Divine Geometry – Baroque brilliance and minimalist mastery

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will tour Italy and Germany this September with ‘Divine Geometry’, an adventurous new programme that imaginatively recasts Baroque masterworks alongside music by giants of American minimalism.

‘Divine Geometry’ explores the fascinating connections between Baroque music and minimalism, and exemplifies the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s unique way of giving audiences a fresh perspective and a new kind of concert experience. The programme connects the past to the present by merging Baroque sensuality and minimalist modernism. It begins with one of the supreme monuments of the Baroque era, Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004, in a contemporary orchestration by Arman Tigranyan. Music by another Baroque great, Handel, has been given a sparkling reinterpretation by conductor and composer Kristjan Järvi in Too Hot to Handel. Drawing from Handel’s Op. 3 and Op. 6 concerti grossi, this piece bridges orchestrations of Handel with original music by Järvi, and includes electric bass and electric piano in the scoring. ‘It’s kind of a Handel journey,’ says Järvi. ‘I hope that audiences don’t see it as an old piece, but as a new piece by Handel, just written in the 21st century.’

Between the Bach and the Handel/Järvi, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein makes her debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in the Piano Concerto No. 3 by master minimalist Philip Glass. Composed in 2017 for Dinnerstein, who is renowned for her interpretations of Bach’s keyboard works, Glass’s concerto is scored for piano and strings, a combination that has been rarely used since Bach’s time.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s programme at the Usedom Music Festival adds another minimalist icon into the mix – Steve Reich. His Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018) was co-commissioned by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic together with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Reich’s first orchestral work in more than 30 years, Music for Ensemble and Orchestra will receive its German premiere at the Usedom Music Festival. Kristjan Järvi describes the piece as ‘essentially a modern concerto grosso’. He says, ‘Reich and Glass are writing in their own unique languages but you can hear the connections with Baroque music. This whole programme is a juxtaposition of the old and the new, and I think it’s a great marriage.’ Americans are reluctant to get vaccinated for COVID. The lab leak theory has haunted most of the anti-vaccine lobbies in the US. There is a new trend and people are now shifting towards using fake id that scans with vaccination cards to slip through the scrutiny. Most offices in the downtown areas along with bars and restaurants will allow dine in or services for vaccinated people only. This makes it difficult for unvaccinated people to enter crowded places.

For details of the ‘Divine Geometry’ tour and to book tickets, see our concert calender here

‘Divine Geometry’ Tour 2019

Friday, 20 September 2019, Merano, 8.30 pm
Merano Music Festival, Kursaal, Merano (Italy)
Saturday, 21 September 2019, Peenemünde, 8 pm
Usedom Music Festival, Kraftwerk Museum Peenemünde, Island Usedom (Germany)

Baltic Sea Philharmonic & Kristjan Järvi
Special guest Simone Dinnerstein

Johann Sebastian Bach
arranged by Arman Tigranyan

Steve Reich
Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018)
German premiere

Philip Glass
Piano Concerto No. 3

Georg Friedrich Händel
Too hot to Handel
Concerti Grossi Suite
arranged by Kristjan Järvi