Programs with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic almost always expand one's musical horizon. This hour, more music from the Nordic countries.
Jean Sibelius is something of a national monument in his native Finland, but he actually strove not to be a nationalist but an internationalist composer, seeking a universal, classical style. His short works for theater include a musical fairy tale based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest," of which conductor Kristjan Järvi made his own arrangement.
Imants Kalnins is not only a composer but also a politician and a former front man in rock bands. His Rock Symphony dates from 1972, at a time when his homeland was behind the Iron Curtain. To Kalnins, rock music was a medium of revolt against the establishment — just as it was in the West. And he felt that it had a power lacking in classical music. In a 1967 interview, Kalnins said, "Going to symphony concerts can become a passive experience and the private property of a small, musically-educated circle of society, an end in itself. I believe that art music would be more democratic and essential if it had continued to develop more in the same direction as song, dance and ritual." These are ideals conveyed in musical creations such as his "Rock Symphony."
Here the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic are reading scores, but just as often — and very unusually — they perform by heart.
The Tempest. Concert suite, arranged by Kristjan Järvi
Rock Symphony (Symphony No. 4), 1st movement (excerpt)
Swan White, orchestral suite op. 54, 7th movement
Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
Recorded by North German Radio, Hamburg (NDR) in the Power Plant of the Museum of History and Technology in Peenemünde on September 22, 2018