PICUTRE OF MARISS JANSONS © ASTRID ACKERMANN
Bavarian Radio has just announced that Mariss Jansons has renewed his contract as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (and Chorus)
The blurb attributed to Jansons on the occasion:
It is a great pleasure for me to continue our work together beyond 2018 after 15 years of successful collaboration. These two ensembles are a real boon and I am delighted to be part of forming and building up their future. Their artistic and personal quality is unparalleled. To be able not only to enjoy this but also to further it, and to showcase it to audiences in Munich, Bavaria, and around the world, is something very dear to my heart.
The orchestral manager, Nikolaus Pont, on the occasion:
The vote of the BRSO's musicians has very explicitly given expression to their wish to continue to work with Mariss Jansons beyond 2018. His decision to accept this invitation makes me look to the future of the orchestra with particular optimism. We are looking forward to continue our work with this astounding artistic personality and to realize many musical ideas and ideals together.
Mariss Jansons wasn't going to be seriously considered for the Chief Conductor position of the Berlin Philharmonic (or maybe seriously considered but decidedly without a hope of attaining the position, with the Berlin Philharmonic going for someone young), so he might as well renew his gig with the Bavarian standouts, an orchestra that he has already chosen over a continued stay with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and which is as good as any in the world; second (or so) to the Berlin Philharmonic in reputation, but not in quality and ability. To release the news two days before the election in Berlin makes sense... this way it looks to happen on Jansons' terms, rather than giving the possible (if unlikely) impression, that the BRSO is the sweet lemon after the Berlin gig didn't pan out.
It's good news for Munich and the BRSO. Jansons is a stupendous conductor (all of our Jansons-reviews here). Not without weaknesses* (who is?), but when he's on and healthy and let's go just a little, with an upside that has him rightly included among the elite few conductors around. He's also a tenacious fighter for a new and finally decent concert hall in Munich (see also: Munich Bungles Concert Hall Plans), to which he has already pledged a cool ¼ mill of his own money. His long term commitment to the orchestra speaks to the musicians and the city and ensures a tenure that will have greatly shaped and benefited the BRSO, manifesting its position as one of the world's best. His time will likely be likened to that of Rafael Kubelik in importance for the orchestra, which has otherwise been led by founding music director Eugen Jochum, and the high-quality milquetoast tenures of the Kubelik-successors Sir Colin Davis and Lorin Maazel. (Kiril Kondrashin's promising tenure never got off the ground, due to the unfortunate early demise of the conductor.)
(*Bruckner and Mahler and Haydn are not composers I get flustered in anticipation of hearing with him, although that hasn't kept him from turning in one of the most blistering Mahler accounts I've ever heard)