Lindberg, Sibelius

My third concert of the day in the Musikverein, with Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, opened with a piece by the Finnish (ethnic-Swedish) composer Magnus Lindberg, whom I had heard of but never heard.  He is supposed to be one of the most creative of currently living composers, but under-performed.  The orchestra performed a piece called Corrente II composed in 1991-92.  I will indeed vouch for Lindberg’s creativity.  The work was not to my taste, but I am glad I experienced it.

This was followed by eight short pieces for violin and orchestra by Sibelius (six humoresques and two serenades), with a thirty-something Finnish violinist, Pekka Kuusisto, performing.  Kuusisto is supposedly a bit of a cult figure in Finland, and it is easy to see why.  He brought the house down with some virtuosic and idiomatic performances.  He then added a few extremely difficult solo encores of traditional Scandinavian melodies he had arranged.  I think if he had just kept playing for hours the audience would have stayed and kept applauding, but at some point he really did have to stop.

After the intermission we had the Sibelius 6th Symphony.  The Lahti SO is the quintessential Sibelius orchestra, and the audience appreciated it.  We got treated to more encores at the end, but no one could understand what Sarastre was saying when he introduced them, and no one near me recognized the pieces (although they sounded like Sibelius).

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