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BERLIN PHILHARMONIC, OCTOBER 2018

Järvi betreibt die Mechanisierung der Musik (Lutosławski Concerto for Orchestra), lässt die Philharmoniker aber auch zum Maschinensturm blasen und rettet das menschliche Maß, indem er dessen heillose Gefährdung offenlegt. So kantig und diszipliniert Järvi den Orchesterapparat mitunter befehligt, mit unter Hochspannung zuckenden Gliedern, es sind dann doch die losen Enden zum Schluss des Eröffnungssatzes, die einen besonders bewegen. Diese versprengten, hastig zusammengefegten letzten Reste von Harmonie und Intimität.

Nach der Pause geht Järvi die 2. Sinfonie von Johannes Brahms im Geiste Lutoslawskis an. Schon das eröffnende Kontrabass-Motiv, die schwankende kleine Sekunde, evoziert Lutoslawskis Passacaglia-Thema. Sie ist eben keine Begleitfloskel, sondern ein Menetekel. Von wegen wegen heiter-behaglicher Brahms: Järvi kehrt die verdüsternden Störmanöver hervor und wählt langsame Tempi, sodass Brahms’ charakteristische Duolen-Triolen-Rhythmik erst recht zur Zähflüssigkeit beiträgt. Es rumort – unentwegt … Schön zu sehen, wie einmütig die Philharmoniker mit Järvi musizieren, mit welcher Leidenschaft allein die Konzertmeister Daishin Kashimoto und Noah Bendix-Balgley die Köpfe zusammenstecken.
Der Tagesspiegel, Christiane Peitz, 19 October 2018

 

TONHALLE-ORCHESTER ZURICH, OCTOBER 2018

Das Publikum strömte zu dem Konzert, mit dem Paavo Järvi, der künftige Chefdirigent des Tonhalle-Orchesters, quasi seinen Einstand gab – und die Zeichen für die Zukunft stehen gut. Järvi erwies sich als sensibler Koordinator und souveräner Gestalter.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Thomas Schacher, 11 October 2018

Und nun ist sie da, die frische Brise. Sehr frisch wirkt sie, und sie durchzieht das Orchester von A bis Z – bis hin in die Administration, wie aus deren Reihen zu vernehmen war. Ohne Scheu packt Järvi den Stier bei den Hörnern. Zielt er auf das Erbe, das David Zinman hinterlassen hat. Und zeigt er, wie es auch anders gehen kann – bei Gustav Mahler und bei Ludwig van Beethoven. Womit er den Wesenskern des musikalischen Kunstwerks herausstellt. Das nur existiert, wenn es immer und immer wieder gespielt und damit ins klingende Leben versetzt wird. Und das so einem kontinuierlichen Transformationsprozess unterworfen ist.

Wer die Gesamtaufnahme der Sinfonien Beethovens kennt, die Järvi mit der von ihm geleiteten Kammerphilharmonie Bremen erarbeitet hat, wird sich leicht ausmalen können, dass Beethoven mit dem Tonhalle-Orchester und Järvi etwas ganz anders sein wird als Beethoven mit dem Tonhalle-Orchester und Zinman. Dass das auch für Mahler gilt, war jetzt am Beispiel von dessen fünfter Sinfonie zu erleben – höchst eindrücklich war das. Auffallend zunächst die Spielfreude: die Lust, Musik zu machen und genau diese Musik zu machen. Mit kräftigem Körpereinsatz ging Paavo Järvi dem Orchester voran, die Musikerinnen und Musiker wiederum reagierten mit höchster Aufmerksamkeit, letztem Engagement und glänzender Leistung – im Einzelnen wie im Gesamten.
Peterhagmann.com, 11 October 2018

… This was the first of Järvi’s concerts before his official start; however, it virtually felt like the start of his tenure. If this was the first day of his honeymoon with the orchestra, then married life will look rosy, if the cheering after the Mahler symphony was anything to go by … Järvi’s conducting of the Mahler was vigorous, one could even say virile, but without show; he picked up on many nuances to highlight the pathos and anxieties in the work, from anguished shrieks in the woodwind to the blare of the brass … The performance – and the orchestra’s playing – was, in a word, sensational.  At the end of the symphony, large sections of the audience (a full house) erupted; the orchestra seemed stunned. Järvi beamed. He could sense he too had made a wise choice … a Golden Age beckons.
Seen and Heard International, John Rhodes,12 October

The famous Adagietto wove the richest possible orchestral tapestry, and highlighted both a celestial harp and the slightly restrained pacing that fills the listener with the thrill of anticipation … Järvi’s repeated sweep of his palm over his pate showed the Mahler as a truly vigorous athletic workout for any conductor. But the Estonian’s command of the huge configuration was superb, and his rapport with the group seemed as amenable as it was supportive. Expectations are always great on the occasion of a conductor’s new posting, as well they should be. The Zurich public and the Tonhalle’s audience look forward to the Järvi era.

Bachtrack.com, Sarah Batschelet, 11 October 2018
Die Spannung konnte man förmlich greifen: Paavo Järvi trat nach seiner Wahl zum designierten Chefdirigenten auf die Saison 2019/20 erstmals wieder mit dem Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich auf. Mit Mahlers „Fünfter“ entzündete er im ausverkauften Saal grosse Begeisterung.

Aargauer Zeitung, Sibylle Ehrismann, 12 October 2018

 

ESTONIAN FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA EUROPEAN TOUR, JANUARY 2018

… Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony gave the orchestra a chance to ignite real explosives …   if, Järvi can continue this same magic with the exceptional Tonhalle Orchestra come 2019, and no doubt he will, then the years ahead in the Zürich Tonhalle will be worth their weight in gold.
bachtrack.com, Sarah Batschelet, 23 January 2018

… Und in Schostakowitschs Sechster heizt er seinem fast durchweg sehr jungen Festivalorchester derart ein, dass namentlich das Scherzo und der Final-Galopp – wohl ganz im Sinne des Komponisten – wie eine hypertrophe Parodie auf den seinerzeit vom Sozialismus verordneten Jubel klingen. Zürich darf gespannt sein.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Christian Wildhagen, 21 January 2018

Am Anfang war der Klang. Wie eine vom Licht durchbrochene Klangwolke zog der weiche, intensive Ton des Estonian Festival Orchestra über die Bühne des Konzerthauses … … In Schostakowitschs Sechster Symphonie trieb Järvi das fabelhaft intonierende Orchester schier mühelos über die steilen musikalischen Gipfel, von denen es sofort mit drängendem Elan weiterpreschte, ehe sich die Musiker im furios zelebrierten Galopp des dritten Satzes gegenseitig zu einem grandiosen Schlussspurt anspornten.
Wiener Zeitung, Andreas Meier, 24 January 2018

Genuss und Spielfreude stehen bei seiner Interpretation an erster Stelle … ein wahrer Ohrenschmaus.
Berliner Morgenpost, Felix Stephan, 24 January, 2018

Paavo Järvi und sein Estonian Festival Orchestra – bestehend aus jungen estnischen Musikern und internationalen Profis – machen auf ihrer ersten Europatournee Station in Berlin und erobern die Philharmonie mit schierem Tonvolumen. Mit kräftigem Strich, einem gerade nicht esoterisch-vergeistigten, sondern handfesten Pärt und mit Crescendi, die sich bis in jeden Winkel des Scharoun-Baus ausdehnen.
Der Tagesspiegel, Christiane Peitz, 24 January 2018

Den großartigen Abend beschloss Dmitri Schostakowitschs 6. Symphonie von 1939: Paavo Järvi enttäuschte auch dabei die Erwartungen der Zuhörer auf präzise sinnlich klangvolle Sinfonik keineswegs. Im Gegenteil – er verlieh dem Geschehen bemerkenswerte Tiefe, fasste die Entwicklungen in nirgends nachlassende Spannungsbögen.
Kronen Zeitung, Florian Krenstetter, 25 January 2018

Paavo Järvi bündelt sie scheinbar mühelos zu einem Klangkörper, dem man die Zusammengesetztheit nicht anmerkt, der über Geschmeidigkeit ebenso verfügt wie über die Fähigkeit zu energievollen Ausbrüchen. Der „Cantus“ von Arvo Pärt lässt sich zugleich verstehen als ein großangelegtes Crescendo über fünf Minuten hinweg. Wie der Klang des Festival-Orchesters dabei immer stärker wird, ohne dass die Spannung abbrechen würde, wie er dabei nie verklumpt, sondern Durchsichtigkeit behält, das beeindruckt und prägt auch die folgenden Stücke: Sibelius’ Violinkonzert, bei dem gemeinsam mit Solistin Viktoria Mullova eine zarte, kam-mermusikalisch anmutende Aufführung gelingt; bei Schostakowitschs 6. Sinfonie, deren Schluss satz im mühelosen Galopp vorüberzischt. Sanft spielt dieses Orchester unter Paavo Järvis Leitung, aber es versteht ebenso, mit dem Florett zu kämpfen, präzise und virtuos.
Berliner Zeitung, 24 January 2018

Dass eine solche Aufgabe einem ausgewiesenen Orchestererzieher wie Paavo Järvi, übrigens zurzeit ‘Artist in Residence’ der Philharmonie Luxemburg, ein Leichtes ist, war zu erwarten. Dass aber auch das junge und jugendlich besetzte Orchester einer solchen Aufgabe in so einer mitreißenden und überwältigenden Manier gewachsen ist, war nicht selbstverständlich. Feine Soli, insbesondere in den Holzbläsern und ein ausgereiftes energiegeladenes und auch kammermusikalisch ausgereiftes Miteinander aller Orchestergruppen bezeugen die kreative Inspiration des Kurortes Pärnu und der Familie Järvi, die dort ihren Sommersitz hat.
Pizzicato, 26 January 2018

 

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE BREMEN, DECEMBER 2017

Was für ein schönes Entreé zum großartigen Konzert mit der Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen im Herkulessaal der Residenz: Das “Waldweben” aus Richard Wagners “Siegfried” erklang in der sogenannten “Konzertfassung” des Dirigenten Hermann Zumpe, unter dessen Leitung 1901 das Prinzregententheater mit den “Meistersingern” eröffnet wurde. Er verschmilzt die Szene des vor sich hin träumenden Siegfried mit dem Finale des zweiten Aufzugs, wenn ihn der Waldvogel (hier instrumental silbrig schimmernd als Xylophon) zu Brünnhilde führt. Paavo Järvi gelang dabei mit seiner Kammerphilharmonie eine zart schraffierte, in den exquisiten Holzbläser-Soli geradezu märchenhafte Imagination der Szene … Die vierte Symphonie von Johannes Brahms, uraufgeführt 1885 und konzentrierter Gipfel romantischer Symphonik, wurde danach zum Ereignis: Selten hört man derart sanfte Keuschheit in den wie leise Orgelmusik klingenden Holzbläser-Chorälen des “Andante moderato”, soviel herbe Attacke in den Bässen oder im Tutti und ein immer wieder so emphatisch sich aussingendes Melos in den hohen Streichern.   [Süddeutsche Zeitung, Klaus Kalchschmid, 17 December 2017]

Es war einmal ein Konzertsaal in Hamburg, da trat ein bemerkenswertes Orchester aus Bremen auf – und so gut wie niemand wollte es dort hören, obwohl es schon damals Beachtliches leistete. Dieses unverdiente Trauerspiel im Großen Saal der Musikhalle ­endete schnell. Das war 1994, als kulturelle Basisarbeit es gegen viele Widerstände noch sehr schwer hatte in dieser Stadt. Jetzt, Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal, die 2017er-Version des gleichen ­Orchesters, das seit einigen Jahren Stammgast in Hamburg ist und im neuen Konzerthaus erstmals mit seinem Künstlerischen Leiter gastierte, und ­natürlich war das Konzert nun verdient voll. Die aktuelle Ironie dieses Kapitels aus der jüngeren hiesigen Musikgeschichte: Nachdem in den vergangenen Wochen sowohl Philharmoniker als auch Symphoniker mit Brahms’ Zweiter ihre Interpretationssichten auf dessen Standard-Repertoire vorstellten und entweder die Tradition betonten oder den ­Effekt, hinterließ ausgerechnet das ­Orchester aus einer anderen Hansestadt mit der Vierten den nachhaltigsten und stärksten Brahmsversteher-Eindruck. Dabei macht Paavo Järvi bei der ­Beschäftigung mit diesem Komponisten letztlich nur dort weiter, wo andere gern schnell die glättende Konvention walten lassen: kleine Besetzung, große Wirkung, knackig geschärfte Kontraste, ein sehr unsentimentales, sehr leidenschaftspralles ­Herangehen an die Materie, und immer eine enorme Transparenz in den Details.   [Hamburger Abendblatt, Joachim Mischke, 14 December 2017]

Johannes Brahms’ 4. Sinfonie wird von Järvi wiederum dermaßen aus einem Guss geformt, in satz- und am Ende mehr als satzlangen Bögen, dass die Atmosphäre des Waldwebens nicht so weit weg zu sein scheint. Die Strukturen lösen sich so weit im Ganzen auf, von informeller Musik könnte man vor allem im 1. Satz sprechen, wenn es den Begriff gäbe. Järvis Umgang mit Brahms’ Musik ist dabei elegant und leicht. Eine wohltuende Beiläufigkeit begleitet das im Konzertsaal auch in diesen Monaten schon sehr häufig reproduzierte Geschehen. Mit der Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, die er seit 2004 leitet, ist Järvi so vertraut, dass manchmal einladende Gesten ausreichen, um die Dinge in die gewünschte Richtung zu lenken.   [Frankfurter Rundschau, Judith von Sternburg, 8 December 2017]

 

ORCHESTRE DE PARIS, NOVEMBER 2017

Pourquoi un concert ne ressemble-t-il as à un autre? Ce sont parfois des raisons extra-musicales qui en font la singularité. La semaine dernière, les deux soirées d’abonnement de l’Orchestre de Paris marquaient le retour de Paavo Järvi comme chef invité, un an et demi après avoir quitté ses fonctions de directeur musical. Avant meme que la moindre note ait été jouée, on sentait une ambiance particulière. Quelque chose de festif et de chaleureux: on était tout simplement heureux de le retrouver. Confirmation qu’il se crée entre un artiste et le public un lien humain qui dépasse la seule qualité musicale. Mail il ne s’agit pas seulement du public. C’est au sein de l’orchestre que l’on sentait une électricité, comme une énergie joyeuse. À la fin du concert, invités à se lever pour partager les applaudissements, les musiciens ont choisi de rester assis pour fêter le chef et l’ovationner à leur tour.”   [Le Figaro, Christian Merlin, 5 December 2017]

Un retour sans doute trop attendu que celui de Paavo Järvi, pour un soir à la tête de son ancien orchestre en tant que chef invité. Une attente trop prégnante, trop espérée du public et des musiciens, dans un programme taillé sur mesures pour le chef estonien, convoquant Sibelius et Chostakovitch. [Resmusica, Patrice Imbaud, 4 December 2017]

Cette semaine, l’Orchestre de Paris n’accueillait donc pas seulement un chef invité : il retrouvait un père fondateur. L’osmose opère dès les premières notes du Concerto pour violon de Sibelius, comme si les musiciens et leur ex-directeur musical n’avaient jamais cessé de jouer ensemble. L’Orchestre de Paris réagit avec un naturel presque déconcertant aux moindres gestes de Järvi.   [Bachtrack.com, Tristan Labouret, 1 December 2017]

Paavo Järvi a quitté l’Orchestre de Paris après six saisons parce qu’il s’engageait pour le NHK de Tokyo. Depuis, il a également obtenu l’Orchestre de la Tonhalle de Zurich, mais il reviendra certainement diriger régulièrement une formation française qu’il a su maintenir au plus haut niveau pendant son mandat, en apportant aux cordes chaleur et densité, tout en gardant finesse et transparence dans la matière globale.   [Altamusic.com, Vincent Guillemin, 29 November 2017]

 

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, OCTOBER 2017

“The superb pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who has played and recorded the Rachmaninoff concertos to acclaim, has made a special cause of this curious Fourth. He brought it to David Geffen Hall on Thursday to kick off his season as artist in residence with the New York Philharmonic, and gave a revelatory account of the piece with the conductor Paavo Jarvi … Mr. Andsnes’s performance was so animated and effortless that the music sounded almost lucid. Mr. Jarvi matched his exuberance right through, drawing bright, crisp playing from the orchestra … He opened his welcome return to the Philharmonic with a dazzling performance of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s overturelike “Gambit,” in its New York premiere.”   [New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 13 October 2017]

“Järvi and the Philharmonic concluded the evening with Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, and it’s evident that the New York Philharmonic horn section has never sounded better … Järvi led an exceptional performance of the symphony, highlighting the work’s dramatic, film score-like qualities and pacing the final chords with mature restraint.”   [Bachtrack.com, Jacob Slattery, 14 October 2017]

” Järvi captured Sibelius* unique and powerful sense of time. On top, the music flowed and expanded, it looked out at the changing world around it. Underneath, the internal foundation rotated on its axis, meditating on memories and imagination. This was deeply evocative and true to Sibelius’ art.”   [New York Classical Review, George Grella, 13 October 2017]

“Paavo Järvi led a finely-wrought, vibrant and well-balanced performance (of Salonen’s ‘Gambit’) … In a taut, intense reading, Andsnes and Järvi – perfectly in sync – relentlessly drove the music (in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 4) to a stupendous climax, energy and tension maintained to the end.”   [Classicalsource.com, Lewis M Smoley, 13 October 2017]

 

PÄRNU MUSIC FESTIVAL & ESTONIAN FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA NORDIC TOUR

“A very special lure on the Baltic Sea Festival’s progamme was the young teenage Dmitri Shostakovich’s first symphony from 1925, and it also became Paavo Järvi’s real triumph. Here was a young, hungry orchestra which was also very congenial; musicians who both can and will bite on the challenges which scores and conductor present them.

What a mood of Bolshevik twenty-seventeen and a self-conscious teenage genius! Here you will find spooky cabaret, spanky puppets and pointed montage within the framework of a safe and small creative orchestration. Paavo Järvi triggered his festival musicians in silent movie tempo and with perfect articulation.” [Dagens Nyheter, Camilla Lundberg, 26 August 2017]

“… The Sibelius symphony (no. 2) showed an orchestra with a nerve and willingness to play all the way … the energy and cohesion to create an uncontrollable and direct symphonic world that hit right in the diaphragm.”   [Politiken, Henrik Friis, 24 August 2017]

“The concert of the Turku Music Festival on Saturday night became a poignant tribute. Paavo Järvi, director of the Estonian Festival Orchestra, dedicated the concert to the memory of the victims (of the previous day’s attack). The performance began with a minute’s silence, after which he conducted Jean Sibelius’s Valse Triste … Meanwhile, the performance of the 18 year old Dmitry Shostakovich’s chamber symphony was both amazing and vivid. Paavo Järvi has always had the ability to clearly outline a dense orchestral texture, but now there is more warmth and flight.”   [Helsingen Sanomat, Vesa Siren, 19 August 2017]

“For the first time ever Paavo Järvi has been showing other nations why the Estonian Festival Orchestra is among the world’s best – travelling to other Nordic countries after their annual gathering in Estonia’s summer capital of Pärnu, with the big bastions of Vienna and Berlin to come early next year.

“… That phenomenon of top players burning for a conductor they love and respect has been a constant at the three festivals I’ve attended … And this surely unrepeatable performance of Sibelius’s Second Symphony almost burned the house down with its incandescence … the slow movement especially more inspired and dangerously intense than I’ve ever heard it.   [Theartsdesk.com, David Nice, 24 August 2017]

“The concert combined Danish, Finnish and Russian music reflecting Estonia’s Geo-Political position …  The Estonian Festival Orchestra gleamed above all through the brilliant ensemble of the first violins led by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s concert master, Florian Donderer … With a small first outing to neibouring Turku, Copenhagen and Stockholm, the Estonian Festival Orchestra looks forward to the 100th anniversary celebrations of Estonian Independence in January 2018 and to their first major European tour in January. And this tour will allow audiences in Vienna to hear them live for the very first time.”   [Radio klassik Stephansdom, Ursula Magnes, 18 August 2017]

“The rich program of the Pärnu Music Festival reflects the human concept that the conductor Paavo Järvi embodies as its guiding spirit … Under his unpretentious, collegial, always professional direction, the ensemble is thus imbued with the spirit of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra – and is already of an amazing standard.

“… Atmosphere means a lot, but first and foremost the music is fascinating .. witness how Paavo Järvi,in impeccable acoustics, first neatly drew the individual strands of Nielsen’s “Aladdin” suite together into dazzling scenes, which was followed by a small miracle: in a run-through of the first two movements of Sibelius’s Second Symphony, the brilliant clarity suddenly also gave way into an enormous emotional depth, which was not least born from the intimate string sound. The great music of the Finn, as newly born in a Pan-European spirit: a moving promise.”   [Die Presse,Walter Weidringer, 18 August 2017]

“What is so enchantingly charming and magical about this time forgotten place? The concentration of the musicians who gather around Paavo Järvi is the one thing. And the absolute absence of any pretention”   [Die Welt, Manuel Brug, 17 August 2017]

“The world-famous Järvi conducting dynasty, handpicked musicians, a modern concert hall and the historical buildings are Pärnu’s ingredients for the musical event in the so-called “summer capital of Estonia” … Musicians from all over Europe came to Pärnu to become part of a summer festival of the generations. Many of them are Estonians who work abroad. Others have been infected by their enthusiasm. And the Estonian music scene is concentrated for two weeks in the small coastal town, where the Järvi family opens a window into an ideal music world”   [Deutschlandfunk Kultur,Julia Kaiser, 14 August 2017]

 

NHK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA EUROPEAN TOUR – BERLIN, LUXEMBOURG, PARIS, AMSTERDAM, LONDON, VIENNA & KÖLN / MARCH 2017
Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics; Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam; NHKSO Tokyo. Would you have thought of putting the Japanese orchestra in the same league as the top Europeans? I certainly wouldn’t, at least not until last night …  This was a Mahler Six in which every detail was clearly etched, every phrase flexible but firm of purpose …  One thing’s for sure: none of us will ever hear a Mahler Sixth more confidently or trenchantly executed than this one.   [The Arts Desk, David Nice, 7 March 2017]

The NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo surprise with a blazing virtuosity in Shostakovich. Chief conductor Paavo Järvi smuggles the Japanese into the top league … the triumph of a dream team … The strings created an ardour that connoisseurs usually ascribe to the Vienna Philharmonic. From Berlin came the bluster with which the violas probed.  Moreover, in the lion’s mouth [of the Concertgebouw] the Japanese musicians produced an Amsterdam trump card …   [Der Volkskrant, Guido van Oorschot, 7 March 2017]

“… And Paavo Järvi, from his clearly accentuated opening (of Mahler Symphony no.6), took his fiercely engaged orchestra with vehemence out of the comfort zone … with Järvi the work is disciplined, with fine articulation and a soft, yet structured, sound which leads us through melancholic marches and oblique Scherzi … with an intelligent sound and individual life of its own.   [Brug’s Klassiker, Die Welt, Manuel Brug, 1 March 2017]

One is impressed by the extraordinary discipline of the ensemble, section by section, the dazzling reactivity to the imperious gesture of the leader … The concentration of expression, but also of the sound itself, which produces a mattness rarely heard today, where orchestras often aim for brilliance. This corresponds ideally to Järvi’s gestures of tension and biting (in Shostakovich Symphony No. 10), which brings us back to the Stalinist context of the composition … The musicians of the NHK aim for crudity and realism, and their radical spontaneity gives the impression of a young orchestra, with the mastery of experienced training. Here is an unmistakably convincing marriage …”   [Diapason, Remy Louis, 7 March 2017]

… as this epic work (Mahler Symphony No.6) progressed I became engrossed, first by Järvi’s unswerving emphasis on momentum … and second by the accentuation of extreme contrasts of dynamics rather than subtle variations of timbre. That may sound unsophisticated, but in the life-and-death tumult of the finale — where a flamboyant percussionist turned the two ear-splitting hammer-strokes into a new form of martial art — the direct, almost violent clash of opposites really paid off. The ending was stunningly dramatic.   [The Times, Richard Morrison, 8 March 2017]

This visit by Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor, Paavo Järvi, was a rare UK showcase for an ensemble on bristlingly good form … a swashbuckling performance   [The Guardian, Erica Jeal, 8 March 2017]

… one has to be grateful to have heard a Mahler Six of such skill and integrity as this.   [Bachtrack.com, Roy Westbrook, 7 March 2017]

Whether refined or when becoming more angular, whatever was required, the players, with chief conductor Paavo Järvi, had every expressive phrase and nuance mastered … From the first bar (of Mahler Symphony No. 6) this performance compelled, a sense of rightness established immediately … and the long silence that followed told of musicians and audience collectively caught up in something special.   [Classicalsource.com, Colin Anderson, 6 March 2017]

(Takemitsu’s Requiem) requires full and unwavering concentration from the players, and the NHK strings were up to its demands … A lovely and affecting performance overall … marvellously shaped by a batonless Järvi.   [SeenandHeard-International.com, Colin Clarke, 8 March 2017]

“Järvi, head of the orchestra since 2015, is a noble companion and much more … With the NHK Orchestra he has a cultured, technically majestic entity of sound at his disposal, which in all sections understands how to play distinctly … The abstract poetry hovered almost like cool darkness, in order to tilt into music of anxietry of merciless density. The brutality of the second movement (of Shotstakovich Symphnoy No. 10) is completed with great conciseness. In sum, it is an unvarnished performance – with intensity and without sentiment.”   [Der Standard, Ljubisa Tosic, 9 March 2017]

The orchestra climbs whole mountain ranges at the summit (of Sibleius’ Violin Concerto) and makes the valleys between them charmingly iridescent.”   [Wiener Zeitung, Christopher Irrgang, 8 March 2017]

… With Shostakovich’s tenth, Järvi concentrated on drawing out the details, leading his musicians to the highest transparency and perfection.   [Walter Dobner, Die Presse, 10 March 2017]

 

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE BREMEN, JANUARY 2017
With Brahms’s symphonic legacy the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen shows its strengths, with its small string ensemble and muscular strong sound. Whereas the silky-smooth strings sound of big symphony orchestras often lose out, here the intricate braid of voices can be heard without it being a mere structural inter-penetration. There is little trace of old-fashioned motifs, but a sharp rebellion can be heard with all the means of contrapuntal art, which makes the scherzo and finale a breathless experience …   [Jürg Huber, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 27 January 2017]

Järvi’s intrepretation (of Brahms’ Symphony No.1) is refined. Impressive is the transparent, clearly differentiated sound form, exhibiting the finest subtleties. Without hustle and bustle, Järvi flows dynamically forward leaving little room for pathos.   [Annkathrin Babbe, Nordwest Zeitung, 21 January 2017]

Probably no other orchestra has played the symphonies and concertos of Johannes Brahms as often in the past few years (as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie) – with more than 60 performances of the cycle to audiences as far afield as St Petersburg, Vienna and Tokyo.  In Die Glocke, the second Bremen Brahms cycle distributed over multiple seasons began (on Thursday) with Symphony No. 1. Again, the musicians’ inherent understanding of the music is especially emphasized in the characteristics of the Symphony and its chromatic development, the interplay between the instruments, the aggressive boldness of the introduction and the “Alpine Horn Solo” played by flute and horn. … Järvi’s approach is transparent and economical … Again fascinating worlds lay between the sound-sensitive playing of solo voices (in particular, oboe, clarinet, violin) and the brilliantly pointed rhythmic energy in the finale.   [Markus Wilke, Weser Kurier, 21 January 2017

 

TONHALLE ORCHESTRA, ZURICH, DECEMBER 2016
Paavo Järvi stepped quietly onto the podium, the musicians of the fully-filled Tonhalle orchestra shine, and even before the performance applause has completely ebbed, the 53-year-old Estonian gives the upbeat into the first movement of Robert Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony. With full swing he launches into the main theme which seems to fly in a great arc over the first bars … The work comes together and culminates in masterly style, gradually revealed through Järvi’s interpretation – sometimes more clearly, sometimes subliminally – by showing, for example, the contrasting interrelation, recurring accompanying figures, and the dark colors of this music. The abyss of the fourth movement, with its gravitational trombones, then becomes all the more compelling and opens up into a touching moment of the sublime. All the more convincing is the light-hearted gesture of the attacca played final: a conciliatory return to light fields.   [Moritz Weber, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 18 December 2016]

…  Paavo Järvi took the vivacity of the Rhenish Symphony’s first movement literally, conducting with impetus … an impulsive, heart-warming lust for life and happiness  … For me this was a solid interpretation in the best sense of the word   [Rolf Kyburz, Bachtrack.com, 17 December 2016]

 

PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA, LONDON, NOVEMBER 2016
Nielsen Symphony No. 2 “The Four Temperaments”
Absolute precision, full-bodied sound, a lethal punch — this sterling performance rejoiced in them all, right from the turbulent opening bars … Sharpness of character was the special glory of Järvi’s tour around the temperaments. The Phlegmatic movement hovered in his hands with delicious sluggishness. Impetuous anger raced through the Choleric opening allegro, the mirror of the introspective Melancholic adagio. Shoulder movements reached their height in the Sanguine finale’s reckless high spirits, punctured towards the end with slow and sad reminiscences, beautifully engineered.   [Geoff Brown, The Times 15 November 2016]

The latest concert in the Discover Carl Nielsen series curated by Paavo Järvi and the Philharmonia Orchestra captivated the ear with music that was strikingly original, magisterial and downright quirky … With Nielsen as good as this I look forward to the next instalment of the Discover Carl Nielsen series.   [David Truslove, Backtrack.com, 16 November 2016]

Paavo Järvi’s great appreciation of Nielsen was manifest in ‘The Four Temperaments’ …   [Anthony Hodgson, Classicalsource.com, 10 November 2016]

Järvi’s expressive approach to the melancholy Andantino was a masterpiece of eloquent phrasing … and this contemplative reading of so serious a movement made a suitable contrast with the wild Finale …

 

STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN, NOVEMBER 2016
The second of the Staatskapelle Berlin’s subscription programmes of the season was memorable in many ways. Primarily this was for a towering account of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony, whose long course from ironic semi-darkness to ambiguous light was charted with complete control by Paavo Järvi … In fact, Järvi is probably just the sort of conductor you want in this work if it’s not to spiral out of control … Against a controlled background, the big moments, such as the grand Mahlerian outburst in the Adagio, registered with especial power. The gradual build-up to the finale’s concluding climax was irresistible, too, while the transparency of the Staatskapelle’s playing helped elucidate the work’s symphonic logic … it’s difficult to imagine a more musical account of this great symphonic edifice.  [Hugo Shirley, Bachtrack.com, 8 November 2016]

And the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi? He makes the Staatskapelle Berlin sound completely different. His Beethoven sounds like mature Mozart rather than late Brahms. It is historically informed and confidently tailored to the traditional symphony orchestra. It is a Beethoven with vibrato-less strings and earthy winds, a Beethoven of high transparency and attractive expressivity.

… Paavo Järvi’s interpretation (of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony) can now be regarded as a counter-proof … It is astonishing how long Järvi manages to spin out the main theme in all its beauty and balance – which makes the mood more violent in its warlike madness. Still more surprising, however, with what self-conviction he can demand the musical tension and surrender of the musicians in the other movements.   [Felix Stephan, Der Morgenpost, 9 November 2016]

 

MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL, NEW YORK, AUGUST 2016
At the close of Friday night’s Mostly Mozart concert in Geffen Hall, Paavo Järvi and the Festival Orchestra brought down the house with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony—and how many times do you get to say that of anyone these days? … And let’s not waste words about the performance: it was magnificent in virtually every way. Järvi is musical down to his toes, and watching him work is almost as much fun as hearing the result.   [Christopher JohnsonHuffington Post]

 

PÄRNU MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016
With the Pärnu Music Festival Paavo Järvi creates competition for Europe … This is highly concentrated music making (from the Estonian Festival Orchestra), all the details are worked out: the ping pong of accents between violins and horns, antiphons between the woodwind groups, targeted focus curves in the second violins. Nothing is sweeping, nothing sleepy and nothing washed away.   [Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung]

Pärnu: What many festivals dream of achieving is self-evident here… The central mentors are Neeme and Paavo Järvi, father and son. The Järvi Academy offers conducting masterclasses to students from around the world and the Estonian Festival Orchestra, a new first class ensemble, brings together professional musicians from the whole of Europe and top players from Estonia, creating a musical entity which was received with standing ovations for their performances of Sibelius, Nielsen and Shostakovich: pure astonishment for this extraordinary collective music making … in an atmosphere of fun, openness and curiosity.   [Ursula Magnes, Klassik Radio]

Where would you go to hear the most electrifying and collegial orchestral playing in the world? It used to be Lucerne while Claudio Abbado was alive. Now that the Lucerne Festival Orchestra has become like any classy superband, the answer is Pärnu in the south of Estonia. … The jewel in the Pärnu festival crown is the heady mix of top western and Estonian players in what after five years has now become the Estonian Festival Orchestra … I have never, anywhere, heard an orchestral unison that bore through the body like this one at the start (of Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony). Climaxes raised the roof, but precisely; the maverick structure whereby two far from light scherzos follow one long slow movement struck home.   [David Nice, The Arts Desk]

Paavo Järvi is swiftly bringing the Festival Orchestra into great shape, conducting Haydn with eloquent temperament and Shostakovich with burning intensity; the fabulous orchestra is seated on the edge of their seats and spreads infectious enthusiasm … In Pärnu, the special charm of the festival’s musical intoxication is the co-existence of international top-class and young musicians, from the unpretentious approachability of the stars and the enthusiastic echo it creates, which is felt in both the concerts and open rehearsals …”   [Regine Müller, Rheinische Post]

 

PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / MAY 2016
Nielsen’s Symphony no. 3 “unfolded naturally, with Jarvi keeping a weather eye on momentum, and allowing that glorious waltz tune near the end of the first movement to emerge triumphantly. The Andante was rendered sympathetically, its cloudless tranquillity beautifully evoked by smooth horns and warm-toned strings.”   [Bachtrack.com]

“Echoing the symphony’s soubriquet, Järvi’s gestures were themselves expansive – he is a conductor who makes full use of the space around him – and the orchestra responded perfectly, presenting wonderful warm string passages, enchantingly twittering woodwind birdsong, and powerful brass counterpoint”   [Music OMH]

 

PRAGUE SPRING FESTIVAL OPENING CONCERT / CZECH PHILHARMONIC / MAY 2016:
“Ma Vlast” presented at the opening concert of the Prague Spring and on the podium before the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was Paavo Järvi. In the Smetana Hall and with Smetana’s music there was something new. It was both innovative and traditional, interesting and satisfactory. Rich and, most importantly, without any sense of routine .. The Philharmonic played extremely cultivated and sophisticatedly, repeatedly and willingly going into great expressive intensity. “My Vlast” sounded as beautiful music, without excessive pathos, with clear contours and soft tones …”   [www.casophisharmonie.cz]

 

CD RELEASE: WALTON & ELGAR CELLO CONCERTOS | STEVEN ISSERLIS & THE PHILHARMONIA / HYPERION:
Steven Isserlis made a fine, fierce recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto with the LSO 18 years ago; this new version, with the Philharmonia and conductor Paavo Järvi, is fiercer still – older, wiser and even more convincing. Isserlis’s cello rages against the dying of the light, sounding angry yet still beautiful, and under Järvi the orchestra is full-bodied but focused … [The Guardian]

He – and Paavo Järvi – steer a course between the astringent dynamism of Elgar’s own reading, tender intimacy and the grand passion of Jacqueline du Pré. Ensemble is hand-in-glove, wind solos eloquent. The scherzo has plenty of attack, the Adagio is almost unbearably poignant while Isserlis’s finale explodes into life with a bristling humour and rhythmic vitality all-too rare.   [BBC Music Magazine]

He is also blessed in having such a scrupulously attentive partner as Paavo Järvi, who procures playing of the very highest quality from the Philharmonia.   [Gramophone Magazine]

 

CD RELEASE: NIELSEN COMPLETE SYMPHONIES | FRANKFURT RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / SONY JAPAN:
The great Paavo Järvi pilots his Frankfurt Radio Orchestra in promoting modernist aspects of the Danish master without altering the music’s essence   [Jean Luc Caron, Resmusica.com]

Paavo Järvi’s cycle … provides a fine document of the conductor’s six years as music director of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; these superb recordings were made between 2009 and 2013, when Järvi’s tenure ended. … There’s a wonderful energy about all of the performances from Järvi and his orchestra, and the excellence of the solo wind playing is vividly captured.   [Andrew Clements, The Guardian]

Multiple details suddenly become perceptible, to the point of changing the perception of the rich and bountiful style coined by Nielsen himself. The direction of Paavo Järvi similarly stresses the inexhaustible inventiveness of the Nielsen’s orchestra, which then becomes a creator at the crossroads of the most diverse aesthetic. The most complex of the series, the 6th symphony is simply amazing. In reality, Paavo Järvi captures all the malicious nature of the work of the Danes, and gives a performance which is both incredible and full of musical relevance, constantly exciting. A great success.   [Qobuz]

Paavo Järvi has just released a new recording with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and it has almost become an “historical” high point. With his Estonian musical family roots he has sucked the sound and thought world of the Baltic Seas as if, so to speak, it is his mother’s milk. What especially distinguishes the recording: A quasi natural empathy with the erratic, sometimes almost childish naitivty, but always built on a masterful craft and understanding of Nielsen … .. Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra engage so enthusiastically and selectively in this universe, that you can trust their leadership.   [Udo Badelt, Kulturradio RBB]

Järvi represents the role of a sovereign trustee for the art of Carl Nielsen in this symphonic cosmos.   [Der Opernfreund]

Between 2009 and 2013, The Estonian Chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, performed all six symphonies of the original modern Dane, Nielsen … And for the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer RCA has released these terrific recordings in a box set.

The merit with Paavo Järvi is to be able to sit back as a listener and appreciate the natural spectacle of instrumental sounds, going between restful and contrapuntal rigour … Järvi’s approach and understanding of these works, written between 1891 to 1916, clearly allows the linear structures to emerge, nothing must remain on the surface … We experience a culinary luxurious sound   [Dr. Ingobert Wahba, Der Neue Merkur]

 

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE BREMEN / BRAHMS TOUR, DECEMBER 2015:
“A few years ago The Beethoven cycle hit us like a meteorite: so new, fresh, dramatic, so thoroughly consistent and rhetorically convincing that one could hardly have imagined the symphonies performed otherwise. Following Beethoven and Schumann cycles, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and their chief conductor Paavo Järvi now move their focus to the weightiest of Germans … Everything is alive with this ensemble, both fresh and free … Transparency instead of foggy pathos”    [Der Standard]

“Chief Conductor Järvi allowed the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen to shine in Brahms’ first Symphony after the interval … with great ease and good balance. It is a fine and dignified orchestra with a deep string sound which in the Andante seemed to purr like a contented cat.”    [NRC Handelsblad]

“The bond between Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is inseparable … From the outset, communication between musicians and maestro ran like clockwork … allowing you to feel a vitality and enthusiasm that many professional orchestras can only dream of … Seldom do you experience an orchestra where there is so much eye contact and laughter. Such enjoyment was clear from the outset of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s performance of Brahms’ Symphony No.3 … the freedom with which this orchestra played music is quite unique.”    [Die Welt]

“When Järvi appeared as a guest conductor with his Orchestre de Paris at the Philharmonie recently he maintained the efficient upper hand as leader. With the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen however there is no music director, simply fellow musicians, and the energy currents flow and intensify with each moment. Weariness is not something that this cohesive ensemble know about. They are driven only by their desire to raise our perception of Brahms. And this is what the Bremen musicians precisely achieved in this blazing evening.”    [Der Tagesspiegel]

 

EUROPEAN TOUR / ORCHESTRE DE PARIS, NOVEMBER 2015:
“It’s Paavo Järvi’s last season as chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris and on Saturday they performed together at the Vienna Konzerthaus. Taking this performance as a yardstick, these five years together must have been a very fruitful collaboration: one rarely experiences such an immediate connection between orchestra and conductor, such an extraordinarily attentive presence on both sides so that with economical means an understanding of the most subtle shades is possible.”    [Wiener Zeitung]

“This was a special evening at the (Berlin) Philharmonie … One thing is for sure: Järvi is not one of those conductors who exhaust themselves visibly … His body language is one of controlled movements which demonstrate reasoning and nobility.”    [Berliner Morgenpost]

“… the Orchestre de Paris sounds as if the musicians are just one person … and Järvi knows to use it. With the help of their uncommonly precise interrelationship he succeeds in building up a fascinating musical suspense.”    [Süddeutsche Zeitung]

“Järvi’s Nielsen 5 (with the Philharmonia Orchestra) was immensely commanding. There were elements of subjective thinking but it was to the benefit of the music. The very opening found the violas playing piano very softly before descending to almost nothing at the required diminuendo. This typified the conductor’s attention to dynamic contrast. There were subtleties of phrasing and true understanding of Nielsen’s colouring … rarely has Nielsen’s orchestration been so well defined.”    [classicalsource.com]

“Järvi maintained the tension superbly in the second movement tuba and bass trombone singing out defiantly. With great vigour, he drew the symphony, and this fine concert, to an ebullient close.”    [Bachtrack.com]

 

PÄRNU FESTIVAL 2015:
“Perfect Pärnu – There isn’t a hint of a hothouse environment on stage – these are simply musicians having the time of their lives, no small thanks to the inspiring Paavo Järvi himself, and they’re an inspiration, in turn, to the festival youth orchestra.”   [BBC Music Magazine]

“Top players, great Estonians – Utopian music-making led by the Järvi family in Estonia’s magical summer town … The result begged comparison with the elasticity of Abbado’s concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which is as good as it can get.”    [theartsdesk.com]

 

BERLIN PHILHARMONIC, MAY 2015:

“Paavo Järvi allows the musicians a mostly cheerful approach (in Shostakovich’s Symphony No.1) and tightens his interpretation again and again, to suddenly bring the orchestra into a higher voltage. Then, with rumbles and crashes into the rafters of the strings, one has the feeling that Järvi is firmly and quite clearly at the heart of the sound of the Ensemble…”    [Berliner Zeitung, May 2015]

 

MUNICH PHILHARMONIC, APRIL 2015:
“Even today such an important and original composer as the Dane, Carl Nielsen, receives too little attention on the German concert scene. Some of his symphonies are played, but the comic opera “Maskarade” premiered in 1906 is never encountered here … Paavo Järvi, not just the busy chief conductor in Bremen (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie), Paris (Orchestre de Paris) and Tokyo (NHK Symphony Orchestra), but also a welcome guest with orchestras around the world, now offered this work with the Munich Philharmonic as a virtuoso piece for large orchestra … an inventive, elegant and multicolored programme in which Paavo Järvi is so well versed – always curious and inspired.”    [Süddeutsche Zeitung]

 

NIELSEN’S FOURTH SYMPHONY WITH PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA:
An awesomely executed performance of Nielsen’s fourth symphony sat alongside perfectly pitched Haydn and sparkling Beethoven.   The Guardian

At the outset Järvi and the Philharmonia hurled us into the vortex with maximum force. It is possible to take a longer view building more patiently to the first movement’s glorioso climax, but this had conviction in spades and in Nielsen conviction counts for a great deal. It also had genuine finesse … This was a concert to make one realise why one keeps coming back for more.    classicalsource.com

Järvi and the Philharmonia captured the white heat of the opening movement presenting us with an uncontained maelstrom of sound.  Järvi synthesised the composite elements into a seamless organic whole, bringing out the angularity of the writing and feelings of disquiet in the more reflective material.  Nielsen’s sonic and harmonic shocks, rhythmic asymmetries and unusual textural collages were all brought thrillingly to life … This was great playing from Järvi and the Philharmonia – and it’s good to see these wonderful symphonies by Carl Nielsen receiving so much public exposure.   seenandheardinternational.com

 

PARIS PHILHARMONIE – INAUGRAL CONCERT 14 JANUARY 2015:
“What matters most, though, is the concert hall. And from first impressions it seems acoustically marvelous … On Wednesday, in its orchestra-concert configuration, the acoustics were enveloping in the best sense. You never felt swamped with orchestral bigness and brashness; though reverberant, the sound had detail and clarity …”

“… After intermission Mr. Jarvi conducted the premiere of a formidable 30-minute work: Thierry Escaich’s Concerto for Orchestra. The piece begins with primordial low rumblings that provoke the percussion to break into skittish fits. This episodic, vividly scored, gritty piece goes through lurching digressions, by turns combative, reflective and exploratory.”

“The program concluded with Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé,” Suite No. 2, in which the chorus took part. Ravel’s glittering, sensual, voluptuous music is a good show-and-tell project for a new hall. Mr. Jarvi tamped down the cinematic opulence of the music, letting arcs crest and subside. During some passages heavy brass playing covered the chorus. Still, the sound overall was dark, palpable and balanced.”   New York Times

“But the €390m question is: what does the hall sound like? …  In short: pretty stunning. I can’t remember a new hall sounding this good or this characterful at its opening, despite the fine-tuning that will no doubt happen over the coming weeks. There is a combination of dazzling clarity and generous depth in the sound that makes the whole range of orchestral possibility feel like a vivid physical presence, from the ethereal delicacies of the all-French programme – the magical flute solo in the Second Suite from Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé, or the intimate piano solo at the start of the slow movement of Ravel’s G major Concerto, played by Hélène Grimaud – to the huge tuttis, like the end of Daphnis, brilliantly realised by Järvi, or even the noisy note-spinning of the evening’s world premiere, Thierry Escaich’s Concerto for Orchestra. If the other 2,399 seats are as good as the one I was sitting in, I think that the Philharmonie could be one of the most dynamic and exciting places to hear orchestral music in the world – as well as the most fun simply to sit in, thanks to the combination of intimacy and imagination of the interior.”   The Guardian

“… this concert confirmed our first impressions. A warm acoustic, whose beautiful reverb does not harm the legibility of the music … Certain balances will of course be worked on … Meanwhile, what a joy to hear a powerful orchestral tutti resonate without lower saturation and with the comfortable feeling of space.”   Le Monde

“The concert starts with humor: Edgard Varèse’s “Tuning Up” …  First observation: the sound is extemely powerful. The crescendo that ends the piece shakes the spine: and the excitement builds for the 2400 spectators. Renaud Capuçon steps onstage to play Henri Dutilleux’s “Sur le même accord,” for violin and orchestra. The demonstration is made: the powerful sound is also respectful of the solo voice. This popular French violinist offers a deep commitment, a sweet tone and beautiful unity with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi. In this hall with its undulating forms,  sound seems to descend like a bird that whirls on stage. And soaring is the theme of this construction which is second to none …”   Le Parisien

“The mood of the concert — given by the Orchestre de Paris, which will be the main resident ensemble — was also defiantly celebratory. Though it was dedicated to the “victims of terror” and included consoling extracts from Fauré’s Requiem, there was nothing mournful about the showy parade of Ravel and contemporary music that Paavo Järvi conducted. Despite there being almost no time for acoustic tests and adjustments, the space seems gloriously resonant. And Nouvel’s interior, an asymmetrical flying-circus of audaciously curved balconies that appear entirely unsupported by the interior’s birch-clad walls, is breathtaking. You can see why its construction went three years over deadline .. A world class concert hall.   The Times

“This is a hall which, with its suede like associations, awakens to the luxurious understatement of curved Art Deco furniture,  to the magical world of mermaids. It gives the impression of comfort, of generosity without ostentation, of strangeness that is not disturbing, but intriguing. The hall of Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie de Paris, which was inaugurated on January 14, is an architectural marvel of insinuating softness. Like a mental space in soft tones he puts the spirit of the concert-goer in a comforting state of suspension … allowing the audience to listen to music relaxed yet with senses wide-open … In an orchestra rehearsal, when one moved from one place to another, the sound seemed clear and corporeal, but at the same time embibed by a soft, warm finish.”   Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“Yes, you have to admit it: when you stand in the rehearsal of the resident ensemble, the Orchestre de Paris, … this has become a fantastic hall. 2400 seats all together and yet intimate … Like in a womb the softly cushioned sound sinks you into coziness. But also, when the hall if packed the same evening, the sound is both warm and crystalline, with a classy, long, dark reverb.”   Die Welt

 

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE / SEOUL / DECEMBER 2014:
“The orchestra demonstrated their extraordinary ensemble power as Paavo Jarvi expertly pulled everyone together through the complex syncopation and entangled parts to create a clear transparent sound and an interpretation that was articulate and interesting.”   Mitsunori Eto, Nikkei Newspaper, 18 December 2014

“Järvi, whose conducting was classy, polished and intense, appeared to be executing vibrato midair as he directed the strings, and his elasticity of tempo gave the Third Symphony a vitality (of Brahms) that it often lacks.”   Ji-youm Kwon, Korea Times, 8 December 2014

 

STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN / NOVEMBER 2014:
“It really is a bit odd that Paavo Järvi’s name hasn’t been taken up at all in connection to Simon Rattle’s successor at the Philharmonic.  The conductor has, until now, seldom appeared as a guest conductor with the orchestra and only as recently as two years ago was he re-invited to perform with them after a long gap. Perhaps Järvi comes across as too unpretentious, too musical; possibly because everything seems a little bit too easy to him. He sparks the public with reliable enthusiasm; and he has an exceptionally wide repertoire from almost all eras, which he serves with exceptionally good taste.

“This is what was experienced at Monday’s wonderful concert in the Philharmonie with the Staatskapelle. Järvi’s clarity and the orchestra’s silkily soft sound – these complemented the evening beautifully … Mozart’s G Major Piano Concerto feather-lightly performed, with such noble, almost tender restraint like one hardly ever hears from this powerful ensemble … In recent years Järvi has extensively worked on the Schumann Symphonies which he performed as a cycle with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, of which he has been the director for 10 years:  this familiarity with the score is felt in every note. Järvi conducts this first symphony resolutely as a work of joyous abandon. Hefty dialogues between the string groups, a lost dream in the slow movement, slapstick humour in the finale– with Paavo Järvi it all sounds so vibrant and colourful, that one looks back on September’s parlous Schumann – Brahms cycle and thinks: I would also really like to hear this with the Philharmonic.”   Clemens Haustein, Berliner Zeitung, 19 November 2014

How does he do it? Paavo Järvi is Chief Conductor of the Orchestre de Paris and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and, from 2015, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo additionally. In the meantime, he has even been Music Director of four symphonic ensembles simultaneously. And of course, the 51-year-old Estonian gives guest performances with the top orchestras around the world, as he does now with the Berlin Staatskapelle. This vast creative output can only be achieved with iron discipline – and an unshakeable self-confidence. In the sold-out Philharmonie Järvi is showing off his maximum effective conducting style which is both elegant and effective   Frederik Hanssen, Der Tagespiegel, 18 Novemer 2014

… The Estonian star of the podium springs and dances, reigns back and carries the music. This is a Schumann, which wants to completely convince you. A Schumann, which does not allow the seated audience to brood on details – because Järvi has already thought about everything. The audience can enthusiastically enjoy.   Felix Stephan, Berliner Morgenpost, 19 November 2014

 

 PHILHARMONIA / LONDON / NOVEMBER 2014:
… It’s taken me a few years to be convinced that Järvi is a musician of substance, but any conductor who can persuade a modern orchestra to play Haydn at all — let alone with as much rhythmic verve as the Philharmonia invested in his Symphony No 82, The Bear — deserves to be given a lot more than the time of day. I shall definitely be jumping on the Eurostar in January when Järvi (as music director of the Orchestre de Paris) inaugurates the French capital’s by-all-accounts spectacular new Philharmonie concert hall. London desperately needs to catch up.   Richard Morrison, The Times, 18 November 2014

 

ORCHESTRE DE PARIS / OPENING CONCERTS OF 2014 / 15 SEASON:
It is with a touch of sadness that we witnessed the opening season of the Orchestre de Paris, following the announcement in August by Paavo Järvi – via Facebook – that he would not be renewing his contract after the 2015-2016 season … Yes, you can have regrets in the future. But right now, live these outstanding musical experiences which have become customary with Paavo Järvi at the helm of the the Orchestre de Paris.   Rémy Louis, Diapason, 22 September 2014

… In the second half of this opening concert, Paavo Järvi dedicated the programme to French music. A selection of interesting works from our heritage – some of them too often neglected, such as the Symphony No. 3 in G minor Albert Roussel. Composed in 1929-1930, its dynamism makes it immediately attractive, especially as Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris, in complete homogeneity, bring the spontaneity of the Allegro vivo to life, sometimes not hesitating to spice up some irreverent traits along the way …

Masterly at the helm of the Orchestre de Paris, as implacable as the music he leads, Paavo Järvi lives the spirit of Ravel’s masterpiece (La Valse) more fascinatingly than ever. Perfectly demonic, and not hurrying in order to best fire up the composer’s pervasive morbidity, alerting to the imminent catastrophe and all the intoxication of the devastating sensuality, he propels us through this feverish Waltz and all its hallucinations.   Claude Helleu, Alta Musica, 10 September 2014

 

DEUTSCHE KAMMERPHILHARMONIE / NEW YORK / AUGUST 2014:
“What made this performance extraordinary was Mr. Jarvi’s pliant pacing. As the musicologist Walter Frisch writes, “Brahms favored and himself employed considerable elasticity of tempo,” but few now dare the extremes of early-20th-century conductors like Max Fiedler and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Mr. Jarvi did. It’s a brave strategy. One false move can render whole movements incoherent. When it works, when it sounds spontaneous and innate to the music rather than imposed upon it, symphonic development is raised to another level of drama. With risk came reward in this dark, ultimately triumphant reading from Mr. Jarvi and his virtuosic orchestra.”    David Allen, New York Times, 8 August 2014

 

PHILHARMONIA / LONDON / JUNE 2014:
“An enthralling outing for Shostakovich 5 in a performance of blazing certainty that made one listen afresh to such a ubiquitous work. Järvi’s thought-through, well prepared and vibrant conducting inspired the Philharmonia to a searing and sensitive response.”   Colin Anderson, Classical Source, June 2014