Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tüüri autoriplaat «Magma» kandideerib MIDEMi auhinnale

January 28, 2008
Here is a post about MIDEM in Estonian.
Lisa järjehoidja
Kolmapäeval toimuval maailma prominentseima muusikamessi MIDEM klassikalise muusika plaatide auhinnaõhtul on üheks preemia kandidaadiks Virgin Classics'i poolt eelmisel aastal välja antud Erkki-Sven Tüüri autoriplaat «Magma».
Tüüri loominguga plaat konkureerib koos Luciano Berio ja Krzysztof Penderecki autoriplaatidega kaasaegse muusika kategoorias. Plaadil esitavad Eesti ühe tuntuma nüüdismuusika helilooja teoseid Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester, Eesti Filharmoonia Kammerkoor, Eesti Rahvusmeeskoor ning löökpillimängija Evelyn Glennie, dirigent on Paavo Järvi.
Lisaks nimiloole, Tüüri 4. sümfooniale «Magma», on CDl teiste lugude hulgas ka näiteks Lennart Meri mälestuseks loodud teos «Igavik». Plaadi helirežissöör on Maido Maadik.
Plaat valiti eelmise aasta augustis BBC Music Magazine'i parimaks orkestrimuusika plaadiks ning ajakirja Gramophone oktoobrinumbris valiti «Magma» kümne väljapaistvama uue plaadi hulka.
MIDEM on suurim muusikute, fonogrammitootjate ning plaadifirmade konverents, millel Eesti muusikud, kollektiivid, plaaditootjad ning nende esindusorganisatsioonid osalevad juba mitmendat aastat oma väljapanekuga Ettevõtluse Arendamise Sihtasutuse ja Kultuuriministeeriumi toel.
Tänavune MIDEMi mess toimub 27.-31. jaanuarini Cannes'is Prantsusmaal.
Toimetas Eger Ninn

Midem Classical Awards: shortlist announced

January 23, 2008

The short list for the 2008 MIDEM Classical Awards has been announced. Voted on by an international jury drawn from magazines, radio stations and arts management companies, the MCA will be announced during the record industry’s annual trade fair in Cannes on Wednesday, January 30.
Gramophone and Gramophone China are both members of the jury: other members are Classic Radio (Finland), Crescendo (Belgium), Fono Forum (Germany), Gramofon (Hungary), IAMA (International/Austria), IMZ (Austria), Klassik.com (Germany), Le Monde de la Musique (France), MDR (Germany), Musica (Italy), Musik &Theater (Switzerland), ORF (Austria), Pizzicato (Luxembourg), Radio Classique (France) and Scherzo (Spain) The following discs have emerged as the top three per category following a lengthy voting process in which many 100s of discs were auditioned by the entire jury.


Berio Piano Music Lucchesini Avie
Penderecki Capriccio, De Natura Sonoris II, Piano Concerto I Piekutowska, Bilinska, The National Polish RSO, Katowice / Penderecki Dux
Tüür Magma Glennie, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra / P Järvi Virgin Classics

Guest Hardenberger Refreshes CSO Repertoire

By Mary Ellyn Hutton
January 26, 2008
There were three newcomers at the Cincinnati Symphony Friday night at Music Hall. Two were new to the repertoire, Arvo Pärt’s “Concerto Piccolo über B-A-C-H” and Eino Tamberg’s Trumpet Concerto, Op. 42, both CSO premieres. One was new to the CSO guest list, Swedish trumpet virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger in his CSO debut. Together they made for an extremely rewarding concert. “Familiar” work on the program, though hardly a staple, was Anton Bruckner’s unfinished Symphony No. 9, which received a deeply felt performance by music director Paavo Järvi and the CSO. Estonian born Pärt is increasingly familiar in the concert hall as well, largely for his hugely popular “mystical minimalist” works, but the “Concerto Piccolo über B-A-C-H” is not one of them. Just eight minutes long, the “Concerto Piccolo” began life in 1964 as “Collage sur B-A-C-H,” a charming and disarming work for strings, oboe, harpsichord and piano that juxtaposes baroque and modernist elements. Note the startling shift from placid tonality to dense tone clusters in the second movement. The three movements are patterned on baroque forms, the toccata, sarabande and ricercar. The Sarabande is a re-setting of the same movement from Bach’s English Suite No. 6 for harpsichord. The outer movements utilize Bach’s name as “spelled” in German notation (B-flat, A, C, B-natural). In 1994, Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi (father of Paavo) persuaded Pärt to rework it as a concerto for Hardenberger by adding a solo trumpet part. It is no accident then that the trumpet sounds a bit like an interloper, having to muscle or insinuate itself into the proceedings (it does get the lovely oboe theme in the Sarabande without a struggle). Hardenberger, acknowledged as the world’s reigning trumpet soloist, gave it a bright, energetic performance that sparkled to the last high D. Tamberg, who heads the composition department at Tallinn Conservatory in Tallinn, Estonia, has a large and distinguished body of work to his credit, including opera, ballet, theater and film music, symphonies, concertos, choral and chamber music. His 1972 Trumpet Concerto is widely performed and remains his most popular work. The trumpet is well served throughout, with brisk, pulse-quickening passages alternating with gentle lyricism. There is a good bit of drama, too, as in the furious, unexpected climax of the slow movement, which suggests an undisclosed subtext of some kind. Hardenberger made it sound easy, even in the perpetual motion finale, which suggested the final movement of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, with a dash of Gilbert and Sullivan, a beautiful melodic infusion and -- again surprisingly -- a peaceful ending. Called back repeatedly, Hardenberger turned to jazz -- a relatively recent acquisition, he said, in pre-concert remarks -- for his encore, a spell-binding, muted “My Funny Valentine.” Järvi, who can generate podium electricity with the best of them, poured something deeper into his Bruckner Nine following intermission. Call it soul, a striving for classical perfection or both, but the analogy frequently drawn between Bruckner's symphonies and cathedrals in sound really fit. Järvi allowed the music to unfold majestically without attempting to superimpose anything extra. The pacing felt natural and the composer’s typical block-like construction emerged clean-edged and neatly proportioned. The brass choir, fortified by four Wagner tubas (in the Adagio), was aligned across the back of the stage sending a glorious sound into the hall. However, dynamics were never pushed. The Scherzo contrasted pounding energy and sparkling congeniality (the Trio section). The Adagio, the last movement completed by Bruckner, was suffused with valedictory meaning from the opening bars which soared upward in a “Dresden Amen” (Wagner, “Parsifal”) to the special color of the Wagner tubas. Järvi saved some of the choicest color for the woodwinds, however, as in the flute’s soft echo of the opening theme in contrary motion against the strings. The closing bars of resignation, with soft arpeggios in the violins, were achingly beautiful, the crowd remaining absolutely still for some seconds before the applause began.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Paavo Artlinks Tribute Dinner

January 27, 2008
The Cincinnati Enquirer
At Art Links' seventh annual tribute dinner, "Bravo, Paavo!" at downtown's Phoenix, 170 were on hand to honor Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's musical director, Paavo Järvi.
He was recognized for his shared interest with Art Links, a provider of arts education programs to disadvantaged
schools, low-income children and people with disabilities.
The event raised $25,000 to benefit Art Links programs, such as Adopt-a-School, Art Bus, Yo! Art! and Art Ability, which impact more than 55,000 students each year.

CD REVIEW: Prokofiev Symphony No 5, Lt. Kije Suite

January 26, 2008

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 Op. 100 in B-flat Major; Lt. Kijé Suite Op. 60 - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi - Telarc
One of the best 20th century symphonies, according to Järvi

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 Op. 100 in B-flat Major; Lt. Kijé Suite Op. 60 - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi - Telarc Multichannel SACD-60683, 64:25 ****:

One of Prokofiev’s most popular works and one conductor Jarvi considers one of the best symphonies of the 20th century is the major work on the 13th recording for Telarc he has made with the Cincinnati Symphony. The symphony comes from the wartime period in Russia and shares both that and its number with Shostakovich’s Fifth, but the two are quite different. Both composers were trying to placate the Soviet cultural authorities who had slapped their hands for failure to create accessible music that glorified the socialist cause. Shostakovich buckled under with a bombastic although stirring symphony which is definitely not his best. Prokofiev created a brilliant and unique symphony which is accessible but full of irony and sarcasm as well as stirring and triumphant themes that made it perfect for its l945 premiere when Russia’s army had just become victorious over Germany. Some of the ingenious use of percussion and snapping rhythms in the second movement Scherzo may surprise some listeners that they never raised Stalin’s ample eyebrows. I’m not sure if it’s due to Jarvi’s treatment or the terrific clarity of the hi-res surround sound here, but this movement sounds more subversive to me than I’ve ever heard it performed - and that includes Leonard Bernstein’s discing, which you would expect to stress that aspect. (I played bass drum in college in this work and it’s remained one of my favorite symphonies.)There are many different recordings of the symphony, including several featuring Russian orchestra and conductors, a fine one by Rostropovich, and even Karajan recorded the work. But there are only two others on SACD. Gary Lemco reviewed the Audite disc not long ago. Prokofiev calls for a huge orchestra with an expanded percussion section, which makes the symphony perfect for surround presentation. There are even more recordings of the Lt. Kijé Suite, which began life as soundtrack music for a film about a fictitious soldier, but the Cincinnati players keep up the high standards established with the symphony. And it’s five short movements make a fine companion to the Symphony. - John Sunier

Saturday, January 26, 2008

CONCERT REVIEW: CSO takes spiritual journey

January 26, 2008
The Cincinnati Enqierer
By Janelle Gelfand

Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor lies somewhere between heaven and earth, with pure and simple moments that contrast against great cathedrals of sound.
On Friday, Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra explored Bruckner's Ninth for the first time together. It was an hour-long journey that couldn't be hurried, a climb up Mount Everest that, in the end, took you to an unexpectedly spiritual place.
Bruckner's most transcendent symphony was unfinished at his death, and may have been his own farewell to life. A deeply religious man, the composer was not searching for meaning but expressing his faith. It exudes a kind of mystical radiance.
Hearing the sonic splendor of the expanded brass choir in Music Hall's acoustical space seemed to emphasize the grandeur of this music. There was the ringing chord at the end of the first movement, , and the extraordinary timbre of the four Wagnerian tubas that colored the finale.
The journey traveled seamlessly through towering summits and sunny, Austrian valleys.
The string sound was plush and the brass choirs were immaculate and beautifully shaped. Softer moments had a sweetness and poignancy; massive buildups had shattering power.
Järvi allowed his soloists freedom of expression, yet one always felt a sense of architecture. The third movement was a glowing summation, unhurried and warmly played.
A brass-lover's evening, the first half was devoted to the sound of the trumpet. Swedish virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger, a professor at the Malmo Conservatory, was soloist in works by Arvo Part and Eino Tamberg.
Part wrote his "Little Concerto on B-A-C-H" for Hardenberger by adding a trumpet line to his atonal canvas, "Collage on B-A-C-H" of 1964. In the second movement, Hardenberger's sound on the piccolo trumpet was striking in the quotation of a Bach Sarabande, which was answered in the orchestra by slow-moving tone clusters.
Tamberg's Concerto was a vibrant showpiece for the trumpeter's superb control, tonal color and stunning phrasing. The finale was a staccato perpetual motion, played with relentless bursts of energy.
The concert repeats at 8 p.m. today in Music Hall. Tickets: 513-381-3300,

Friday, January 25, 2008

CSO trumpets great Swedish player

January 25, 2008
The Cincinnati Enquirer

By Janelle Gelfand

One of the great trumpeters of the world, Hakan Hardenberger, takes center stage with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. today and Saturday in Music Hall.
The Swedish virtuoso performs two dazzling pieces for trumpet by Arvo Part and Eino Tamberg. Paavo Järvi conducts Bruckner's monumental Symphony No. 9.
Today is College Nite (your $10 ticket includes a post-concert party). And on Saturday, CSOEncore! young professionals hold a wine-tasting (call 513-744-3356 or e-mail

Paavo to make guest appearance Saturday at CCM

January 25, 2008

CSO music director Paavo Jarvi will be at CCM tomorrow for a two-hour masterclass, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with conducting students. He'll be working with the CCM Philharmonia (directed by Mark Gibson)on Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in Patricia Corbett Theater on the UC campus.The event is free and open to the public.
Visit ccm.uc.edu for more info.
by Janelle Gelfand

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cincinnati Gentlemen

Cincinnati Gentlemen magazine hits the news stands!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beethoven par Paavo Järvi, le choc dont on ne se remet pas

Here is another brilliant review!
20 janvier 2008
par Bertrand Balmitgere

Encore un nouveau cycle des symphonies de Beethoven direz-vous ! C’est vrai qu’ils sont légions ces dernières années, avec plus ou moins de succès. On peut citer Abbado par deux fois (DG et Euroarts en DVD), Rattle (Emi), Norrington (Hänssler), Vanska (Bis), Pletnev (DG), Drahos (Naxos), Haitink (LSO live), Skrowaczewski (Oehms), la liste serait encore bien longue. Car depuis que la nouvelle édition Barenreiter de ces œuvres par Jonathan Del Mar a vu le jour, tout le monde à cherché à innover, le premier fut, à grand renfort de publicité à ce sujet David Zinman (Arte Nova), non sans une certaine réussite.

Alors que pouvait-on espérer d’un nouveau cycle par Järvi? Et bien qu’il nous surprenne tous ! Qu’il nous prouve que même dans ces symphonies archi-connues, on peut encore et toujours aller plus loin, s’émerveiller de couleurs, de détails jusque là jamais vus et entendus. C’est en cela que Järvi se montre novateur, pour ne pas dire précurseur. Tout semble avoir été savamment calculé, Järvi a une ligne directrice et il s’y tient.

Le premier coup de génie tient dans le choix de l’orchestre, une formation à effectif réduit, la Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie de Brême. Réduit dans les effectifs, tout au plus une quarantaine de musicien, mais pas dans le talent ni dans la sonorité. Pour avoir assisté au cycle complet lors du festival de Strasbourg en juin 2007, cette formation a un son assez surprenant. C’est tendu, puissant, mais pas sans nuances, bref idéal pour de telles symphonies, surtout pour l’optique dans laquelle les place Järvi.

Le chef a pour lui la jeunesse, un œil neuf, mais surtout beaucoup de suite dans les idées. Sa démarche est plus que claire, donner un Beethoven, léger, vif, limpide, puissant, et en un mot fulgurant, tout cela sans omettre de conserver l’esprit des œuvres, et là est la prouesse. Trop de chefs ont cherché à « dégraisser » les symphonies de Beethoven, pour au final en faire du Mozart voir du Haydn bis. A quoi bon ? Autant à ce compte là en rester à Karajan ou Furtwängler. Non Järvi est le premier à avoir réussi la parfaite synthèse entre la filiation Mozartienne et l’avant-gardisme romantique de Beethoven. De Mozart il a donc la grâce, la beauté et la légèreté, et du romantisme, la fougue, parfois la fureur et cette force inébranlable de la musique. Des deux enregistrements récemment parus, celui de l’Eroica, couplé avec la huitième, en est le plus parfait exemple. Quel torrent de lave que le premier mouvement de l’héroïque ! C’est un flux torride que rien ne saurait arrêter, irrésistible. Nous ne sommes pas prêt d’oublier notre première audition de ce disque, une vraie révélation. L’impression de redécouvrir cette œuvre. Une fois que le voyage commence le reste de la symphonie semble trop court, tellement on aimerait en profiter plus. Dieu merci, la huitième symphonie est là pour prolonger le plaisir. Et quel plaisir ! Car le miracle est permanent, il se prolonge au-delà de la seule troisième. On est bercé tantôt dans Haydn, tantôt dans le Beethoven qui annonce déjà la symphonie chorale. L’esprit de l’œuvre est là, honnêtement nous ne connaissons pas de huitième plus aboutie que celle-ci, hormis celle de Karajan datée de 1977, dans son légendaire cycle. On pourrait en dire tout autant pour l’héroïque d’ailleurs.

Pour ce qui est des symphonies du deuxième enregistrement, comprenant les n°4 et7, ne nous répétons pas, car les qualificatifs seraient les mêmes que pour le premier disque. Järvi réédite l’exploit, démontrant que son propos peut s’adapter à des œuvres plus dramatiques comme la septième, ce qui augure de très bonnes choses pour la suite du cycle qui s’annonce déjà. Pour conclure, nous nous garderons bien de noter, de juger ou pire de jouer au jeu des comparaison plus longtemps car en tant qu’amoureux de la musique de Beethoven comme vous en somme, nous nous contenterons de laisser parler notre cœur ici, et celui-ci dit que Järvi est ce que s’est fait de plus enthousiasmant dans Beethoven depuis le cycle d’Abbado avec les Berliner Philharmoniker à Rome (Euroarts). Pour avoir parlé et sympathisé avec Paavo Järvi, lors de ses concerts strasbourgeois, il a très clairement exprimé ce souhait de libérer Beethoven du poids de la tradition qui l’a parfois rendus trop lourd, trop pesant. Järvi lui a donc rendus ses ailes.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827), Symphonies n°3 en Mi bémol majeur Op.55 « Eroica » et n°8 en Fa majeur Op.93 ; Symphonies n°4 en Si bémol majeur Op.60 et n°7 en La majeur Op.92
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Järvi, direction
2 SACD RCA 82876 845182 et 88697 156202, enregistrement en studio à Berlin 2004-2006.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CONCERT REVIEW: CSO: Brilliant “Pictures"

January 18, 2008

The Cincinnati Enquirer

By Janelle Gelfand

If you do nothing else this season, go hear the
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra play Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in Music Hall.
It’s in the classical top 40. But the performance led by Paavo Järvi on Thursday in Music Hall stands out for its electrifying contrasts and sheer spontaneity, from the edgy gnome of “Gnomus” to “The Great Gate of Kiev,” ablaze with gongs and chimes. “Pictures at an Exhibition,” orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, capped a program of mostly Ravel. A crowd-pleaser from start to finish, the program opened with Ravel’s charming “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” and included the Concerto for Left Hand with French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

Video: Thibaudet discusses tackling Ravel's Piano Concerto for Left Hand
Mussorgsky’s “Pictures” began life as a piano suite, inspired by the art of Victor Hartmann, a friend of the composer. The work depicts a stroll through a gallery, and each piece is a miniature tone picture. With help from Ravel’s brilliant orchestration, Järvi illuminated the details of each “picture” in living color. The opening “Promenade” bristled with energy; “The Old Castle” had a mystical flavor, as the haunting sound of James Bunte’s saxophone died away after the orchestral cutoff.It was a performance of exhilarating contrasts and sharp characterizations, and the orchestra performed it superbly. “Tuileries” was mercurial and light; “Catacombs,” with its spacious brass choirs, had an atmosphere of depth, power and sinister imagery. I’ve never heard such a hair-raising Baba Yaga, the witch of Russian folklore in “The Little Hut on Chicken’s Legs.” Järvi’s pacing led naturally to the majestic “The Great Gate of Kiev,” with full-blooded, brilliant brass and great intensity in the strings.The evening’s piano soloist offered brilliance of a different kind. Ravel composed his Concerto in D Major for Left Hand for Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in World War I. In one long expanse, it is an endurance test of the pianist, who is put through feats of keyboard-spanning trials, while playing melody and accompaniment with one hand alone.Thibaudet is a pianist of immense finesse and glittering, effortless technique. His control of color and melodic line while navigating knuckle-breaking cascades was indeed impressive, although at times his sound grew steely and he had a tendency to push the tempo. Nevertheless, it was a tour-de-force. It was in the lyrical passages where we had a taste of his truly beautiful touch and sound that is so uniquely French. Järvi opened the program with an irresistible performance of Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin.” Again written first for piano, it is a suite of miniatures. Its modal harmonies and old dance forms give it an antique air. In contrast to the brilliance that came later, this was all about subtlety and lightness. The Prelude was scintillating and clean, like a fleeting moment of sun captured in an instant. The Menuet had a nostalgic air, and the Rigaudon began briskly, with gestures played in broad flourishes. Principal oboist Dwight Parry phrased his solos memorably.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tribute to Paavo!

Paavo is being honored! Art Links Tribute Dinner at the Phoenix, Cincinnati.

January 18, 2008 6.30pm

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Critic's Prize

Another article in German...
November 14, 2007
Wie gut sind sie, die Jahrespreisträger 2007 der "deutschen Schallplattenkritik"?
Die Preisträger der "deutschen Schallplattenkritik"
Paavo Järvi dirigiert Beethoven
Alljährlich vergibt der renommierte "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik" Preise für herausragende CD-Projekte in zehn Kategorien. Aus den Bestenlisten, die vierteljährlich ermittelt werden und 27 Kategorien umfasst (von Orchester- bis Rockmusik, Oper bis Folklore), werden im Herbst jedes Jahres die zehn Jahrespreisträger ermittelt und Ehrenurkunden für Künstler, "die sich durch ihre Arbeit um die Schallplatte herausragend Verdient gemacht haben". Eine solche Ehrenurkunde wurde heuer dem Hilliard Ensemble vergeben.Der Jahrespreis in der Kategorie "Symphonik und Orchestermusik" geht 2007 an die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie unter der Leitung von Paavo Järvi für die Aufnahme von Beethovens Dritter ("Eroica") und Achter Symphonie - weiß Gott keine Raritäten am Plattenhimmel. Doch auch der perfektionsverwöhnte Klassikfan gerät hier ins Staunen. Paavo Järvi und die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie zaubern aus einem hunderttausendmal aufgenommenen Werk ganz neue, überraschende Klänge.
Joghurt statt ObersUngeheuer präzise, ohne eine Spur Verbissenheit - im Gegenteil: mit einer so erstaunlichen Leichtigkeit und Transparenz, dass man das Gefühl hat (man verzeihe mir den Vergleich), eine Joghurttorte mit Früchten statt der gewohnten Oberstorte mit Schoko zu verzehren.So wie Beethoven nach unzähligen großartigen Symphonien der sogenannten "Klassik" (C. Ph. E. Bach, J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart und andere) es fertig bringt mit der "Eroica" 1804/5 noch ein neues Kapitel im Genre der klassischen Symphonie aufzuschlagen, so zaubern auch Paavo Järvi und die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie aus einem hunderttausendmal aufgenommenen Werk doch wieder ganz neue, überraschende Klänge.Präzision und LeichtigkeitSchon die Anfangsakkorde des ersten Satzes mit dem folgenden Thema und den gegen den Takt komponierten Akzenten lassen Präzision und Leichtigkeit erkennen (erster Teil unseres Audios). Die Wiener Philharmoniker wirken gegen dieses "schlanke", kleiner besetzte Ensemble wie ein schwerfälliger Koloss (zweiter Teil unseres Audios).Die Aufnahme der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie ist nicht die erste, die transparent und äußerst akzentuiert Beethovens "Eroica" musiziert. Aber dass ein Akzent deutlich und kräftig sein kann, ohne dabei auch nur ein bisschen schwer zu klingen - wie ist das möglich? - So! (Hören Sie den dritten Teil unseres Audios.)
Text: Hans Georg Nicklaus
CD-Tipps Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Järvi, Beethoven-Symphonien Nr. 3 und 8, RCA Red Seal/Sony BMG
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Paavo Järvi


CD REVIEW: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique"

October 23, 2007
Nice update on Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" symphony,
By Paul Allaer at

Paavo Jarvi became the Cincinnati Symphony's Music Director in September, 2001, and since then the CSO has released 2 albums a year, pretty much like clockwork (one in the Spring, one on the Fall). This is the 12th album since then. On this album (67 min.), the CSO and Maestro Paavo Jarvi release an all-Tchaikovsky album. First up is the "Romeo and Juliet" Ouverture, a 20 min. musical journey that is as rich and warm as anything that the CSO has released, and a great "appetizer" for what follows, namely Tchaikovsly's Symphony No. 6 {"Pathetique"), one of my all-time favorite symphonies (more on that later). Paavo Jarvi brings out the very best in his orchestra on this one, check out for example the waltz-like second movement, which is richly layered and just breathes out on you. Separate from the music, the album comes with excellent liner notes (I won't spoil the surprise, but the empetus behind Tchaikovsky's composing "Romeo and Juliet" makes for very interesting reading...). As mentioned, "Pathetique" is one of my favorite symphonies. In fact, I had it already in my collection, a 1987 recording by the Cleveland Ochestra conducted by Christoph Von Dohnanyi. I played this version after listening to the new Cincinnati Symphony recording, and I couldn't help thinking how much clearer and warmer this new CD sounds as comparted to the 1987 recording. I am not necessarily suggesting that the CSO's version is that much better, but a 20 year difference in recording technology makes it obvious to me that the new CSO recording is the one to have, given a choice. Paavo Jarvi continues to take the CSO to new heights and this latest CD is just another example and confirmation of it. Highly recommended

Paavo Järvi: Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik

November 17, 2007

By Tobias Fischer
Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie have secured one of the awards at the prestigous annual German Critics' Prize “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”. Compared to the Echo, which traditionally draws a larger crowd but also heavy criticsm for its close relationship with the big record companies, the competition has a much more indendent ring to it and has been known to value musical quality higher than sales figures. Paavo Järvi snatched up the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” for his recordings of Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 3 and 8 for RCA Red Seal. “Out of the abundance of Beethoven symphony recordings, this SACD production clearly stands out as a prelude to a new complete works.”, the jury stated in its judgement, “This recording is both original and rousing in its transparency and its luminous impact, in its chamber-musical sophistication and its balance of analysis and emotion.” The award comes as a special treat for this site as well, as tokafi team member Dirk Fischer was part of the production as recording engineer.
A total of ten records have been selected from the flood of CDs on the German market and will be distinguished in a ceremony on November 17th at the museum of music instruments in Berlin. Next to Paavo Järvi, labels like ECM, composers like Luciano Berio and artists like Lars Vogt are among the laureats for the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”. The journalists were especially charmed by the decidedly modern touch of the album, which both embraces a contemporary sound and a historically-minded approach: “For the way that The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen plays under its conductor Paavo Järvi sounds historically-accurate and modern in equal measure: thrilling, trim, vivacious.” And: “The tempi, based on Beethoven's original metronome guidelines, also lend this production some additional authenticity.””For Paavo Järvi, the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” comes as yet another sign of recognition in 2007, as he also announced on his blog that he had been chosen as this year’s recipient for the “Cincinnati MacDowell Medal” for those "whose cultural contributions to the arts in the Cincinnati area are deemed most significant."

Homepage: Paavo JärviHomepage: Sony BMG Masterworks

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CD REVIEW: Britten and Elgar

November 9, 2007

Benjamin Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34; Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op. 33a. Sir Edward Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 (“Enigma”). Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, conductor. SACD-60660 (2006).
Every audio reviewer should have a Young Person’s Guide recommendation, and this is mine. It is gorgeously played by an orchestra that has risen to world class over the last few years, and the sound has great impact and presence if you really crank the volume control (otherwise the orchestra sounds a little distant). The Sea Interludes are basically high-class movie music, expertly orchestrated and flawlessly
played here. (No, La Mer they are not.) The Enigma variations are every conductor’s cup of tea, brewed to taste, and Järvi’s taste is very good. He opts for a cool, objective approach, with very elegant phrasing. It works. Watch Paavo Järvi; I think he has already passed his dad and is on his way to superstar status.

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 3 & 8

November 9, 2007

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (“Eroica”), Op. 55; Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op.93. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Järvi, conductor. 88697 00655 2 (recorded 2004 and 2005, released 2006).
I would never have imagined that I could get excited over any new Beethoven symphony recording at this point (unless conducted by the resurrected ghost of Arturo Toscanini and recorded by the resurrected ghost of Lew Layton). I was wrong. This is a unique disc. The Bremen chamber orchestra, consisting of 36 to 40 players, is a supervirtuoso group, more in the sense of an amazing string quartet than that of a large symphony orchestra. Their playing is totally transparent, meticulously inflected, very crisply accented, precise to the nth degree, and blazing with primary colors. It’s like the gutsiest period practice without period instruments. You have the impression that you are hearing the music the way Beethoven originally imagined it, since it would have been anachronistic for him to imagine it played by a 105-piece modern orchestra and unrealistic to expect a contemporary live performance this good. Paavo Järvi brings out tiny details in the score that I was unaware of before. It’s a welcome change from the tief Germanic interpretations of Furtwängler or Klemperer. Check it out; you’ll love it. The recorded sound is as vivid as the playing, a perfect match.

CONCERT REVIEW: CSO program sensitive, colorful

January 14, 2008

The Cincinnati Enquirer

He’s made his reputation in the big, blockbuster Russian repertory. But pianist Alexander Toradze’s sensitive side should never be underestimated, as he proved in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sunday afternoon in Music Hall.
Toradze’s spectacular performance of this under-appreciated concerto rounded out Paavo Järvi’s colorful – and perhaps unexpectedly engaging – program that included Mussorgsky’s popular tone picture, “Night on Bald Mountain.” The tongue-in-cheek Shostakovich made a thoughtful prelude to the orchestra’s first performance of Carl Nielsen’s quirky Symphony No. 2, “The Four Temperaments,” which concluded the afternoon.
Shostakovich wrote his Concerto No. 2 for his 19-year-old son, Maxim, in 1957. Its lighthearted character mirrors a happier time in the post-Stalin era for the composer, and the exquisite slow movement might easily have found a home in one of his film scores.
At the piano, Toradze’s bear-like figure and cherubic face belied his formidable technique, superb communication and explosive style. He plunged into the opening allegro with a pointed attack, and his wit and sudden shifts of mood were matched note-for-note by Järvi’s orchestra.
He poured his soul and his immense technique into the first movement, with its fistfuls of pianistic tests that are meant to mimic student etudes. But this was no technical exercise; the pianist summoned gorgeous color in the slow movement, accompanied only by muted strings, in one of the most hauntingly beautiful moments I’ve ever heard for piano and orchestra. The finale was a galloping rondo, and the pianist leaped off his bench at the cut-off.“Night on Bald Mountain” (arranged by Rimsky-Korsakov), which opened the program, was brilliantly, if not altogether cleanly played. The conductor swept up his players in the imagery of a witches’ Sabbath with a combination of ecstasy and fury, emphasizing the trombones and basses. After intermission, Mussorgsky’s “Dawn over the Moskva River” (from his opera, “Khovanshchina”), was music that magically evoked the dawn on Red Square in Moscow, with horns and timpani beautifully creating the great bells of the Kremlin. (Both will be recorded in a Mussorgsky album for Telarc.)If there was a connecting thread to Nielsen’s Second, it was that this music was also inspired by imagery. The Second has all the power and majesty of a Nielsen symphony, but it is also somewhat odd and unpredictable. Nielsen’s four movements represent “The Four Temperaments” as seen in a picture: The choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine. Järvi made an excellent case for the music, painting a powerful portrait in the opening “Allegro collerico.” It was all angles and jerky rhythms, with the unsettled feeling of a character who is driven. Perhaps the most appealing was the melancholy third movement, which showcased orchestral wind soloists, and included an expansive theme in the horns. Järvi led vigorously and with enormous detail, coaxing intensity from the strings, and the musicians responded with superb playing.

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is soloist with the CSO, Thursday through Saturday in Music Hall. 513-381-3300, http://www.cincinnatisymphony.org/.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Broadcast on Radio Classique

January 14, 2007, 21h www.radioclassique.fr

Sibelius et Chostakovitch par Paavo Järvi et Lisa Batiashvili
Lundi 14 janvier à 21h. Concerto pour violon de Sibelius avec la violoniste Lisa Batiashvili, Symphonie n°7 "Leningrad" de Chostakovitch sous la direction de Paavo Järvi et l'Orchestre de Paris.
Composée en 1941 par Chostakovitch en pleine invasion de Saint-Petersbourg par l'armée nazie, la célèbre Symphonie n°7 dite "Leningrad" a fait le tour du monde en passant pour le plus puissant symbole de la résistance avec sa fameuse "mélodie de la victoire". On l'entend ce soir après le Concerto pour violon de Sibelius, dans l'interprétation très remarquée de la violoniste géorgienne Lisa Batiashvili qui a donné lieu à un Choc du "Monde de la Musique" du mois de décembre dernier.

Friday, January 11, 2008

CSO chief retiring in June

Steven Monder.
A wonderful colleague and a great friend.
January 10, 2007

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Steven Monder received two standing ovations at Music Hall this afternoon: one from the board of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and one from the musicians. The tribute accompanied Monder’s emotion-filled announcement that he will retire in June just shy of 37 years with the orchestra – almost 31 as its head.
Why leave now? “Well, it had to be some time,” said Monder, who will turn 63 in March.
“I had been thinking about it for a while. The orchestra is sounding great. Paavo (Järvi) will be leading them for at least several more years. There is a strong staff that easily can keep the ship on course while the board finds my successor. And I thought I would like to take a nice, long vacation.”

He is the longest-tenured chief executive of a major orchestra in the United States, according to the League of American Orchestras. “Frankly, that says what needs to be said – that he has done a great job,” said league president Harry Fogel. “He has been a giant in this industry.”
Monder was hired in July 1971 as the orchestra’s production manager and promoted five years later to chief executive, a title that has changed over the years even though his role has not. He has led the 113-year-old orchestra – the fifth-oldest in the country and one of the top 10 by budget ($35 million) – through highs and lows.Highlights of his tenure include:-- Creation of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in 1977 and the naming of Erich Kunzel as its conductor.-- A long-term relationship with Telarc International that has led to more than 100 recordings with sales exceeding 10 million and regular appearances atop Billboard’s music charts.-- The launch of Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon subscription concerts.-- Construction of Riverbend Music Center on the banks of the Ohio River as a summer home for the orchestras and touring acts.-- Nationally televised concerts by the Pops and symphony on PBS.-- A revival of international touring that has taken the orchestras to Europe and the Far East.But there also have been financial struggles, as well as a slide in attendance, subscriptions and single-ticket sales. Average attendance for the CSO’s Music Hall season dropped from 2,030 per concert in 2000-01 to 1,540 in 2006-07. The orchestra has been downsized from 99 to 92 players but even so, it remains one of only 18 orchestras in the country still performing year-round.Monder’s knowledge of music – he’s a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music – makes him special, said CSO music director Järvi. “He is solid, a product of old times in his dedication and the way he sees the orchestra and music, he really knows music. He doesn’t need anyone else to tell him if it was a good performance.”Järvi also said that Monder’s among the hardest working people he knows. “His car is parked outside before I show up and way after I leave – and it is the only one there,” said Järvi. “He lived here – and lives here.”Monder’s retirement comes as the CSO is looking into extensive renovations of Music Hall, whose 3,400 seats make it one of the country’s largest concert halls. It also broke ground last summer on the 4,000-seat National City Pavilion at Riverbend, a $6.8 million amphitheatre it hopes will add $400,000 annually to its bottom line.There will be a national search to replace Monder, whose annual salary of $303,491 (in 2006) puts him among the top-paid orchestra executives in the country.Executive board member John Palmer will head the search committee, whose other members are yet to be named.“It is a demanding, 24/7 job,” said CSO board chairman Marvin Quin. “Steven has been very thoughtful about the transition, but his are big shoes to fill. The search won’t be quick, but will be well done.” Quin added that an interim president will not be named if Monder’s replacement isn’t hired by his June 30 retirement date. “Steven has assembled a knowledgeable and skilled group who can run this on an interim basis. And he has agreed to help us in the transition.”Pops director Erich Kunzel is pleased that Monder will be sticking around Cincinnati after he retires.“We have a close relationship that goes far back,” said Kunzel, pointing out that he was teaching at CCM when Monder was a student there in the late 1960s. “When he called me to tell me that he was retiring, one of the first questions I asked was whether he would be staying in Cincinnati.”

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 4 & 7

January, 2008


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Järvi
RCA- 88697099952(CD)
Reference Recording - 4th: Haitink (LSO); Böhm (DG); 7th: Bernstein (DG); Szell (Sony)
This second disc from Paavo Järvi's complete Beethoven cycle is just as fine as the first (containing Symphonies 3 and 8). Once again the playing of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is phenomenal. Has the Fourth Symphony's finale ever been more cleanly articulated at such high speeds? I don't think so. But it's not just a matter of execution. The virtuosity of the playing sustains brilliantly conceived interpretations of both works, full of idiomatic fire and athletic drive. The outer movements of the Seventh Symphony have an almost elemental force, and while some listeners might prefer a stronger presence from the horns, the prominence of the wind and trumpet parts is very welcome, particularly in the finale's refreshingly un-opaque main theme. You can really hear the colorful mosaic of timbres that comprises the first subject.
Similarly, you might feel that the small number of strings in the Fourth's Andante or the Seventh's Allegretto compromises some of the music's inherent expressiveness. But this is far from the cold, vibrato-free dryness typical of many period-instrument recordings. The players don't "squeeze" the notes one at a time, but rather phrase with feeling, and their intonation is so pure that it may give you chills. Try the Fourth Symphony's introduction for a sound so focused that it adds an entirely new dimension to our experience of the music. And if you aren't delighted by the rambunctious rhythmic snap of both symphonies' scherzos, then it's time to turn in your ears and take up knitting. Also as previously, the SACD sonics are pellucidly clean and clear, but also kind to the orchestra and excellently balanced in all formats. With performances of this quality coming out (let's not forget Vänskä's ongoing cycle on BIS, or some of the recent Haitink/LSO releases) the "Golden Age" of historical recordings in the first half of the last century is looking more bronze by the minute.
--David Hurwitz


December 26, 2007

Beethoven für das 21. Jahrhundert erschaffen.
Von Klaus Lipinski
KÖLN Wer wächst hier mit wem? Weder der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie noch Paavo Järvi hätte man vor einiger Zeit Sternstunden der Beethoven-Interpretation zugetraut. Doch ihr Konzert in der Kölner Philharmonie zeigte deutlich, warum sie derzeit in aller Welt gefeiert werden. Stehende Ovationen belohnten ein neues Weltklasseorchester, das sich selbst erschaffen hat.
Beethovens sechste Sinfonie ist jedenfalls nur ganz selten so spannend zu hören. Man muss schon zu den größten Namen auf diesem Gebiet greifen, Kleiber, Harnoncourt oder Leibowitz, um ähnliches zu erleben.
Überraschende Aspekte
Selbst dann bleiben noch überraschend neu klingende Aspekte: Etwa wenn das erste Thema plötzlich seine tänzerische Seite hervorkehrt, das Herz bei der "Ankunft auf dem Lande" förmlich hüpft. Oder wenn die Pauke mit frappierend beunruhigendem Effekt eingreift, die vibratolosen Streicher manchmal die Grenze zum Unhörbaren suchen, der sehr ruhige Choral am Ende, oder das sehr zügige Tempo im zweiten Satz, das die Bögen perfekt zusammenfasst.
Höchstes Niveau
Es geht dabei nicht um britische Tempobolzerei, nicht darum, der Musik einen äußeren revolutionären Anstrich zu geben. Der Schlüssel ist eher das kammermusikalische Hören, die innere Bewegung der Musik, die alles Statische vermeidet. Järvi zeigte sich auf höchstem Niveau historisch informiert und erschuf trotzdem einen Beethoven für das 21. Jahrhundert. Die Phrasierung ist genau so aufmerksam wie perfekt. Keine lang stehenden Töne, sondern die verklingende Kurve, die damals gefordert wurde. Das bringt eine impulsivere Wirkung der einzelnen Töne, dazu passen auch die kurzen und knackigen Sforzati.
Interessant war der Kontrast zu Sibelius. In dessen Rakastava op 14 zeigte Järvi wie sehr er auch die alte Schule mit eng verschmelzenden tiefen Bläsern und Streichern beherrscht.


Beethoven created for the 21st Century

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 3 & 8

Gramophone Magazine review. Zoom in to read!

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 3 & 8

BBC Music Magazine Review. Zoom in to read!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What's coming in 2008?

The Cincinnati Enquirer
January 1, 2008
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra: In April, the orchestra will take its third international tour with music director Paavo Järvi, a sweep through 12 major European cities in five countries. Because of security issues since 9/11, only the world's top orchestras are touring these days. The fact that the orchestra has been invited back to cities such as Vienna and Paris and will appear for the first time in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, means that Cincinnati will be in an international spotlight.