Berlin, 24 May 2017:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi to tour Sweden, Germany and Italy in August 2017

  • ‘Baltic Folk’ tour will be orchestra’s second tour of 2017
  • Repertoire focuses on Russia and includes much-loved works by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky
  • Musicians to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird entirely from memory
  • Orchestra to collaborate with acclaimed young Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev

Berlin, 24 May 2017. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will tour Sweden, Germany and Italy this August with a folk-inspired programme of music by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Arvo Pärt. ‘Baltic Folk’ will be the orchestra’s second tour of 2017, after its ‘Waterworks’ tour of Germany and Denmark in May.

The ensemble begins its ‘Baltic Folk’ tour on 19 August 2017 in Visby, on the Island of Gotland in Sweden. It then performs at the Rheingau Music Festival in Germany on 20 August, before concluding the tour on 23 August with a performance at the Merano Music Festival in Italy.

Two Russian masterpieces and a spiritual gem by Arvo Pärt

The repertoire for the tour has a strong Russian focus, and sets the poetic nostalgia of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 alongside the fairy-tale magic of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. But the programme begins with the contemplative, hymn-like Swansong by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. This piece is an orchestration of Pärt’s earlier choral composition Littlemore Tractus, which sets words from a sermon that the influential theologian John Henry Newman preached in 1843 in the English village of Littlemore.

Kristjan Järvi likens the music of Swansong to a village waltz: ‘Sometimes this waltz is slightly bitter, at other times nostalgic, but in the end it turns into something very hopeful, in its yearning for warmth and light.’ For Järvi, this sense of longing and transformation is paralleled, in music of an altogether more epic and exotic style, in The Firebird, with its theme of rebirth. Of the ever-popular Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto, he says: ‘It is the most nostalgic, the most Russian-themed concerto ever.’

A young star in the making

Joining the Baltic Sea Philharmonic to perform the Rachmaninoff concerto will be the 15-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Kristjan Järvi says of his new collaborator: ‘Alexander is already a rising star in Russia and has been acclaimed by some of the country’s greatest musicians. I am pleased that we can introduce him to a wider international audience.’

Performing from memory

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will make a further adventurous shift from orchestral conventions on its ‘Baltic Folk’ tour by performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird without sheet music. For Kristjan Järvi, this is not so much a technical exercise or mental feat, but more an evolution in how musicians communicate. ‘Performing The Firebird from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ he says. ‘It should feel like the players are improvising music that they have known for a long time.’

Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a new paradigm for music making in the 21st century. Its concerts are a unique spectacle of sound, light, projection art and choreography, and its performances, under the electrifying baton of Music Director Kristjan Järvi, have a special passion and energy that’s infectious. But more than this, as a community of musicians from ten countries, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic transcends geographical and historical boundaries and has become a movement for bringing people together. Embodying all that is innovative and progressive about the Nordic region, this visionary ensemble is taking the traditional orchestral model further than ever before. ‘It is a living breathing creature, with boundless energy and enthusiasm for the new – an adventure in itself,’ says Kristjan Järvi.