"NEEME JÄRVI 70th BIRTHDAY JUBILEE"
DIEPENBROCK: Elektra (Symphonic Suite). STRAUSS: Oboe Concerto in D.
An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64.
MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
May 26, 2007 there was a special concert in Tallinn's Estonia Concert Hallto mark the 70th birthday of conductor Neemi Járvi. Over four decades, Járvi has held a number of major positions with a number of orchestras, and is highly respected by all musicians. Tthis was an opportunity for his countrymen to show their appreciation. It was a rather odd program. The major work was Liszt's A Faust Symphony preceded by works by three Estonian composers (Villem Kapp, Veljo Tormis, and Heino Eller), three excerpts from Carl Nielsen's Aladdin Suite, and Sibelius's Finlanda, the latter presented with chorus. The Estonian National Male Choir sang in much of the music, and Neemi's two conducting sons, Paavo and Kristjan also appeared as did his daughter, flutist Maarika. The Estonian Concert Hall is a very unglamorous venue for a festive occasiuon, but an array of flowers on the stage brightened it up a bit. Neemi is to be commended for the wide range of music he has championed. His magnificent recording of Estonian composer Kaljo Raid's Symphony No. 1 has been covered on this site (REVIEW).
Another Järvi concert was recorded in the Hague January 19, 2008 with the orchestra of which Järvi has been principal conductor since 2005, the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert opens with a powerful suite of music Dutch composer Alfons Diepenbrock composed for Sophocles' play Elektra, followed by Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto superbly played by Pauline Oostenrijk, principal with the Hague Philharmonic. The featured work is An Alpine Symphony, an excellent performance but it cannot match the DVD with Kent Kagano on the podium (REVIEW) Audio is" 4 channel digital surround." It is full and satisfying, if not particularly detailed, and the organ doesn't impress.
Far more satisfying in every way is the unique performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 given in Riverside Church in New York . When producer Jason Starr was planning to make a documentary film about this symphony, it was suggested to him that the conductor be Neemi Järvi and, once this selection was made, many of the musicians who had performed under the Estonian conductor's baton volunteered to participate. Players came from the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Metropolitan Opera and several other orchestras. Mezzo Susan Mentzer and soprano Twyla Robinson donated their services, and the New York Choral Artists and Riverside Chorale wished to participate. Riverside Church was selected as the site, and the concert took place on an unspecified date—the copyright date is 2007. Järvi is not particularly known for his Mahler, althoiugh he did record six of the symphonies for Chandos, all of which have been discontiunued. However, this "Resurrection" (which he did not previously record) is outstanding in every way. Video is excellent, and the sound remarkably clear considering the resonant acoustics—and the organ during the final pages is doubtless what the composer intended. The huge ovation at the end is very much deserved. Check this one out!
R.E.B. (December 2009)