Minnesota Orchestra Continues Joyful, Skilled Celebration of Sibelius – Twin Cities


Experiencing freezing cold and a terrifying increase in omicron cases, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sibelius Festival continues into its second big week, after opening with a joyful celebration over New Year’s weekend. Despite the ominous “masks required” announcements projected onto Orchestra Hall’s iconic cubes, the much-anticipated second-week concert is worth taking every precaution to keep it going. out safe.

Let’s just say that Jean Sibelius is a very important person when it comes to the Minnesota Orchestra and musical director Osmo Vänskä. The orchestra played Sibellius in more than 1,100 performances, more than 300 of which were conducted by Vänskä. They played Sibelius’ work from the very beginning of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, in 1909, and recorded his music as early as 1935. As for Vänskä, he conducted Sibelius in his first concert. with the Orchestra in 2000, and received both a Grammy Award and a Grammy nomination for two different Sibelius symphony recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra.

With all that knowledge and deep expertise, it’s no surprise that music has skyrocketed like that. The 6th Symphony in D Minor, Opus 104, appeared on the show for the first time, and was so beautiful that it sent chills. From the playful and airy opening, through the inflated cellos and whispering melodies to the tense ending, the piece is a feast of musical textures.

This was followed by the first version of the Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 47, played by elegant Finnish violinist and master Elina Vähälä. You know how you don’t have to clap between movements? Well, sometimes the audience gets that part wrong. Maybe there’s one person in the crowd who doesn’t know the rules and they start clapping. Or a movement whose sound is so climactic that the listener thinks the whole piece is over. On Friday, Vähälä, who had her first concert at the age of 12 with the Lahti Symphony when Vänskä was conductor there, was so amazing that the audience couldn’t help but feel. Many people rose to a standing ovation.

Vähälä’s bow glided over the strings of her GB Guadagnini violin with ease. Even during his most rigorous play, the violinist maintains a velvety smooth beauty. The work itself is Sibelius’s only concerto. After a disastrous debut, the composer revised the score and banned the first version from performing. Vänskä convinced his heirs to let him record/perform the original version in 1991 when he conducted the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Playing with the Minnesota Orchestra, Vähälä brought the rare piece to life in a thrilling way.

It’s quite long, 38 minutes. You might wonder: why perform the original version when Sibelius himself is so adamant that his revised concerto is the only one he wants in his legacy? On the other hand, there have been examples in history where the world has benefited when artists’ demands for their works to be destroyed or forgotten were not complied with. If Franz Kafka’s friend Max Brod had followed the author’s wishes, we would never have had a “Challenge,” for example. In the end, even if the final version of Sibelius’ concerto was shorter and more concisely edited, the earlier version still had its own fire, and was certainly the meat for the virtuoso Vähälä to spin. his art.

Closing the evening, a soft oboe solo, accompanied by a delicate timpani roll, began Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Opus 39. Led by Vänskä, who foresaw every subtlety in the piece. music with precise expression, the orchestra overcomes dissonance and the grandeur of an energetic symphony. With additional layers of strong harp and percussion, the piece satisfactorily completed for the evening.

https://www.twincities.com/2022/01/08/review-minnesota-orchestra-continues-joyful-skillful-celebration-of-sibelius/ Minnesota Orchestra Continues Joyful, Skilled Celebration of Sibelius – Twin Cities


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