Innovative digital collaboration brings together 21 orchestra musicians under creative direction of Kristjan Järvi
Berlin 24 September 2020. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi today release the second video in their innovative digital project ‘Musical Chain’. The new video, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, is part of the orchestra’s ‘Rewritten Series’ featuring striking transformations and remixes of iconic classical pieces, and follows the release on 23 July of ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. A cutting-edge electronics-infused take on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ features 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The players made recordings at home under the creative direction of Kristan Järvi, who then mixed the tracks and produced the final audio. The eye-catching video is unlike any other orchestral production: the musicians filmed themselves performing outside in atmospheric landscapes, and these scenes are intercut with emotive scenes of love, loss, pain and peace, along with elemental images of nature, cities and space. A professional production team edited the film, creating a dynamic and captivating video that reinvents the 1980s MTV aesthetic for the YouTube generation. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is available to watch on the orchestra’s social media channels.
A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and inspired by the human chains formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, ‘Musical Chain’ brings together musicians from across Europe in a new kind of virtual orchestra collaboration. Launched in July, when the Baltic Sea Philharmonic would have been touring Poland, Germany and Russia were it not for the pandemic, ‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘The pandemic has put us into a situation where we have to come out of our normal groove and comfort zone, our usual structures, methods and routines. We have to create a completely new reason for being, and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Physically we can’t produce the same energy in the same room, but we’re creating a new way to convey our energy and spirit to people around the world who are inspired by what we do and the way we make music.’
The ‘Rewritten Series’ will involve at least 60 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in total by the end of this year. The first video, ‘Midnight Mood’, featured 13 musicians. Since its release on 23 July, ‘Midnight Mood’ has had over 30,000 views on Facebook and more than 20,000 views on YouTube. ‘Midnight Mood’ was also performed live with a full orchestra on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany earlier this month. In addition, the video of ‘Midnight Mood’ accompanied the orchestra’s performances on the opening day of the 27th Usedom Music Festival on 19 September, when Kristjan Järvi and an ensemble of 14 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians, who were replacing Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek at short notice, showcased their own unique take on jazz. The Ostsee-Zeitung praised the performance as ‘art at the highest level, enchanting and accurate to the point’.
Music by Beethoven was also part of the orchestra’s recent concert programmes, and for Kristjan Järvi, the opportunity to celebrate in live performance and with ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ this year’s 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth could not be more important given the global challenges today. He says: ‘In this orchestra we have chosen to come together from many different Baltic Sea countries, overlooking all of our histories and differences and embracing our unity at a time when the world seems to be lacking in humanity. We are trying to escape and come together in something that is truly a vehicle of togetherness and love.’ On the ‘Musical Chain’ remix ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, Järvi comments: ‘If living today, Beethoven would have probably been the least likely to become a what we nowadays consider “classical” composer, but the first to rock the house! “Beethoven’s Twilight” is my homage to his spirit, for what he stood and still stands for, which is people and their potential for ingenuity. Above all, he stood for humanity and their potential, when unified. This remix is channelling Beethoven’s spirit from another dimension.’
The next video in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Rewritten Series’ will be Kristjan Järvi’s take on Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from Swanwhite, a piece that has become one of the orchestra’s favourite encores. This third video is set for release in November.
Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic takes the orchestral concert experience to a new dimension. Every performance is a voyage of musical discovery, as the musicians perform the entire programme from memory, creating a one-of-a-kind artistic journey. Each concert is a unique spectacle of sound, light, visual art and technology, and under the electrifying baton of Music Director and Founding Conductor Kristjan Järvi every performance has a special energy that’s absolutely infectious. But even more than this, as a community of musicians from ten Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic transcends 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.