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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

my dear swan

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He wants to unite young people and move forward: Since 2008, Kristian Järvi has used the Baltic Sea Philharmonic as a meeting platform, an orchestra in which musicians from the ten countries bordering the Baltic Sea play together. The Estonian conductor then develops extravagant concert formats with the highly talented youngsters. In “Nordic Swans”, the current program of the tour, not only all those who are technically capable of doing so play standing up, but the entire ensemble also masters the two-hour non-stop performance by heart.

Since nobody has to be able to read the musical text, a lighting control system is made possible that immerses the room in a subdued atmosphere, once the rainbow has been crossed (On April 26, the orchestra’s performance in Gdańsk will be broadcast live (starting at 8:00 pm on www.gdansk.pl).

The swans are the focus of all three pieces.

Without a podium or a conductor’s baton, Kristian Järvi acts in the middle of the ensemble, as primus inter pares, who dances to the scores, a pantomime that lets sounds flow through his body, translating each musical turn into movement. It begins with the “swan song” of his compatriot Arvo Pärt, in the classic suspense arc from shallow breathing at the beginning to the pathetic climax, similar to the music of a movie, with the sound of bells to the calm pulse, From which Jean Sibelius’s “Swan of Tuonela” then grows, dark and mysterious, a symphonic poem of the immensity of the Finnish forests, illuminated by the room’s spotlights in a matching green.

The encore comes from an orchestral musician.

Attacca follows Tchaikovsky’s ballet music ‘Swan Lake’, which Järvi arranged for this ‘Dramatic Symphony’ concert. There you can experience a cinematic editing technique, based on sharp emotional contrasts between a melody blooming with ecstasy and a powerful high-frequency drama. Sure, in the passages one would wish for more detail and less footwork on the part of the conductor, but what’s the point of small niceties when the atmosphere in the sold-out Philharmonic is so fantastic, when the currents of energy flow so happily? from the stage? in the hallway and back!

As an encore, neither the swan from “Carnival of the Animals” nor the prelude to “Lohengrin” is heard, but moving contemporary music with jaw harp and lots of percussion, composed by Liis Jürgens, harpist of the orchestra. And then, as a perspective of solidarity and hope, follows a hymn of peace, recently written by Järvi and the Ukrainian Ruslan Trochynskyi.

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