Midnight Sun – magical Arctic soundscapes

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will return to the Berlin Philharmonie and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie this summer with ‘Midnight Sun’, an exciting new programme that the orchestra will perform entirely from memory

‘Midnight Sun’ is at once a celebration of nature and Nordic unity. The phenomenon of the sun never setting at night is experienced around the time of the summer solstice in the far north of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia and other countries that straddle the Arctic Circle. ‘It’s a phenomenon that only the populations of the north are favoured with,’ says Kristjan Järvi. ‘It unites Nordic communities, and with this musical programme we are reiterating that message of Nordic unity.’

‘Midnight Sun’ opens with Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, his concerto for birds and orchestra that features taped birdsong recorded around the Arctic Circle and in the marshlands of Liminka in northern Finland. Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen, who made her debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on its 2018 ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, returns to perform four works with the orchestra: Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora, which is inspired by the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights; Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, a classic example of his ‘tintinnabuli’ style; Pēteris Vasks’s meditative second violin concerto ‘Lonely Angel’; and Dona Nobis Pacem by German-born British composer Max Richter. ‘Midnight Sun’ climaxes with more magical light, this time courtesy of the mythical Firebird of Russian folklore, in the form of Stravinsky’s 1945 orchestral version of his great ballet The Firebird.

The Estonian singer/songwriter Mick Pedaja who already performed with the orchestra on their recent ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour in March 2019, will also join as a spe for ‘Midnight Sun’. Mick’s subtle electronic textures, and his pure, soulful singing is also inspired by the magical beauty of Nordic landscapes and therefore the perfect fit.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will play the entire ‘Midnight Sun’ programme from memory, bringing a thrilling extra dimension to the performance. ‘Performing from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ says Järvi. Playing by heart intensifies the connection between the players, bringing them closer together, and is a natural reflection of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s mission to unite people across the whole Nordic region.

Recruiting new musical talent

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic regularly auditions the best and brightest young musicians from across the Baltic Sea region in order to renew and refresh the pool of outstanding players who perform with the orchestra on tour. In March the orchestra already ran a successful Talent Tour 2019 alongside the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia. In June the Talent Tour will be completed with a Talent Day in Berlin on 25 June. Find out more about the Talent Tour here.

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

‘Midnight Sun’ Tour  

Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Berlin (Philharmonie), Germany
Saturday, 29 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Ossiach, Austria
Tuesday, 2 July 2019, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany

Programme ‘Midnight Sun’
Baltic Sea Philharmonic & Kristjan Järvi
Mari Samuelsen
& special guest Mick Pedaja

Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus Op. 61
Kristjan Järvi: Aurora for violin and orchestra
Arvo Pärt: Fratres for violin, percussion and string orchestra
Pēteris Vasks: Vientulais Engelis (Lonely Angel), Meditation for violin and string orchestra
Max Richter: Dona Nobis Pacem
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)