Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Jarvi,, conductor
Jarvi has always been a champion of Eastern European music. In “Baltic
Portraits” Jarvi uses that experience to present works of five composers
from the region with heartfelt and committed performances.
Erkki-Sven Tuur’s occasional piece Fireflower
starts off the program. This exotic-sounding work was written for
Jarvi’s tenth anniversary with the CSO, and shows off the orchestra –
and its conductor – to good advantage.
Symphony No. 8,
“Autumnal Fragments” follows, by Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen.
Completed shortly after 9/11, the work’s fragmentary thematic structure
reflects somewhat the disruption most of the world felt after the event.
This is a powerful composition, and the Cincinnati Symphony is more
than equal to the technical challenges presented.
Although best known as a conductor these days, Esa-Pekka Salonen started his musical career as a composer. Gambit is a short work that, although post modern in its harmonies, still retains a certain romantic lushness.
composer Arvo Part was brought to prominence by his fellow countryman,
conductor Neemi Jarvi. One of the works Neemi Jarvi recorded was Part's Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten.
His son Paavo brings a slightly different interpretation to this now
well-known work. The tempos are a little brisker, but this is still a
piece that moves at a very slow pace and remains true to Part’s
Lepo Sumera’s Symphony No. 6
is the second of two major works on the album. The late Sumera admired
Mahler, and while one can hear that influence in this symphony, the work
seems to owe more to two fellow Estonian composers: Arvo Part and
Edvard Tubin. The first movement’s long suspensions echo Part’s
tintinnabuli, while the more energetic second movement sounds similar to
If you’re familiar with any of these
composers, Baltic Portraits will be a treat. If you’re not, Paavo Jarvi
and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra make a compelling case for
further exploration of these composers’ works.