Sibelius, Symphonies / Tone Poems, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, N. Järvi (DG, 2007)
H. Eller, Five Pieces for String Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, N. Järvi (Alliance, 1992)
Neeme Järvi has recorded the Sibelius symphonies twice with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, once for BIS and once for Deutsche Grammophon. Neither cycle ranks highly in our estimation, but he led a solid, somewhat earthy rendition of the composer's second symphony. The horns complied with his demands for brilliant, full sound, as did all the members of the brass section, with thrilling interpretations of the ff and fff sections. The pulsating main theme of the first movement, marked with tenuto accents under slurs, surged in the strings, dissonance-laden harmonies amassed over the D pedal in the basses and second cellos. For its tense qualities, the opening of the second movement, with the timpani summoning pizzicato basses and cellos to accompany the melody in the bassoon, seemed more like the opening of Die Walküre than it normally does, and the third movement was startlingly fast, in keeping with the Vivacissimo marking. All evening long, the cell phones and watch alarms of the audience intruded, worst of all at the quite moments of this movement's trio, but the seamless transition into the finale set up beautifully paced surges of sound to the returns of one of Sibelius's most famous melodies.
Anne Midgette, Jarvi’s insouciance gets results from the NSO (Washington Post, January 15)
Robert R. Reilly, NSO, Neemi Järvi, and Baiba Skride (Ionarts, January 16)
Next week Christoph Eschenbach returns to the podium, with Daniel Müller-Schott playing the Dvořák cello concerto. Over the next two weeks, the NSO will be playing through the repertory planned for its European tour, lasting most of the month of February.