that it was primarily the differences of each orchestra, the different styles and the repertoires. But it’s not just that – if he weren't able to have three so fundamentally different orchestras, he’d just as readily take three more similar ones. The reason is that as a guest conductor you never get the same results as when you’re chief conductor.

Guests come for one week and then again three years later. Nothing substantial can develop. »But when I say ›good morning‹ to my orchestras in Bremen, Cincinnati and now Frankfurt, I know the names of all the musicians and they know me. They know exactly whether I’ve had a coffee or not. And we can start to make music straight away. There are no games to play, nobody feels they have to show off, test any limits. If something doesn’t work, I know immediately what the reason is, that perhaps this particular musician hasn’t had his coffee yet, or perhaps the problem lies elsewhere.«

Järvi is keen to stress that having three orchestras doesn’t mean there’s a lack of loyalty, a refusal to commit oneself one hundred percent. Quite the contrary: it’s about a personal bond with people he wants to work with. »I’d rather have three different families than 25 different one night stands,« he says. And adds – in case anyone gets the wrong end of the stick – that he means that strictly metaphorically.

Stand: 11.10.2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

RADIO BROADCAST: Cincinnati Symphony

A recording of the September 22 & 23, 2006 concert (Paavo Järvi, conductor; William Winstead, bassoon) will be broadcast via streaming audio on Sunday, December 17, at 7:30 pm over Classical WGUC, 90.9FM.

Duruflé: Three Dances, Op. 6
Mozart: Bassoon Concerto in B-flat Major, K. 191
Franck: Symphony in D Minor

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Paavo is scheduled to appear on a very well known German TV talkshow called 3 nach 9 this Friday, December 15 from 22.15 - 0.15 Uhr (10:15pm - 12:15am) on RB TV and NDR/RB. (See this page for audio and video clips of Paavo on the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.)

Hosts are Amelie Fried und Giovanni di Lorenzo. Other guests this week include author Stefanie Gercke; pop star Josh Groban; comedian Eckart von Hirschhausen; photographer Michael Poliza; moderator Frank Plasberg; horse whisperer Andrea Kutsch; and pop star Sasha. There will be live music performances by Sasha and Josh Groban.

Wish I had satellite so I could see this one. What an eclectic group!

Monday, December 11, 2006

From Frankfurt to Bremen

This week finds PJ in a more intimate music mode: re-joining his fabulous chamber orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen for four concerts this week in Bremen prior to a well-deserved break. Concerts this week are Wednesday, December 13; Thursday, December 14; Friday, December 15; and Saturday, December 16.

The program for all concerts: Beethoven's Symphony No. 3; Schoenberg's Ode an Napoleon (Fisher Diskau); R.Strauss's Metamorphosen.

A Weekend in Wiesbaden

Blogger Andrew of German joys attended Paavo's concert in Wiesbaden with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and gives us this mini-review:
I just visited friends in Wiesbaden, capital of the German state of Hessen. First order of business: a concert by the Hessischer Rundfunk Orchestra (G), conducted by Paavo Jaervi. Literally translated, the name of this orchestra would be the Symphony Orchestra of the Hessian State Broadcasting Service. The English version is much more user-friendly: the Frankfurt Symphony.

Deutsche Bahn brought me there too late to see Radu Lupu playing Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto, but I did catch a thrilling performance of Shostakovich's Seventh ('Leningrad') Symphony. Shostakovich isn't really my thing (a bit too bombastic and angst-ridden, not enough shimmering elegance). But Shostakovich done right can be exciting and terrifying, like a surprise air-raid.

The Frankfurt Symphony played its guts out -- everything was taut, crisp, and, when necessary, loud. This is Music Director Paavo Jaervi's first season, and, from what my musical friends say, the orchestra's excited by the new face at the podium.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

CONCERT REVIEW: Eine große Erzählung

Chefdirigent Paavo Järvi und sein hr-Sinfonieorchester.

Eine große Erzählung
Paavo Järvi und das hr-Orchester mit Schostakowitschs Siebter
Von Werner Fritsch, 10.12.2006

Kassel. Schostakowitschs siebte Sinfonie, die 1941 entstandene "Leningrader", ist eine große Menschheitserzählung, ein riesiges sinfonisches Gemälde. Darin ist die Not der Stadt Leningrad unter der deutschen Belagerung zu vernehmen, aber auch das Leid, das der Stalinismus über die Stadt brachte. Und am Ende, im lärmenden Siegeschoral, der das Werk beschließt, klingt neben dem Triumph der Befreiung auch eine utopische Hoffnung mit: dass das menschliche Leid insgesamt besiegt werden möge.

Paavo Järvi, der neue Chef des hr-Sinfonieorchesters, hat bei seinem ersten Gastauftritt (auf Einladung des Staatstheaters) in der gut gefüllten Kasseler Stadthalle mit seiner Siebten einen Markstein gesetzt. Mehr als eineinhalb Stunden ließ sich der 44-jährige estnische Stardirigent Zeit (andere brauchen bis zu einer Viertelstunde weniger), um die sinfonischen Weiten auszuschreiten.

Das Wunder dabei: Es gab nicht eine Sekunde klingenden Leerlaufs. Järvi schaffte es, die Sinfonie mit ihrer gewaltigen Architektur klar zu strukturieren und doch jedem Moment sein eigenes Gewicht zu geben. Das sinfonische Riesengemälde war bis ins Detail sorgfältig ausgemalt. Dazu ist Järvis Umgang mit Farben und Kontrasten schlichtweg virtuos.

Beispielhaft zeigte sich das im ersten Satz, in den ein zunächst ganz leises Trommelmotiv mit einer banalen Melodie einbricht. Diese werden (als wäre es der Bolero, von Mahler komponiert) in einer grandiosen Steigerung bis zum kriegerischen Inferno gesteigert. Die Passage wurde als "Invasion" berühmt.

Doch selten einmal ist diese Musik vom kaum hörbaren Pianissimo bis zum finalen Ausbruch in einer solch dynamischen Bandbreite, als derart packende Steigerung zu erleben. Die langen Passagen falscher Idylle und trauriger Verlorenheit vor allem im dritten Satz formt Järvi dagegen mit der Ruhe eines geduldigen Modellierers.

Dies alles ist nur möglich, weil er mit dem hr-Sinfonieorchesters einen hervorragenden Klangkörper mit insbesondere tollen Bläsern zur Verfügung hat. Dass die Blechbläser beim Finale noch ermüdungsfrei mit vollem, geformtem Fortissimo agieren konnten, verdient Bewunderung.

Eine perfekte Aufführung also? Als Einwand bleibt, dass Järvi vielleicht eine Spur zu kühl, zu routiniert wirkte. Das Gefühl, hier gehe es um alles, wollte sich nicht ganz einstellen. Dennoch: Der Jubel und die Standing Ovations waren hochverdient.

Und Radu Lupu, der große Pianist, der eingangs Beethovens fünftes Klavierkonzert spielte? Er erfüllte die (zu?) hohen Erwartungen nicht. Hätte Franz Schubert Klavierkonzerte geschrieben, dann wäre Lupu vermutlich sein bester Interpret. Feinste klangliche Differenzierungen im Mittelsatz des Emperor-Konzerts ließen die Klasse des 61-Jährigen ahnen. Doch in den Ecksätzen ließ er es an Kraft, rhythmischer Beständigkeit und technischer Klarheit fehlen.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

RADIO BROADCAST: Cincinnati Symphony

A recording of the September 15 & 16, 2006 concert (Paavo Järvi, conductor; Gil Shaham, violin) will be broadcast via streaming audio on Sunday, December 10, at 7:30 pm over Classical WGUC, 90.9FM.

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68

CONCERT REVIEW: Gewaltig braust das Orchester

Gewaltig braust das Orchester
Von Rudolf Jöckle
Frankfurter Neue Presse Online, 09.12.06

„Aufbruch zur Freiheit“ nannte der HR sein jüngstes Sinfoniekonzert unter Paavo Järvi mit Beethoven und Schostakowitsch.

Für Beethovens 5. Klavierkonzert ist solche Zuordnung zwar nicht kanonisiert, doch die Eigentümlichkeit der Komposition, ihr quasi utopischer Gegenentwurf in napoleonischer Besatzungszeit, können sie rechtfertigen. Solist war Radu Lupu, Rückkehrer beim HR nach zehn Jahren Pause. Der Mann des großen „Emperor“-Zugriffs ist er bei unbestritten virtuoser Kompetenz gewiss nicht. Er markiert nicht mit emphatischer Geste, sondern spielt mehr von innen heraus, doch nicht romantisch gebrochen, sondern mit einer ruhigen, bisweilen mit einer Art durchaus angenehm wirkender Beiläufigkeit. Paavo Järvi erweist sich dafür als großartiger Begleiter, der mit dem Orchester sicher die Positionen Lupus aufnimmt, sie gleichsam reflektiert, um sie zu vollenden – eine höchst sympathische Darstellung.

Schostakowitschs 7., die „Leningrader“ Sinfonie, steht eindeutig für den Weg vom Dunkel zum Licht, geschrieben unter dem Eindruck des deutschen Angriffs auf die Stadt mit einer Thematik, die in den Sätzen 1 bis 4 ursprünglich von „Invasion“ (oder auch „Krieg“) bis zum „Sieg“ reichte. Später machte der Komponist klar, dass solche Programmatik auch den blutrünstigen Stalin einschließen sollte. Ein großes, ja ausuferndes und somit „gefährliches“ Werk, das einen gewaltigen Apparat fordert. Paavo Järvi ist dafür der rechte Mann, wie er kürzlich bei Bruckners 7. schon bewies. Doch diesmal schien das bestechend intensive Orchester elastischer, auch in den betäubenden Ausbrüchen federnder und nicht zuletzt in den Stimmen der Bläser eindrucksvoll plastisch. So gelingt Järvi das Kunststück, (fast) immer die Spannung zu halten, was auch daran liegen dürfte, dass er nichts Hintergründiges aufspüren will, sondern Inhaltliches nimmt, wie es ist. Kräftige Bravos.

Friday, December 08, 2006

CD REVIEW: Britten/Elgar

By Tim Ashley
The [London] Guardian, December 8, 2006

4 out of 5 stars

On the surface, Paavo Jarvi's decision to place Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra alongside Elgar's Enigma Variations seems idiosyncratic. In some respects, however, the coupling makes perfect sense: so much has been made of the educational intentions of The Young Person's Guide that we need to be reminded, on occasion, that first and foremost it's a set of orchestral variations that almost rivals Elgar's both in quality and emotional range. Phenomenally played by the Cincinnati Symphony, it suits Jarvi's high-voltage style slightly better than the Enigma, though the latter is mercifully free from connotations of sentimentality and English triumphalism, with a particularly serene account of Nimrod and moments of acerbic wit as well as deep affection elsewhere. The two sets of variations flank an exceptionally fine performance of the Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes" - played, unusually, as a continuous whole, and inexorably tragic in their impact.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grammy Nominations Announced Today

Two honors for Paavo and the Cincinnati Symphony were among the list of nominations for the 2006 Grammy Awards, announced this morning.

Their CD, Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Four Sea Interludes, was nominated for Best Engineered Album, Classical: Michael Bishop, engineer [Telarc]; and it was also nominated for Producer Of The Year, Classical (Elaine Martone, producer) as part of her package of classical recordings.

Congratulations to all.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On Tour with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony

Paavo and his newest orchestra, Frankfurt, are on a mini-tour of Germany this week. Dates include Thursday, December 7 and Friday, December 8 at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt; Saturday, December 9 in Kassel; and Sunday, December 10 in Aschaffenburg.

The program for all dates: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Radu Lupu, piano) and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60, "Leningrad".

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New York Drops Off the List Of ‘Big Five' Orchestras

"The time is right for a radical realignment - and a revamped Big Five orchestras is in order, writes Fred Kirshnit." Wow. We always knew that Mr. Kirshnit really liked Paavo and the Cincinnati Symphony from his reviews of their NYC appearances, but to go from that to the quantum leap of being named as one of his proposed "Top 5" American Orchestras is a tremendous compliment to them. Of course, we who live in Cincinnati keep telling people that there's magic being made in Music Hall when they play. Quite clearly, there's a gentleman in Manhattan who thinks they are better than the New York Phil!

New York Drops Off the List Of ‘Big Five' Orchestras
By Fred Kirshnit
The New York Sun
December 5, 2006

Since the 1950s, the concept of the "Big Five" American orchestras has held sway and influenced ticket buyers to attend what are ostensibly the most reliably consistent performances. Here in New York, the grouping is especially significant: Each of these orchestras appears in town every year. The time is right for a radical realignment — and a revamped "Big Five" is in order.

Mariss Jansons accomplished miracles as an orchestra builder. The group was very good under William Steinberg in the 1950s and even survived the Lorin Maazel years, but Mr. Jansons, son of the Latvian conductor Arvid Jansons, brought with him a solid sense of discipline and an incredibly detailed approach to the maximizing of inner voices. Right now, it is the cleanest, crispest ensemble in America. The wind section alone is worth the price of admission. Tonight the Pittsburgh Symphony appears at Carnegie Hall, so you can judge for yourself.

But music director Mr. Jansons recently announced his intention to move back to Europe permanently, taking over not one, but two of the world's finest ensembles, and leaving Heinz Hall forever.

Now the powers that be have spent their money not on a new music director but rather on spin doctors. The new paradigm is for the orchestra to be led by Sir Andrew Davis, Yan Pascal Tortelier, and Marek Janowski. And apparently, the twain shall never meet. The plan is for each conductor to instill his own ethnicity into the mix and for the public to swoon with delight at the innovation. The board had better be prepared to authorize a lot of expensive rehearsal time.

Despite having been so good for so long, the Philadelphia Orchestra has quite recently lost its edge. After enjoying the heralded reigns of Stokowski, Ormandy, Muti and Sawallisch, all of whom preserved that patented "fabulous Philadelphians" sound, the players were extremely upset by management's decision, taken unilaterally and without consultation, to hire Christoph Eschenbach. That signature sound is now unraveling at the seams.

In 2004 at Carnegie Hall, Mr. Eschenbach milked the last movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 shamelessly — he had undoubtedly practiced each preening gesture in front of a mirror. The "I'll Be Seeing You" theme was drawn out into an almost unrecognizable length of pulled taffy: Even Liberace performed it less histrionically. He does look good up there — like Yul Brynner in "Once More With Feeling" — but, isn't it the sound that counts? Give me the dumpy Mr. Ormandy any day.

But there is hope: Mr. Eschenbach recently announced that he will not seek a contract extension after 2008.

The demographic of James Levine's hometown is largely Germanic and they are the proud boosters of the oldest symphony hall in America. A fine ensemble under Schippers, Gielen, and Lopez-Cobos, the orchestra has truly blossomed under the son of another world-class conductor. Paavo Jarvi has proven to be the finest of his generation, a sensitive and result-oriented maestro. Nurtured in a great tradition since birth but still independent enough to challenge it, Mr. Jarvi has made his mark decisively and with great panache. The orchestra has never sounded better and presents interesting and varied programming on a regular basis.

The finest orchestra in America in the 1960s, with the sainted George Szell on the podium, occupied Severance Hall. The group also had a pretty good assistant conductor named Jimmy Levine. It later survived Maestro Maazel's rather sloppy legacy and tightened up once again under the iron hand of Christoph von Dohnanyi. Everything seemed to be going its way, until its board made a decision that can only be described as screwy.

Austrian Franz Welser-Moest had a terrible reputation when chosen to take over. Crucified by the British press — they quickly dubbed him "Frankly Worst Than Most" — he was hunted down in London as relentlessly as Bill Sykes. His tenure at the head of their Philharmonic was not just stormy but deeply unsatisfying for audiences at the Royal Festival Hall.

In Cleveland, performances have been uniformly poor, unpopular with both patrons and critics alike. For four years now, Maestro has brought his charges to Carnegie and my critical reaction has been somewhat subdued as I have been forced to concentrate on physically controlling my impulses to shudder on a regular basis.

Nobody in this part of the world seems to know how good this ensemble really is, but this, I believe, is strictly a matter of East Coast superciliousness. Esa-Pekka Salonen is a dynamic, exciting presence, and a first-rate composer to boot. His ability to prod his forces into extraordinary bursts of color while still keeping proper balance allows the left coast Phil to dance on winds positively fairy-blown. The strings are lush but nimble, the woodwinds precise and poetic, the brass warm and accurate, the percussion bright and crisp. All are allowed to let loose in a rather elastic manner. Perhaps Mr. Salonen's secret is a palpable confidence that allows his players to breathe freely while still under his strict control. Whatever the formula, he has applied it exceptionally well. For 20th century music, this is the band of choice.

Not even the best orchestra on the plaza.

Limiting our discussion to the modern era, the local Phil has been deficient for a long time. A pedestrian string sound, a tendency to lose intonation as a piece drags along, an inconsistent trumpet section, and a sometimes frightful set of French horns are just background for an ensemble that often seems to have little investment in its own performances. Add to the ensemble's frustrating nonchalance a conductor in Lorin Maazel who simply cannot leave a piece alone and the net result is often blaring, leadfooted, and embarrassing. The worst part may be that, on certain evenings, they can still conjure a decent performance. At Avery Fisher, it often seems that attitude is more critical than aptitude.

No change in status, but the future is key. The annoyingly inconsistent reign of Daniel Barenboim is finally over. Who will shepherd this great group going forward? Rumor has it that the very talented Kent Nagano will leave troubled Montreal and settle on Michigan Avenue. Under steward Pierre Boulez, the group appears in town later this week.

In the late 1990s, Seiji Ozawa became the most infamous victim in Massachusetts since Sacco and Vanzetti. His troubles began with The Great Nutcracker War, when he took his orchestra to Asia in November and December 1996, leaving the city without a season of Christmas music performances. Then he dared to assert his leadership at the Tanglewood festival, replacing certain key personnel who were beloved by the press. The crushing blow came from New York critics, who wrote articles claiming the BSO had lost all professionalism and that its sound was devoid of proper intonation and balance. This avalanche of disrespect eventually led to Mr. Ozawa abandoning his lifelong artistic project and signing on with the Vienna State Opera, where, I am happy to report, everyone loves him.

Now James Levine is in charge and this should save the day. But some of his performances have been blowsy and imbalanced, as witness the recent sour Brahms First at Carnegie Hall.

Without question, Mr. Boulez is correct when he states, "Music is not the Olympics." Yet it is natural for critics and audience members to rank performing groups based on their overall abilities. With today's high ticket prices, don't we want to have some assurances that the concert will be worth it?

Paavo Järvi kuulsa Viini orkestri ees

Photo: Peeter Langovits

Paavo Järvi kuulsa Viini orkestri ees
05.12.2006 00:01
Kristel Kossar, muusikaajakirjanik
Postimees, 05.12.2006

Paavo Järvi on esimene Eesti dirigent, kes juhatanud kuulsaid Viini Filharmooni­kuid.

Järvi debüüt legendaarse, 1841. aastal asutatud orkestri ees leidis aset 29. novembril Pariisis Théatre des Champs-Elysées. Kavas olid Mozarti avamäng ooperile «Võluflööt», Haydni 104. sümfoonia ja Schuberti 9. sümfoonia. Lisapalaks mängiti Sibeli­use «Valse triste».

Järvi sõnul oli tal orkestriga hea kontakt ja esineda tuli puupüsti täis saalile – nõudlikkuse poolest tuntud Pariisi publik võttis eestlase debüüdi hästi vastu. «Orkester on hästi tõsine ja hoiab dirigendil silma peal. Nad teavad oma väärtust,» lisas Järvi.

Sama kavaga astusid Viini Filharmoonikud Paavo Järvi juhatusel üles ka 30. novembril Kölni Filharmoonia suures saalis.

Cincinnati sümfooniaorkestri, Bremeni kammerfilharmoonia ja Frankfurdi Raadio sümfooniaorkestri peadirigendina tegutsev Järvi ütles, et tunneb end Saksamaal päris koduselt. «Frankfurdi Raadio sümfooniaorkester mängib väga hästi ja me hakkame teineteist leidma,» rääkis dirigent.

Paavo Järvi on ka Eesti Riikliku Sümfooniaorkestri kunstiline nõustaja. Eesti publik saab teda laval näha juba 20. detsembril, kui ERSO juubelikontserdil kõlab Järvi taktikepi all Brahmsi muusika.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Paavo Järvi' s interview

Here is a recently found interview from September 2006, conducted by the Portuguese blogger Álvaro Sílvio Teixeira:
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Paavo Järvi' s interview

Álvaro Teixeira: Which 20th century (not contemporaries) composers are the more interesting for you? And the more important?

Paavo Järvi: There is Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Nielsen, Prokofiev, Sibelius. Obviously there are representatives from other countries, such as Debussy, and Ravel. One can name others that have made major contributions to the 20th century repertoire. No two are more influential, for me, than Debussy and Stravinsky. There are two kinds of composers, one who creates new language, and one who creates something new by using the already established vocabulary. Take for example, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler.

But it is the composer who is able to create a new language that brings the music forward in the most influential way. There is no question that composers such as Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Nielsen, Debussy, are pioneers in this respect.

AT: What you search for when you direct contemporary works?

PJ: I try keeping an open mind. In today's new music environment, one does not necessarily have to go in searching for one particular style or method of getting a message across. There is no limitation of how to express one's ideas and therefore it is a very good time for New Music. You can go from the traditional approach, to Schoenberg's approach, or one can start from minimalism. There are many varieties of possibilities in the middle, and mutations of these possibilities. Today the new music can start anywhere.

What's most important is to keep an open mind when one looks at the score.
What I am looking for ultimately is not how the work is put together, but rather what the work is able to communicate in the performance. In other words, I look for what is being communicated and how the work communicates with the listener. I am not interested in intellectual exercise just for the sake of it.

AT: Do you feel that it's a good thing to play the first part a classic or romantic work and in second part a contemporary piece, or the opposite?

PJ: It all depends on a piece and the environment you play the piece in. In general, the opening work is short so one can continue with standard repertoire, which to me is not always ideal. It often diminishes the first piece to an opening fanfare role. On the other hand, in most cities, there is major difficulty programming a completely new piece in the second half, unless there is a good enough reason to keep the audience interested in staying. The current notion is that there is no use putting a new work in the second half if means losing the audience. Again, it ultimately depends on the environment and the work itself.

AT: Some responsible people from festivals and music saisons think that people don't come to concerts if we give for they some contemporary music. It's true, it's just a idiotic idea, or can be true in some not developed countries?

PJ: There is some truth to all three that you suggest in your question. In many communities around the world it is difficult to program New Music because of audiences. This is certainly true in the US. In some cities in the US, it is absolutely mandatory to feature a new work, in other cities it is seen as too much of a risk which might translate into decreasing audiences. Ultimately, each city knows their audience and their own traditions. Each needs to be sensitive to the realities they face. Some older audiences fear the new music. Audiences in the 60s and 70s were so frightened of the New Music played at that time that they now distrust new music. We are, in essence, paying for our's parents sins ±. I notice that right now there is less fear associated with new music. Concert goers now are much more positive towards discovering new. Today the music that we play often gets better response than the standard repertoire because the audience can identify with it. The key is to keep programming New Music that the audience can connect with. In saying that, I don't mean we should program works that aren't difficult, but rather high quality music that challenges the audience.

AT: When you conduct the gesture precision it's the most important?

PJ: It's always important to be clear, but it is obviously not the most important thing about conducting, to be manually clear. The most important part is to be able to communicate through your movements, what the music should sound like. A display of virtuosity, for virtuosity's sake is meaningless.

AT: Before start work with orchestra, how many days you need to know a new orchestral piece?

PJ: It all depends on the piece. I always find that learning a piece, especially a completely new work, is just the beginning of the journey. No work can be completely understood before the first orchestra rehearsal; before the score comes to life for the first time, in real time. It is not unusual, even for exceptional composers to change many things in the score after or during the first rehearsal with orchestra. While studying the score is extremely important, it is only the beginning of a longer process.

AT: In your first lecture, alone, what you search?

PJ: I have, over the years, developed an established system of approaching a score. I always start every score with same exact step-by-step approach. It's something that I do with each score, new or old.

AT: It's a good idea to be at same time conductor and composer?

PJ: I think it is a very good idea. It is not absolutely necessary. But composers look at music in a different way than performers do. If the composer happens to take the art of conducting seriously then a conductor/composer combination can be a very powerful one. Conducting is an art and not a hobby. Many composers and soloist turned Conductors forget this. Often, great composers are weak conductors, and perhaps do more damage by conducting their own music than good. This was not the case, of course, with Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss and many other great composers and equally formidable conductors. For example Esa-Pekka Salonen is an excellent conductor and composer. So, if both art forms are treated equally, the combination can be powerful.

AT: Give us 10 contemporary pieces, that you find very interesting, and you think the world needs to know.

PJ: I can give you 200 pieces that people should hear and it still would be meaningless. It is not always helpful to create a gradation of music you should hear. We need to establish a culture that encourages people hear new music. From Northern Europe, I can name many composers whose music should be heard. They are Saariaho, Tüür, Sumera, Salonen, and Lindberg, to name but a few. A similar list could be put together practically from each European country and certainly from the US. I never look a list of top 10 contemporary composers and grade them. I am more (...) piece¡± oriented. If there is a piece that is exceptional, it needs to be heard. It does not necessarily mean that the composer who wrote it is automatically the best. It is important to take things piece-by-piece and see what each has to offer. Only history will tell how correct our judgments were. I don't want to contemplate a ranking because that would be completely pointless.

Un Américain à Paris (Nicholas Angelich)

Installé en France depuis plus de 20 ans, le pianiste Nicholas Angelich est considéré comme une des grandes figures de la nouvelle génération.

Un Américain à Paris
Par Richard Boisvert
Le Soleil, 01 décembre 2006

Avec Nicholas Angelich, la Société du Palais Montcalm fait découvrir au public québécois un musicien encore peu connu ici mais dont la carrière est déjà importante en Europe. Né aux États-Unis, installé en France depuis plus de 20 ans, le pianiste est considéré comme une des grandes figures de la nouvelle génération. Le Soleil l’a joint à Paris. Extraits.

Q: Nicholas Angelich, vous considérez-vous plutôt Français ou plutôt Américain ?

NA: Je suis Américain, je tiens à le dire. Je suis né à Cincinnati. Mes parents y habitent toujours. À 13 ans, je suis venu passer le concours d’entrée au Conservatoire. Ma mère m’accompagnait. Elle s’est occupée de moi pendant 10 ans puis elle est repartie. J’ai eu beaucoup de chance de l’avoir.

Q: Les critiques parlent abondamment de votre sonorité, de vos nuances, etc., mais beaucoup moins de la liberté que vous prenez avec le mouvement, de la perspective que vous conservez par rapport au tempo, choses qu’on sent pourtant très bien chez vous.

NA: Alexis Weissenberg m’a dit un jour que ce qui l’intéressait dans mon jeu, plus que les couleurs, c’était la sensation de l’espace et du temps. Je crois que l’interprétation est vivante. Le fait de jouer « tout droit » ne met pas forcément en valeur la structure. Maria Callas prenait de grandes libertés avec les phrases. En même temps, elle avait un sens de la perspective incroyable. C’est cette liberté qui m’intéresse.

Q: Pour votre récital, vous passerez des opus 12 et 18 du jeune Schumann aux opus 116 et 118 du vieux Brahms. C’est toute une trajectoire, n’est-ce pas ?

NA: Toute une trajectoire en effet. On est dans la folie schumanienne, avec ses fulgurances, puis dans le regard très intime et très lucide que pose Brahms sur bien des choses de la vie, avec ce sens de l’amertume et de la nostalgie. Ce sont des œuvres emblématiques. On y trouve une force et une grande folie créatrices.

Q: Ces œuvres de Brahms figureront-elles sur un prochain disque ?

NA: J’ai un disque de l’ensemble des derniers opus (116 à 119) qui sort en janvier chez Virgin Classics.

Q: À quand les deux concertos de Brahms ?

NA: Je vais les enregistrer avec (le chef) Paavo Järvi et l’orchestre de Francfort (Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt). On commencera par le premier, au mois de février.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

CD REVIEW: Britten/Elgar

CDs study fate, all-British work
By Edward Reichel
Deseret Morning News, December 3, 2006

PAAVO JARVI, CONDUCTOR, THE CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; Britten: "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," "Four Sea Interludes," Elgar: "Enigma Variations" (Telarc) *** 1/2

PAAVO JARVI has been the Cincinnati Symphony's music director for five years, and in that time he has compiled an impressive discography that shows his versatility as a conductor. His most recent CD for Telarc is an all-British album that features three popular works: Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and the "Four Sea Interludes" from his opera "Peter Grimes," and Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations." And each is given a dynamic performance that brings a freshness to this well-known music that is welcome.

No matter how often one has heard "The Young Person's Guide," one never seems to get tired of it. It is wonderfully orchestrated, and Henry Purcell's theme on which the work is based goes through an imaginative set of variations. Jarvi elicits a colorful and vibrant performance from the orchestra that captures the splashes of the ever changing sounds in the piece.

The "Four Sea Interludes" is perhaps Britten's best known work, at least in the United States. These are wonderfully descriptive and frequently poetic pieces in which the composer brilliantly captures the course of the opera's plot. And Jarvi gets a powerful performance from the orchestra that is at once compelling and bold.

Jarvi's reading of the "Enigma Variations" is solid. He brings variety to his interpretation through his carefully nuanced interpretation, and the Cincinnati Symphony plays with wonderful articulation and expression. This is certainly one of the better recordings of the variations found on the market today.

New Paavo Japan Post

Our new friend, Landlord, of Japan, earlier wrote of his pleasure in hearing Paavo conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Paris last week and mentioned that he had written about it on his blog (in Japanese). He now lets us know of his new blog post for PJ's Japanese fans which contains a section about the Paavo Project.

And please do take a tour of Landlord's Paris Christmas pictures if you, like I, wish you could be there as much as I do. These lovely photos need no translation!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Japan blogger checks in!

Landlord, writer of a blog in Japanese, left this very kind comment on Paavo Project today:

I heard this concert in Paris.
Excellent! Very impressed.

I've written my impression about it in my blog, but unfortunately in Japanese.

Anyway, the music which Paavo played with WPh wednesday has everything. All emotions of human being are expressed in very wide range. Genious!

By the way, there are some fun photographs of Christmas decorations in Paris on this blog, as well!

CD REVIEW: Britten/Elgar

From France:

Variations sur un thème de Purcell; Quatre interludes marins de Peter Grimes
Variations Enigma
Orchestre symphonique de Cincinnati, Paavo Järvi
Telarc- SACD 60660(SACD)
Référence: ce disque dans ce couplage


Voici en premier lieu un disque que l'on pourrait sous-titrer "L'essentiel de la musique anglaise" en matière symphonique (concertos exclus). Qui, en la matière, ne connaîtrait que ce disque pourrait très bien vivre avec ses "lacunes" et attendre un peu avant de découvrir ensuite les Planètes, la 1re Symphonie de Walton, la 5e de Vaughan Williams ou la 1re d'Elgar. Disque astucieux, donc.

En second lieu, il faut préciser que, malgré la notation, le disque n'est pas immédiatement perçu comme "parfait". On peut prendre les Quatre interludes marins et ergoter à l'infini, trouver des chefs à la direction plus polychrome, plus subtile, souple et aquatique. L'approche de Paavo Järvi ne joue pas sur le côté "marin" des choses, mais sur un dramatisme lapidaire et minéral, à l'image de cette falaise où se niche la maison de Grimes et d'où tombera l'apprenti. Cette vision inaccoutumée, cinglante et monolithique -pas "froide" mais qui ne cherche jamais à séduire- demande quelques écoutes pour se révéler véritablement.

Les deux autres partitions sont beaucoup plus évidemment référentielles. On retrouve le Paavo Järvi à la direction sans concessions mais scrutant en détail à la fois la dynamique des partitions et la richesse du registre grave. Par ce souci du détail, de la sculpture sonore et de la force il nous donne à mon sens les plus grandes Variations sur un thème de Purcell depuis Britten lui-même et Lorin Maazel. Si vous voulez vous en convaincre faites un petit test d'écoute du côté des plages 19 et 20.

Un tel esprit musical est pain béni dans les Variations Enigma, où l'absence d'épanchement (mais dans un geste exempt de toute raideur) fait irrésistiblement mouche. Paavo Järvi ne manque pas Nimrod, entre chien et loup, comme un à-plat gris, mais la chaude simplicité de sa 5e Variation (R.P.A) est encore plus irrésistible. Parfaitement au point d'équilibre, à mi-chemin entre un décorticage stérilisant et une extrapolation romantisante, Paavo Järvi nous donne les Enigma vers lesquelles j'ai envie de retourner (avec celles, subjectives, de Bernstein, qui sont sur une planète à part...)

Un dernier mot sur la technique: le 10 de technique ne sanctionne pas un SACD multicanal parfait. La puissance du signal confié aux "canaux annexes" est assez puissant et diffuse un peu l'impact de l'interprétation. J'ai pris un plaisir plus grand à l'écoute en SACD stéréo d'un impact, d'une richesse spectrale et d'un tranchant fabuleux.

--Christophe Huss

CONCERT REVIEW: Aufschäumend und mit Anmutung

Aufschäumend und mit Anmutung
Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger, 02.12.06

Ein „kleines Wiener“ ordert man gemeinhin in der Bäckerei. In der laufenden Spielzeit allerdings hat auch die Kölner Philharmonie ein „kleines Wiener“ im Angebot: Unter diesem Titel nämlich sind die beiden Gastspiele der Wiener Philharmoniker zu einem Miniatur-Abonnement zusammengefasst. Der erste Abend stand unter Leitung des estnischen Dirigenten Paavo Järvi, der mit den Konzerten in Paris und Köln zugleich seinen Einstand bei dem Eliteorchester gab. Wollte man nun, um im Bilde zu bleiben, an dieses Debüt die hohen Maßstäbe des Backhandwerks anlegen, so wäre festzustellen, dass es in der Krume mehr überzeugte als in der Kruste, im Klang mehr als in der Linie, in der weichen Verblendung der Farben mehr als im gestisch-rhythmischen Aufriss. Auf dem Programm standen Mozarts Ouvertüre zur „Zauberflöte“, die Sinfonie D-Dur Hob. I:104 von Joseph Haydn und Franz Schuberts „große“ C-Dur-Sinfonie. Alle drei Werke eröffnen mit einer langsamen Einleitung, in der Maestro und Musiker gemeinsam atmen und koordiniert empfinden müssen. Hier waren dem Orchester Järvis Willensäußerungen offenbar nicht deutlich genug: es gab Unschärfen und kleine Schlieren, zumal bei Mozart und Haydn.

Das erledigte sich freilich mit dem Übergang ins rasche Tempo gewissermaßen von selbst. Überhaupt griff Järvi wenig in den sinnfälligen Fortgang der Ereignisse ein. Es blieb durchgängig bei einem lockeren Fluss, bei sattem Strich, moderaten Tempi und einer weitgehend mittig eingestellten Dynamik. Wenn man bedenkt, zu welcher Schärfe der Klangrede ein Nikolaus Harnoncourt die Wiener anstacheln kann, dann stimmte der Rückfall in philharmonische Weichzeichnerei nicht unbedingt froh.

Allerdings muss man dem Esten zugute halten, dass manches, was er anzeigte und forderte, vom Orchester nur in Maßen umgesetzt wurde. Die gegentaktigen Betonungen des Seitenthemas im Schubert-Finale etwa konnte man sehen, aber nicht hören, ebenso die rhythmischen Finessen im Menuett der Haydn-Sinfonie. Da hatte es dann mitunter den Anschein, dass die Musiker im selbstbewussten Vertrauen auf eine große Tradition Detailentscheidungen gar nicht erst aus der Hand gaben.

Dieses Selbstbewusstsein ist ja in der Tat gut begründet. Das Spielniveau des Orchesters bleibt auch bei einem mit Verlaub - eher blassen Abend phänomenal. Schuberts C“-Dur-Sinfonie bot dazu reiche Anschauung. Wie sich im Andante con moto die Holzbläser zur Anmutung eines zarten Orgelregisters vereinten, wie im Finale die Streichertriolen vital aufschäumten, wie der Tutti-Klang noch in der äußersten Zurücknahme körperhaft und gesättigt blieb - das sind eben die Wiener, das kann man nirgends sonst so hören.

Diese Qualitäten indes auch für eine flexible und risikofreudige Interpretation zu nutzen, das behielt Järvi der elegischen Zugabe vor, Jean Sibelius' „Valse triste“.

Friday, December 01, 2006

CD REVIEW: Britten/Elgar

Fanfare Magazine
December 2006

BRITTEN The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes. ELGAR Enigma Variations • Paavo Järvi, cond; Cincinnati SO • TELARC 60660 (Hybrid Multichannel SACD: 66:18)

This is not only a useful collection of basic British big-orchestra material, it is a very well-performed and splendidly recorded program. Each work is a sequence of short items—variations, in two cases—yet Paavo Järvi holds them together ably; somehow he manages to keep the music from being episodic without slighting any of its color and variety.

Each variation in Britten’s Young Person’s Guide is nicely characterized, thanks as much to the individual musicians as to the conductor. Supporting lines receive as much care as the instrumental groups Britten spotlights in turn, resulting in a performance of unusual detail and richness. Järvi is sensitive to the music’s humor; nothing here is ever stuffy, and even the opening statement of the Purcell theme is grand as well as muscular, but not at all pompous.

In the Peter Grimes music, Järvi leans a bit on the dissonances in the subsidiary material to increase the music’s already pervasive unease. The concluding “Storm” could have been a bit more violent, especially at the end, but overall Järvi and his orchestra put across the music with the requisite drama. It’s a pity they didn’t also offer the Peter Grimes Passacaglia.

Edward Elgar was usually hapless when confronted with larger forms (the Cello Concerto is fine, but the Second Symphony and Violin Concerto are bloated corpses of Romanticism). His true métier was as a miniaturist, and so his Enigma Variations, a series of miniatures, not surprisingly stands as one of his finest extended works. Järvi begins darkly, but by the third variation, he’s as playful as the music requires; this performance does not have the sustained darkness of, say, Slatkin’s, but the serious moments do carry a fair amount of gravity. “Nimrod,” for example, begins very slowly and very quietly, builds nobly, and then the decrescendo from the climax is smooth and actually makes sense—it’s an easing off, not a dribbling away. Some other Enigma performances have greater depth overall (Bernstein, anyone?), but Järvi and his orchestra put the work across well.

In terms of recorded sound, the Cincinnati Symphony has been gaining presence (perhaps just getting closer to the microphones) over the course of its Telarc SACD releases. Here it offers a full, rich sound, the woodwinds clearly further back than the strings, but not seeming as distant as in some past recordings. Perhaps there’s less front-channel reverberation, too. All in all, this is a highly satisfactory release. --James Reel

CONCERT REVIEW: Wiener Philharmoniker, Paavo Järvi

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris • 29.11.06 à 20h
Wiener Philharmoniker, Paavo Järvi

Mozart : ouverture de Die Zauberflöte
Haydn : symphonie n°104 en ré majeur, “Londres”
Schubert : symphonie n°9 en ut majeur, “La Grande”

Par Laurent, 1 decembre 2006

Évidemment, l’avantage d’assister à un naufrage occasionnel, c’est qu’on ne peut qu’en apprécier davantage une expérience aussi envoûtante que le concert de ce soir.

Tout ce qui manquait hier était là : une qualité de son extraordinaire, des ensembles parfaits… mais surtout un sens profond du récit musical : un souffle qui traverse les œuvres de part en part, qui les unifie et les charpente en leur donnant du sens. Une vision.

C’est promis : je ne ferai plus jamais de commentaire réservé sur Haydn, dont la 104ème symphonie est apparue comme un monument d’élégance et d’équilibre.

Autre sommet, la 9ème de Schubert a impressionné par son souffle, son envergure… et par la capacité de l’orchestre à entretenir la tension (et l’attention) pendant près d’une heure. (J’écoutais récemment un live du New York Philharmonic dirigé par Bruno Walter à Carnegie Hall en 1946 : c’est du même calibre.)

En bis, la Valse Triste de Sibelius, dans laquelle les cordes m’ont laissé sans voix. Le pianissississimo du quatuor était à tomber.

Et Järvi ? C’est un chef extrêmement attachant, que je vois pour la quatrième fois cette année (après ça, ça et ça). J’étais idéalement placé pour l’observer… et je n’ai pas pu m’empêcher de penser qu’il suivait plus la musique qu’il ne la dirigeait. Un peu comme lorsque, enfant, je mettais de la musique à tue-tête et je jouais au chef d’orchestre dans l’intimité de ma chambre.

CONCERT REVIEW: Le plein bonheur viennois

Photo: Sheila Rock

Le plein bonheur viennois
Par Yannick Millon, 1 decembre 2006

C’est déjà Noël au Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Le temps d’un programme cent pour cent viennois, la battue incandescente de Paavo Järvi fait feu de tout bois dans des Mozart, Haydn et Schubert d’anthologie, génialement servis par la griffe inimitable des Wiener Philharmoniker. Deux heures d’un bonheur sans nuages.

Voilà ce qu’on peut qualifier de débuts réussis. Pour son premier concert à la tête de la plus prestigieuse phalange autrichienne, le fulgurant Paavo Järvi aura frappé un grand coup. Sur le papier, on pouvait légitimement s’interroger sur l’adéquation entre cette baguette volontaire et le classicisme viennois, surtout à la tête d’une formation aux sonorités aussi rondes et ductiles.

Il aura fallu au chef estonien moins des deux accords initiaux de l’ouverture de la Flûte enchantée pour mettre tout le monde d’accord. À Mozart, il apporte vigueur, sens de l’équilibre, et surtout un détaché impeccable, un bouillonnement intérieur qui ne souffrent aucune réserve. Et déjà on peut se pâmer devant les sonorités des Viennois : ces timbales en peau, cette harmonie digne d’un orchestre à l’ancienne, ce tapis de cordes lumineux et qui joue avec tout l’archet.

Vient ensuite la 104e symphonie de Haydn, où se confirme le petit quelque chose de George Szell entrevu dans Mozart, dans cette battue à la rythmique imperturbable, aux contours très nets, avec la même dimension pince-sans-rire qui fait mouche dans les touches d’esprit du compositeur, la même pointe d’ironie caustique mais aussi les mêmes attaques incisives. Sans dureté aucune, Järvi défend un Haydn motorique, à la pointe sèche, dont la mesure ne bronche pas.

Après l’entracte, les soi-disant longueurs de la Grande symphonie de Schubert filent comme le vent, au gré d’une direction tout de flamme, d’une rigueur ne sombrant jamais dans la raideur. La sonorité de rêve des cors viennois ouvre tout l’espace nécessaire au reste de l’orchestre dans le portique introductif, relayée par ce hautbois coloré, pincé et très timbré qu’on n’entend qu’au sein des Wiener. Mais le luxe suprême, ce sont ces cordes denses, charnues et profondes, soulevées par la fièvre de la battue, qui se donnent sans jamais s’économiser, terminant dans le Finale sur des do graves martelés bien à la corde et raclant admirablement.

Dans la mouvance toscaninienne

Pour reprendre un vieil antagonisme, on est ici dans le sillon des toscaniniens, certainement par des furtwängleriens, de par cette rectitude rythmique imperturbable, sans ralentis dans les transitions, cet Andante très dramatisé, mais aussi ce feu, cette tension continue dans les volets extrêmes. Quel plaisir de voir ainsi couplée l’énergie d’un interprète à poigne avec les caractéristiques habituelles des Wiener Philharmoniker, dans une interprétation engagée, presque militante, loin d’un confort charmeur en soi mais souvent synonyme de routine, de ronron inoffensif !

En bis, une Valse triste de Sibelius aux nuances infinitésimales et à l’emballement central frénétique confirme la réussite de cette rencontre au départ improbable, et sonne comme un petit cadeau de Noël supplémentaire dans une soirée déjà saluée par des cris d’enthousiasme à l’issue du programme officiel.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris
Le 29/11/2006