Archives de l’auteur : Derek Ho

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Details and the big picture: Christian Lindberg in Pettersson’s Symphony No. 5

In Petterson’s Symphony No. 5, Lindberg shaped and controlled the latent tension so effectively that the music felt deeply oppressive, almost suffocating in its intensity. Patience is definitely a virtue with regards to the Allan Pettersson symphony project on the record label BIS. This project began in the early 1990s with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) under the direction of Leif Segerstam but was left incomplete. Following a long hiatus, the ...
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Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 6

Throughout the first movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 6, careful attention was given to accents, articulations, and dynamics, along with a clear focus on orchestrational detail. Susanna Mälkki's recent performances with her new band, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, have generally presented a mix of the old and the new. While Mälkki might have a bit of a reputation as a new music specialist, she is equally at home in the great ...
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All-British with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Janne Nisonen

After Sakari Oramo, Janne Nisonen could very well be the next great Finnish interpreter of British music.  Orchestral programs dedicated entirely to British music are rare in the Helsinki region, so this evening's concert of Adès, Britten, and Vaughan Williams likely gave many listeners the chance to explore this music for the first time. The program opened with Thomas Adès Three Studies from Couperin, a set of orchestrations of selected Couperin harpsichord works. ...

Focus on Shakespeare : The Tempest by Osmo Vänskä in Helsinki

The performance  of The Tempest by Osmo Vänskä and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra was a true celebration of some of Sibelius' most forward-looking music. The work of Shakespeare and his influence on the arts has received intense attention this year, the 400th anniversary of his death. On this evening's program, Osmo Vänskä and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra presented two musical perspectives on Shakespeare by Finnish composers of the past and ...
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Death and Transcendencev : Robert Spano and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Robert Spano led a taut and disciplined performance of Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead.  The subjects of death and the beyond have certainly fascinated many artists, both past and present. Among composers, one famous example would of course be Richard Strauss' Tod und Verklärung. In this evening's program, the American conductor Robert Spano led the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in two Russian, romantic-era perspectives on death, concluding with Messiaen's transcendent L'ascension. Rachmaninoff's The ...
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Christian Lindberg engagé et en confiance pour la 7e de Pettersson

Sous la direction de Christian Lindberg, la massive Symphonie n°7 d'Allan Pettersson semblait former une arche ininterrompue. Le concert voyait également la création mondiale de la Symphonie n°17, 36 ans après sa composition. Au cours de ces dernières années, Christian Lindberg et l'Orchestre symphonique de Norrköping (SON) ont enregistré, interprété et promu sans relâche la musique d'Allan Pettersson, sans doute le plus grand symphoniste suédois. Dans le programme de ce soir, ...
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Commitment and confidence: Lindberg and Pettersson’s Symphony No. 7

Under Lindberg's direction, Pettersson's massive Symphony No. 7 seemed like a single, unbroken arch. This perfomance also featured the world premiere of the unfinished Symphony n°17, 36 years after its composition. In recent years, Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) have been tirelessly promoting, recording, and performing the music of Allan Pettersson, arguably Sweden's greatest composer of symphonies. In this evening's program, Lindberg and the SON presented one of Pettersson's most ...
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Sir Mark Elder in Britten and Shostakovich

Elder's performance of Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem could become a reference. There may not be many obvious stylistic similarities between the orchestral works of Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich. Nevertheless, both composers sought to communicate immediately and directly with their audiences, while adhering to traditional concepts such as harmony, rhythm, and the symphony as a form. In this evening's program, Sir Mark Elder succinctly described these particular qualities in his opening remarks, before ...
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The Estonian National Symphony celebrates Gubaidulina

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra performed two major works by Sofia Gubaidulina, in honor of the composer's 85th birthday. In the year 2016, Sofia Gubaidulina, one of the world’s greatest living composers, will celebrate her 85th birthday. In recognition of this occasion, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) performed two of the composer’s recent large-scale works, including the world premiere of her oratorio Über Liebe und Hass (On love and hatred). ...
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Susanna Mälkki’s opening concert as Music Director of the Helsinki Philharmonic

Perhaps the most memorable part of this evening was the palpable sense of joy that was radiating from the stage. Readers of my reviews from Susanna Mälkki’s recent concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) have probably noticed that I have not I been shy in my praise of her performances. Before getting into the details, I will say right now that this evening’s concert, Mälkki’s first as Music Director of the ...
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Salonen brings Chéreau’s Elektra to Helsinki

Soprano Evelyn Herlitzius brought the necessary vocal agility and endurance to this impossibly demanding role. Opera lovers in Finland have been eagerly waiting for Esa-Pekka Salonen to bring Patrice Chéreau's now famous production of Strauss' Elektra to the Helsinki. This current run of Elektra performances marks the first project for Salonen under his newly appointed position as Artist in Association of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB). A soprano of near super-human ability is required for the ...
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Susanna Mälkki conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic in Sibelius and Prokofiev

Susanna Mälkki's recent programs with her future band, the Helsinki Philharmonic, have featured healthy portions of standard repertory. This is probably reassuring to the segment of the audience that might be apprehensive of Mälkki's reputation as a new-music specialist. Tonight's program of warhorses by two well-known composers not only demonstrated that Mälkki embraces the standard repertory, but also has something unique to say about it. The program opened with a Sibelius rarity, ...
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Olari Elts conducts Ravel and Tüür

Frank Braley's performance was completely natural, effortless, and thoroughly integrated with both his musical and pianistic philosophy. The music of the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür is often performed in Helsinki, largely due to the regular podium presence of his compatriot Olari Elts. This evening's program featured Tüür's Symphony No. 8, coupled with works from Ravel. The program opened with Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye. Right from the start one could appreciate the clarity of ...
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Christian Lindberg brings Pettersson to Antwerp

The Royal Flemish Philharmonic brought a palpable sense of commitment and confidence to Petterson’s music. In recent seasons Christian Lindberg has enjoyed a regular and fruitful collaboration with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (RFP). Based on the results of this evening’s performance of two rarities and a warhorse, it is clear that deep sense of mutual trust and respect has developed between Lindberg and the orchestra. The first Swedish work on this ...
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Mikko Franck at home in Rautavaara, Prokofiev, and Debussy

I cannot imagine a better, more definitive performance of this music. Despite Mikko Franck's presence in the Helsinki music scene as both artistic and general director of the Finnish National Opera until 2013, in recent years he has been conspicuously absent from the podium of the main Helsinki orchestras. Based on this evening's performance, one certainly hopes that Franck will come back very soon. While I admit that my knowledge of Rautavaara's ...
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James Feddeck, conductor

"There is no replacement for reaching out and taking time to create lifelong connections to the arts." Winner of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2013, James Feddeck has held the posts of Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. In this interview, Feddeck discusses his broad musical background, guest conducting on short notice, and this thoughts for reinvigorating classical music audiences. ...
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Happy 150th birthday, Jean Sibelius!

Without a doubt, this was one of the great En Saga performances.  It has certainly been a busy year for Finland’s favorite musical son. Although Sibelius’ is a regular fixture in the Finnish musical scene, this year has seen Sibelius-admiration taken to the next level (and beyond). Numerous complete symphony cycles, several competitions, books, a new documentary series, examinations of obscure works, seminars, museum exhibitions, you name it--if it has to do ...
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Finnish Independence Day Concert, edition 2015

Under Lintu's direction, the Finnish RSO played with their usual discipline and attention to detail. The annual Finnish Independence Day concert in the Helsinki Music Center is one of the major highlights of the Helsinki orchestral season. Every year, Helsinki audiences are treated to a "tasting menu" of Finnish orchestral music, featuring combinations of both new and old as well as familiar and unfamiliar. This year's concert showcased three generations of ...
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Le Projet Allan Pettersson continue avec la Symphonie 14

Jouer la musique d'Allan Pettersson à la fois avec passion et conviction est vraiment une réussite majeure, et l'Orchestre symphonique de Norrköping sous la direction de Lindberg y parvient encore une fois. On pourrait faire valoir qu'il existe d'innombrables compositeurs dans l'univers de la musique classique qui ont été injustement négligés. Les raisons en sont nombreuses : le compositeur est trop étrange, la musique est trop difficile à jouer, trop difficile à diriger, ...
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The Pettersson project continues: Christian Lindberg and the Norrköping Symphony

To play this music both passionately and convincingly is truly a massive achievement, and the Norrköping band under Lindberg’s direction have done it yet again. One could argue that there are countless composers in the classical music universe who have been unjustly neglected. The reasons for this are many; the composer is too unfamiliar, the music is too difficult to play, too difficult to conduct, or too difficult for the audience ...
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Dima Slobodeniouk conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic in Prokofiev’s second symphony

Dima Slobodeniouk's skillful direction and clear affinity for this music made this performance one of the major highlights of the current Helsinki concert season. Dima Slobodeniouk is currently Music Director of the Orquestra Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain and a regular presence in the Helsinki orchestral scene. On this evening's performance, Slobodeniouk led the Helsinki Philharmonic in a program of Harvey, Hummel, and Prokofiev. Opening the program was Jonathan Harvey's Tranquil Abiding, ...
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Homecoming: Susanna Mälkki, Chief Conductor Designate of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

"The most essential thing is to keep the musical standards very high" ResMusica: You began your professional career as one of the principal cellists of the Gothenburg Symphony--one of the top orchestral cello positions in Scandinavia if not Europe. However, after only three years you decided to pursue conducting full-time. Did you always aspire to be a conductor, or did other events inspire you to take your current path? Susanna Mälkki: Actually, the ...
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All-Finnish with John Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic

Storgårds was able to find the elusive balance between presence and clarity. Music by living Finnish composers is an important part of programming for the Helsinki Philharmonic. While the "big three" composers Lindberg, Saariaho, and Salonen receive fairly regular performances, the Helsinki Philharmonic also ensures that lesser-known Finnish composers have their orchestral works performed in concert. On this evening's program, the Helsinki Philharmonic presented two new works by Finnish composers along ...
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All-Russian with Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic

With Mälkki on the podium, the Helsinki Philharmonic has to be heard to be believed. The appointment of Susanna Mälkki as the next music director of the Helsinki Philharmonic has been met with an almost overwhelming sense of elation among Helsinki audiences. Nevertheless, there may be a sense of fear in some corners that contemporary music will be featured even more prominently with Mälkki on the podium. A brief review ...
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Original Sibelius and an Aho premiere: Hannu Lintu and the Finnish RSO

Sibelius is getting the royal treatment in his home country this year, as the music world celebrates the 150th birthday of the great composer. While performances of the usual suspects (the symphonies and the most popular tone poems) are found in abundance in Finland this year, the Finnish RSO has decided to take a different approach to the celebrations by presenting earlier versions of established masterpieces. At least based ...
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Osmo Vänskä at the Lahti Sibelius Festival

"One felt as though they could hear every detail in perfect balance." Although Finland is home to some of the world's greatest Sibelius interpreters and orchestras, the Sinfonia Lahti/Osmo Vänskä partnership is not only the most prolific but arguably the most enlightening. Vänskä's fanatical adherence to the score as well as his clear and searingly intense interpretations have won him deep respect in this repertoire. Not surprisingly, Vänskä's return to the ...
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Sibelius con gioia: Sakari Oramo and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

"This was Sibelius writ large, played with joyful abandon" This year the music world celebrates the 150th birthday of Sibelius, and it should come as no surprise that fans of the great composer are spoiled for choice in Finland this year. Numerous complete symphony cycles, performances of early versions of established masterpieces, and the Sibelius violin competition are just some of the many highlights taking place this in Finland this year. Sibelius' ...
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Leonard Slatkin, from Detroit to Lyon

"I'm not into maintenance. I'm into forward thinking." Leonard Slatkin is currently Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Lyon, having previously held positions with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In this interview, Slatkin reflects on his beginnings in music, his accomplishments, recovering from a protracted musician's strike in Detroit, and making music in Detroit and Lyon.  ResMusica: ...
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Okko Kamu completes his Sibelius symphony cycle

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Kamu’s performance was his ability to make this arguably perfect work sound even more perfect. It should come as no surprise that lovers of Sibelius will find an embarrassment of riches in Finland this year, the 150th anniversary of the great composer’s birth. The Sinfonia Lahti has arguably done more for Sibelius’ recorded legacy than any other orchestra, and it seems only appropriate that this ...
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Osmo Vänskä et Sibelius, une relation à vie

«Le gars le plus important sur la scène est le compositeur, jamais le chef d'orchestre." ResMusica: Commençons par une question générale: Pourquoi Jean Sibelius? Pourquoi sa musique vous parle-t-elle ? Pourquoi pensez-vous qu'elle continue à parler au public d'aujourd'hui? Osmo Vänskä : Pour moi, personnellement, je pense que c'était juste parce que je suis né en Finlande. Mes parents m'ont emmené avec mes deux frères aînés à des concerts. Mon ...