Mot-clef : Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

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Love at first sight : Nicholas Collon and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

After the second date, it looks like the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Nicholas Collon have a beautiful relationship ahead of them. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) has had a double whammy of big news lately. In early April, their current chief conductor, Hannu Lintu, announced that he will be stepping down in 2021. Just three weeks later, the FRSO announced that their next chief conductor will be Nicholas Collon, ...
Gustavo Gimenez/conductor
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Gustavo Gimeno in Britten and Shostakovich with the Finnish RSO

One of the most immediately appealing aspects of cellist Tomas Nuñez-Garcés' performance was his understated confidence and assured virtuosity. Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich were two of the greatest composers of the 20th century. In addition to being  admirers of  each other's work, they also shared a common link with one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century: Mstislav Rostropovich. This evening's program featured one of Shostakovich's most popular and accessible ...
Les lauréats des International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2019

The Winners of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2019

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced today the Awards for 2019. Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire is honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes is Artist of the Year, Croatian bassoonist Matko Smolcic is Young Artist of the Year. The Discovery Award is awarded to 14-year-old Russian pianist Eva Gevorgyan. Ars Produktion is the Label of the Year, and the newly created Composer Award goes ...

Les lauréats des International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2019

Pour les International Classical Music Awards 2019, le jury a une fois de plus sélectionné des musiciens et des organisations qui se sont distingués par des réalisations exceptionnelles. Le jury indépendant et international, composé de 18 médias européens, a choisi ses favoris parmi 319 productions audio et vidéo. Le pianiste brésilien Nelson Freire se voit honoré d'un prix pour l'ensemble de sa carrière. Le pianiste espagnol Javier Perianes est « Artiste de l'année ». Le ...
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Relishing the extremes : Hannu Lintu in Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 with the Finnish RSO

Both Lintu and the orchestra pulled out all the stops in the sprawling final movement.  The winters are long and dark in Finland. Coincidence or not, Mahler's Symphony No. 6, the composer's bleakest, seems to be performed on an annual basis in Helsinki. Whatever the reason, this work gives orchestras and conductors ample opportunity to display their technical prowess, physical and emotional stamina, and interpretive insight. Lintu's take on the opening march was ...
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The Winners of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2018

For the International Classical Music Awards 2018, the ICMA Jury has once more selected musicians and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievements. The independent and international jury has also chosen their favourites from 357 nominated audio and video releases. Jury President Rémy Franck said: "Running for eight years, ICMA has become a huge annual celebration and a widely respected benchmark for musical excellence. One of the reasons of this ...
Les finalistes des ICMA 2018

Les finalistes des ICMA 2018

Le jury des ICMA (International Classical Music Awards) a voté pour les meilleurs enregistrements audio et vidéo dans le but de sélectionner les lauréats de l’édition 2018. Ce lundi, la liste des finalistes est publiée, soit trois productions dans chaque catégorie parmi lesquelles seront choisis les lauréats. Les finalistes ont été choisis parmi 357 productions nominées, éditées par 120 labels.  Le résultat final avec les gagnants sera annoncé le 18 janvier 2018. La remise des ...
Les finalistes des ICMA 2018

ICMA 2018 – The finalists

In several rounds, the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has chosen the releases competing in the finals for the awards 2018. « Our list with a total of 357 nominations comprised many very good as well as outstanding recordings. Yet, the rules are way of cruel, since every member has to eliminate step by step all the releases but one », Jury President Rémy Franck said. « Obviously many excellent productions ...
Elts, Olari 06 © Marco Borggreve

The sea in many forms: the Finnish premiere of Matthew Whittall’s piano concerto

Matthew Whittall's new piano concerto, Nameless Seas, was effective in evoking not only literal but also metaphorical feelings of the sea. Respighi is best known for his ecstatically colorful symphonic portraits of Rome, which are textbook demonstrations of orchestral brilliance. Respighi's orchestration of Bach's D major Prelude and Fugue is further evidence of the Italian composer's orchestral wizardry. Particularly striking in the opening Prelude was Respighi's ability to closely mimic the colors of an organ within an orchestral soundworld; this was ...
Vilde Frang (c) Marco Borggreve

Par excellence : Vilde Frang in Britten’s Violin Concerto

Vilde Frang may have some tough competition, but she could just be the interpreter par excellence of Britten's Violin Concerto.  In the past decade or so, frequent performances and new recordings of Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto seem to be solidifying its stature as one of the truly great 20th-century violin concertos, worthy of the same attention as Sibelius and Shostakovich. Vilde Frang's breathtaking and urgent performance this evening undoubtedly earned this work many new admirers. Berlioz' Le Carnaval Romain opened the concert, ...
Sakari Oramo

Sakari Oramo in Elgar’s Symphony No. 2

Sakari Oramo did not hesitate in bringing Elgar's unabashedly passionate and emotional elements to the fore.  During his tenure as principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO), Sakari Oramo has devoted considerable attention to the music of Anders Hillborg and Edward Elgar. In this evening’s performance, Oramo took the podium in front of his former band to showcase these composers. Hillborg’s Beast Sampler refers to the composer’s description of the ...
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Broadly : Kent Nagano in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8

Nagano's performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, while abundant in individual highlights, was not quite a fully convincing interpretation of this massive work. Anton Bruckner is arguably the perfect example of a composer whose music does not simply "play itself." Bruckner's symphonies are unhurried, majestic, imposing, and, of course, fervently religious. Only an interpreter who has considered these aspects carefully can successfully transform these lengthy works from seemingly protracted to transcendent. Against this backdrop, ...
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Herbert Blomstedt in Sibelius and Beethoven

This was undoubtedly one of the great performances of Sibelius' Symphony No. 4. Herbert Blomstedt is approaching his 90th birthday and is showing no signs of slowing down. A quick look at his busy conducting schedule shows a deep commitment to the Austro-Germanic and Scandinavian repertoire, so expectations were naturally high in this evening's program of Sibelius and Beethoven. The program opened with the darkly introverted Symphony No. 4 by Sibelius. Based on this evening's account, ...

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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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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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 ...

La violoniste Christel Lee lauréate du Concours Sibelius

La violoniste américaine d’origine sud-coréenne Christel Lee remporte le 11ème Concours international de violon Jean Sibelius. Le prix est doté de 25 000 $ et de plusieurs engagements ; dont un avec le Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra pour un concert donné à l’occasion du 150ème anniversaire de la naissance de Sibelius, à Hämeenlinna (Finlande) ce 8 Décembre. Le deuxième prix a été attribué à l’Autrichien Emmanuel Tjeknavorian et le troisième prix à l’Allemande Friederike ...
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Finnish premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Second Piano Concerto

Nicolas Hodges brought a degree of refinement and grace to Lindberg's often percussive writing. Magnus Lindberg's tenure as composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic resulted in several new works, including his second piano concerto. Dedicated to Yefim Bronfman, the concerto was clearly conceived with Bronfman's imposing virtuosity in mind. Similar to the other works from Lindberg's New York tenure, the second piano concerto radiates with both exuberance and joy. One of the ...

Patricia Kopatchinskaja plays Bartók with the Finnish RSO

Oramo's Helsinki appearances as guest conductor are eagerly anticipated and watching Kopatchinskaja's energetic and fearless playing is a visceral experience. In the case of Sakari Oramo and the Finnish RSO, it seems that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. Since the conclusion of his tenure with the Finnish RSO in 2012, Oramo's Helsinki appearances as guest conductor have been eagerly anticipated. On this evening's performance, Oramo led his former band ...
Exceptionnelle Susanna Mälkki

Susanna Mälkki conducts Saariaho with the Finnish RSO

Susanna Mälkki is currently the Chief Conductor designate of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, taking over from John Storgårds in autumn 2016. Based on the two sold-out performances of this program, music lovers in Helsinki might just be feeling a sense of eager anticipation around Mälkki these days. Mälkki's talents as a conductor were immediately apparent in the opening work, Debussy's Gigues. Rather than presenting Debussy's music as an impressionistic "wash" of sound, Mälkki's ...
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Hannu Lintu, chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

"The audience understood that contemporary music is a natural thing, not something that you should escape from" ResMusica: You are about to finish your first full season as Chief Conductor of the Finnish RSO. Please give us some impressions of your first season. Hannu Lintu: We have had an interesting season and some very good concerts. We have been talking a lot about sound; we are in middle of working with ...
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Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts the Finnish RSO in Dutilleux, Strauss, and Brahms

Jukka-Pekka Saraste is a familiar presence to Helsinki audiences, regularly conducting both the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His interpretive style generally focuses on clarity, balance and transparency, while avoiding excesses such as bombast or effusive sentimentality. Such an approach led to mixed results in this program of Dutilleux, Strauss, and Brahms. Saraste is almost solely responsible for the regular performances of Dutilleux's orchestral music in Helsinki, and ...
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Lintu conducts Sibelius’ Symphonies 6 and 7

For the major Finnish orchestras, all the seven symphonies of Sibelius appear to be held in equal regard, as opposed to say nos. 2 and 5 which may be preferred over the others elsewhere in the world. This evening's program featured the new music director of the Finnish RSO, Hannu Lintu, and his interpretation of Sibelius' final two completed symphonies. The program opened with Lindberg's Era, a recent high-profile commission from ...
Anna-Maria Helsing

Anna-Maria Helsing conducts Webern, Mahler, Berg, and Hartmann

Classical music as we know it today would be quite different if it were not for early twentieth century Vienna. Mahler was taking the late-romantic symphony to almost every extreme possible, while Schönberg and his disciples developed musical systems independent of tonality. Anna-Maria Helsing, yet another gifted Finnish conductor with a steadily rising career, presented an intelligent survey of this music, along with a symphony from Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Webern's Passacaglia ...
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Finnish Independence Day Concert

Although performances of Finnish music in Finland are frequent, the repertoire is generally restricted to Sibelius or other living composers, such as the "big three" of Lindberg, Salonen, and Saariaho. Every year on 6 December, which is Finland's independence day, Helsinki audiences are given the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of Finnish orchestral music. This annual independence day concert sometimes features composers who have largely been forgotten. This year's program began ...
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Denève conducts Britten, Roussel and Ravel

22 November 2013 is the precise day when the British composer Benjamin Britten would have turned 100 years old. To celebrate the occasion, the first half of the evening’s program was focused on his music, with the second half turning to music from early-twentieth century France. The program opened with an extract from what is arguably Britten’s most famous work, the opera Peter Grimes. Taking place in the middle of Act ...
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La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho

In 2006, Kaija Saariaho takes a French topic with a universal appeal on again, on a booklet by Amin Maalouf. La Passion de Simone, an oratorio for solo soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics, which caption is : « A musical path in fifteen stations», received its premiere in Vienna, on the 26th of November 2006 with a staging by Peter Sellars, and Susanna Malkki was the conductor. That day Simone ...