Baltic Sea Philharmonic single ‘Nutty Christmas’ out now on nEscapes

The music track from ‘Nutty Christmas’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s fourth video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. With ‘Nutty Christmas’, Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic have reimagined music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker in their own unique style, making a very special Christmas gift for listeners around the world. Mixed and produced by Kristjan Järvi, the track features 22 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during late 2020. ‘Nutty Christmas’ is the third single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, came out on 24 September, and the second, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, was released on 5 November. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ single has so far had more than 11,000 streams on Spotify alone, featuring on 54 playlists, with the most listeners coming from the US, UK and Germany. Upcoming ‘Musical Chain’ tracks will be released on nEscapes during 2022.

A unique musical Christmas cracker

‘Nutty Christmas’ takes the ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker and fuses their inimitable melodies with contemporary beats to create a crackling, toasty new version of this iconic Tchaikovsky score. The video for ‘Nutty Christmas’ was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in December 2020 and has since had almost 28,000 views on YouTube and over 72,000 views on Facebook, making it the most popular video in the ‘Musical Chain’ series. Beyond its success online, ‘Nutty Christmas’ was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas 2020.

The ‘Nutty Christmas’ video features musicians of the orchestra, most of whom filmed themselves outside in wintry landscapes and city streets lit up by Christmas decorations. Reflecting the international make-up of the orchestra, the film takes in performances from Wroclaw, Berlin, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Belgrade, Madrid and the countryside of Finland and Lithuania. A professional production team edited the video, which captures the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in a fun and festive mood.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC SINGLE ‘BEETHOVEN’S TWILIGHT’ RELEASED on nEscapes

An extended, six-and-a-half minute version of the music track from ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s second video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is inspired by the composer’s Symphony No. 5. Kristjan Järvi mixed and produced the track, which features 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during the summer of 2020.

‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is the second single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out on 24 September, has had nearly 20,000 streams on Spotify alone. More tracks from the series are set for release on the label later this year and in 2022.

Orchestral energy with an electronic edge
The music for ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ pays homage to the composer’s indomitable spirit, celebrating him as the rock star of his time. The track is at once energetic and mysterious, enlightening but dark, vibrant yet intimate. Its remixing of orchestral sound and electronics channels Beethoven’s spirit as if from another dimension. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in September 2020 and has since had almost 15,000 views on YouTube and 27,000 views on Facebook.

Musical gems recut for the 21st century
The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos launched in July 2020 with ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. After the release of ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the third video in the series was ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out in November 2020. The music for this video is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. The series continued with ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker which was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas in 2020.

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers.

The latest ‘Musical Chain’ video, ‘Midnight Sun’, which was released in August 2021, takes the series in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic single ‘Ascending Swans’ out now on Estonian label nEscapes

The music track of ‘Ascending Swans’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s third video in its innovative digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is out now as a single by Estonian label nEscapes. The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking orchestral transformations of iconic classical pieces, and the music for ‘Ascending Swans’ is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. Kristjan Järvi composed and produced the track, which was recorded by the orchestra in Merano, Italy, in September 2020, during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour. ‘Ascending Swans’ is the first single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes. More tracks from the series will be released on the label later this year and in 2022.

Grace and strength in sound and on screen

The ‘Ascending Swans’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in November 2020. It has since had almost 32,000 views on YouTube and 37,000 views on Facebook, making it the most popular video of the ‘Musical Chain’ series so far. The video combines outdoor footage of 13 musicians from the orchestra with stunning images that celebrate the nature and landscape of the North as autumn turns to winter. ‘Ascending Swans’ reflects the grace, purity and strength of the eponymous birds, many thousands of which fly south from the Arctic in October and November. The swan is a cherished bird of Nordic culture, and is an inspiration to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, whose ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland to internationally renowned festivals earlier this month (3–12 September) featured Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela and Järvi’s own adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as dramatic symphony.

Musical gems recut for the 21st century

The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos launched in July 2020 with ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. The second video, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, which was released in September 2020, is a cutting-edge, electronics-infused take on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Following the release of ‘Ascending Swans’, the series continued in December 2020 with ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in which the ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ are transformed into the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s very own Christmas cracker.

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers. The latest video in the series, ‘Midnight Sun’, released in August 2021, takes ‘Musical Chain’ in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrates return to European touring with exhilarating ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic completed a successful return to European touring on 12 September at the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin, Poland. Last night’s performance with Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi was the culmination of the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Swans’ tour, its first major European tour after 12 months of unprecedented interruptions to live performance because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Between 3 and 12 September, 45 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic travelled 3,660 km, beginning in Italy before journeying to Slovenia, Germany and Poland. A total of around 3,000 concert-goers – with audience numbers limited by Covid restrictions – experienced the orchestra’s unique style and energy at performances in Merano, Verona, Ljubljana, Peenemünde and Szczecin. The musicians played a new swan-themed programme of music by Arvo Pärt, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky entirely from memory. Together with dramatic lighting and sound design, bespoke concert outfits and video projections combined to turn the audience experience into a truly immersive spectacle.

‘Nordic Swans’ – a unique Baltic adventure
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s September 2021 tour celebrated the swan, a cherished bird of Nordic culture. The orchestra opened its programme with Arvo Pärt’s hymn-like Swansong, continued with Sibelius’s evocative The Swan of Tuonela, and brought audiences to their feet with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which Kristjan Järvi had arranged as a dramatic symphony. In signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, the musicians played the entire programme, plus two encores – the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite and Midnight Sun by Kristjan Järvi – by heart. And the orchestra showed itself truly as an ensemble of soloists, with starring roles for cor anglais player Victor Sjögren in The Swan of Tuonela, and in Swan Lake for violinists Kseniia Ivakina, Ilze Gagaine, Malwina Kulisiewicz, Laura Zimka and Evgenia Pavlova, and trumpeter Josep Gómez Alemany, among others. The orchestra’s performances combined exhilarating music making with atmospheric lighting and elegantly crafted sound effects. Special video projections enhanced the swan theme, and bespoke black-and-white concert outfits evoked the impression of swans moving on dark water.

Flying high across Europe
The ‘Nordic Swans’ tour was immediately preceded by rehearsals for the musicians in Bucharest, Romania, where the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi had given two acclaimed concerts on 30 and 31 August at the prestigious Enescu Festival. The orchestra travelled first to Merano in Italy, for its fifth appearance in as many years at the Merano Music Festival. The sold-out concert at the town’s Kursaal on 3 September was recorded by Italia Festival and the video is now available on demand from its website. Writing about the performance for Il Manifesto, Elfi Reiter was struck by the visual impact of the musicians’ outfits, and the pure energy of the playing: ‘The orchestra, in black and white tailored suits with little wings on their sleeves, create the kind of luminous atmosphere that moves body and soul, especially so in the case of Kristjan Järvi, who sometimes even jumps on the podium, the notes he conducts vibrating through the muscles of his body, just as they do in the musicians playing them.’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic also sold out its next concert, at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona on 4 September. The orchestra had last performed at the Teatro Filarmonico in 2015, and this ‘Nordic Swans’ performance was the first concert to take place at the opera house since its closure due to the pandemic. Audience member Stefano Provero thanked the orchestra on Facebook for its return to Verona and for its inspirational reawakening of the Teatro Filarmonico: ‘Grazie! Thank you for coming! It’s still not that great having half audience, all in masks, etc. But after two years finally it’s time to see the light. And you, with your energy and joy in making music, brought light and a new hope. Bravi!’

Next up for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was a debut performance in Slovenia on 6 September. The orchestra’s open-air concert in Ljubljana’s Congress Square, a historic square in the city centre with beautiful views of Ljubljana Castle, was livestreamed on the Ljubljana Festival website.

For the German leg of the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour, the orchestra returned to its spiritual home, the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, for a sold-out concert in Peenemünde on 10 September. This performance was a special concert of the Usedom Music Festival, where the orchestra has played every year since its founding in 2008, and marked the 30th anniversary of Peenemünde’s Historical Technical Museum. Reviewing the concert for the Ostsee-Zeitung, Cornelia Meerkatz wrote of the orchestra’s Swan Lake performance: ‘In Kristjan Järvi’s condensed, dramatic-symphony arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s enormous score, the ballet numbers emerged as fireworks. The orchestra sprang from dance to dance, from waltz to polka to pas de deux, one eruption following another, creating a tumultuous sensation. That the musicians played this enormously difficult score completely by heart, while standing, dancing and smiling, and in constant interaction with each other, bordered on the miraculous.’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic closed a memorable and inspiring ‘Nordic Swans’ tour on 12 September with another debut, this time at the strikingly designed Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic concert hall in Szczecin.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi set an example for more environmental protection with successful Beach Clean-Up campaign

45 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi engaged in a Beach Clean-Up campaign today at the imperial seaside resort of Heringsdorf on the German Baltic Sea island Usedom. ‘We are happy to actively contribute to keeping our beaches clean with this campaign’, says Thomas Hummel, Executive Director of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the Usedom Music Festival. The Beach Clean-Up campaign was a joint initiative by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, the Usedom Music Festival and the Kaiserbäder Usedom right before tomorrow’s special concert of the orchestra at the Usedom Music Festival as part of its current ‘Nordic Swans’ tour.

For more environmental protection in and around the Baltic Sea
On their ‘Nordic Swans’ tour the musicians already travelled several thousand kilometres, from Bucharest to Merano, to Verona and Ljubljana to Usedom. For the orchestra, the Beach Clean Up is a welcome break from the daily routine of touring, says Viktoria Kassel. ‘Everything we do, musically, but also campaign for more environmental awareness are incredibly meaningful. And the fact that we have now arrived at the Baltic Sea to promote more environmental protection is special experience for us;’ explains the oboist, who is part of the orchestra for the first time. The environment, the increasingly drastic effects of marine pollution, has been a topic for the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic for years. Several of the orchestra’s tours and concerts have already been performed to mark their commitment to the environment, the sea, nature and the landscape. In the past, the orchestra has collaborated with the Finnish John Nurminen Foundation, which supports projects dedicated to a ‘clean’ Baltic Sea. Together with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Kristjan Järvi gave the world premiere of the Green Concerto by Finnish composer Severi Pyssalo at the Usedom Music Festival – a resounding call for greater environmental awareness. And the Ministers for the Environment of Finland, Estonia and Russia took over the patronage of the orchestra’s ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour in 2016.

Kristjan Järvi, who is from Estonia and has close ties to the Baltic Sea, summed up the large-scale Beach Clean-Up campaign: ‘The Baltic Sea is our home, the orchestra bears it in its name. Who wants a polluted home?’ In the end, the garbage bags of the musicians did not turn out to be so full after all, because the beaches of the Kaiserbäder are already quite clean. After all, the campaign was also meant to setting an example and other such activities are planned to be incorporated into future tours.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC MAKES ACCLAIMED RETURN TO LIVE PERFORMANCE WITH CONCERTS AT ENESCU FESTIVAL IN BUCHAREST

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrated its long-awaited return to the stage with an acclaimed Romanian debut at the prestigious George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest. The orchestra’s two concerts with Kristjan Järvi at the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall on 30 and 31 August were the ensemble’s first live performances since September 2020, after an enforced break due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic was collaborating in Bucharest for the first time with pianist Maria João Pires and violinist Viktoria Mullova. Pires was soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, which together with Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora and Enescu’s Symphony No. 2 comprised the 30 August programme, ‘Aurora’. The second programme, ‘Nordic Swans’, featured Mullova in Arvo Pärt’s Fratres and the Passacaglia for violin, vibraphone and strings, alongside Pärt’s Swansong and Kristjan Järvi’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as a dramatic symphony. Around 1,000 concert-goers experienced the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s electrifying performances, and the ‘Nordic Swans’ concert was livestreamed on the Enescu Festival website.

A festival of firsts
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s debut at the Enescu Festival was much anticipated by the orchestra’s musicians, who were coming together for the first time in almost a year. A total of 81 players arrived excitedly in Bucharest six days before the first concert, ready for an intensive rehearsal period. Alongside these musicians, this year’s 25th edition of the Enescu Festival (28 August to 26 September 2021) features some 3,400 performers, including some of the greatest orchestras in the world.

The orchestra paid tribute to George Enescu with a performance of his Symphony No. 2 – the first time that the orchestra had performed a work by the great Romanian composer. Kristjan Järvi said of the symphony: ‘This piece has been a real discovery for me. Neither I nor anyone in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic had performed it before, so it was a complete adventure to play it.’ The orchestra played its ‘Nordic Swans’ programme entirely from memory, and greeted standing ovations at both concerts with two favourite encores: Sibelius’s noble ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite, and Kristjan Järvi’s atmospheric Midnight Sun.

‘Nordic Swans’ goes on tour
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will now take ‘Nordic Swans’ on tour to Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland. A new programme for the tour will enhance the swan theme, with Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela featuring alongside Pärt’s Swansong and Järvi’s dramatic-symphony arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The tour begins in Italy on 3 September at the Merano Music Festival, with the next concert at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona on 4 September. The orchestra’s Slovenian debut follows on 6 September with an outdoor concert in Ljubljana, which will be livestreamed on the Ljubljanafestival.si website. After a special concert at the Usedom Music Festival on 11 September, ‘Nordic Swans’ will conclude in Szczecin, Poland, on 12 September, with a performance at the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall.

See photos from the Enescu Festival concerts on Facebook and Instagram, and for more details of ‘Nordic Swan’ tour dates and venues, see our concert calendar here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO MAKE ROMANIAN DEBUT AT ENESCU FESTIVAL IN BUCHAREST – LIVESTREAM ON 31 AUGUST

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is about to make its long-awaited comeback to live performance with a prestigious debut in Romania. The orchestra, which has been away from the stage since September 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, will perform two concerts with conductor Kristjan Järvi at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest on 30 and 31 August. The second concert will be broadcast live on the Enescu Festival website.

Renowned pianist Maria João Pires and leading violinist Viktoria Mullova will join the Baltic Sea Philharmonic for the first time in two different programmes: ‘Aurora’ (30 August) and ‘Nordic Swans’ (31 August). The first of these features Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 and Enescu’s Symphony No. 2. The second programme comprises three pieces by Arvo Pärt – Swansong, Fratres and the Passacaglia for violin, vibraphone and strings – together with Kristjan Järvi’s arrangement of Tchaikovsksy’s Swan Lake as a dramatic symphony.

Both concerts will be performed from memory, and in the innovative, boundary-breaking spirit that makes every performance of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic a unique experience. Kristjan Järvi said of the upcoming concerts: ‘This will be a very emotional experience at the Enescu Festival as it will be our first live performance in a year. I performed at the festival a few years ago and came away with fantastic impressions. Romania is a diverse country, and is an example of what Europe stands for. And in bringing the Baltic Sea Philharmonic to the Black Sea region, from one sea to another, we will show that we’re not only connected by water, but also by song and dance.’

Touring with ‘Nordic Swans’ in September
Immediately after the concerts in Bucharest, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will take ‘Nordic Swans’ on tour to Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland. A new programme for the tour will enhance the swan theme, with Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela featuring alongside Pärt’s Swansong and Järvi’s dramatic-symphony arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The tour starts in Italy with performances at the Merano Music Festival on 3 September and in Verona on 4 September. The orchestra will then make its debut in Slovenia with a livestreamed outdoor concert in Ljubljana on 6 September. After a special concert at the Usedom Music Festival on 11 September, ‘Nordic Swans’ will conclude in Szczecin, Poland, on 12 September, with the orchestra’s first performance in the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall.

Watch the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s performance of ‘Nordic Swans’ live from the Enescu Festival at 16.30 EEST on Tuesday 31 August here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC RELEASES NEW ‘MUSICAL CHAIN’ MUSIC VIDEO AND SINGLE ‘MIDNIGHT SUN’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic today releases a striking new music video, ‘Midnight Sun’, as part of its digital ‘Musical Chain’ series – an innovative online experience. The music for the new production was written and remixed by Kristjan Järvi and recorded by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour in September 2020. With a rock-like drive and sustained build-up of texture and emotional intensity, the music features unique improvisations by Estonian bagpipe player Mari Meentalo. Also today, BMG/Modern Recordings is releasing the audio track of ‘Midnight Sun’ as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version.

The story of ‘Midnight Sun’ – concept and creation
The new video shares its title with one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s signature tour programmes, which is inspired by the phenomenon of the never-setting sun that occurs above the Arctic Circle around midsummer. The ‘Midnight Sun’ video captures the magical light and wonder of the North, with monochrome images of nature and landscapes combining with an eyecatching graphical design comprising constantly moving and changing lines, points and shapes. The video was directed by Berlin-based designer, editor and illustrator Raban Ruddigkeit, who has collaborated with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic since 2016. Jonas Rose, a young designer from Münster, created the animations for the video.

Second release on BMG/Modern Recordings
‘Midnight Sun’ is also being released today as a single by BMG/Modern Recordings. Kristjan Järvi has produced two audio versions – a three-minute radio edit, which is also the basis for the accompanying music video, and a longer version of five minutes. This latest release is the second for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on the label, with the orchestra also featuring on Kristjan Järvi’s debut album for BMG/Modern Recordings, Nordic Escapes.

A new direction for orchestra’s ‘Musical Chain’
The ‘Midnight Sun’ video is the latest release in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s series of innovative music videos, ‘Musical Chain’, which launched in July 2020 and brings musicians from the orchestra together with other creative collaborators. The previous videos in the series all reimagine iconic classical pieces: ‘Midnight Mood’ is based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt; ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is inspired by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony; ‘Ascending Swans’ is based on Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite; and ‘Nutty Christmas’ is a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. These four videos, which have so far reached more than 100,000 people worldwide through the orchestra’s social media channels, all feature footage of Baltic Sea Philharmonic players, alongside colourful visions of nature, cities and people. With its strong graphic-led design and monochrome landscape images, ‘Midnight Sun’ takes ‘Musical Chain’ in a new creative direction while retaining the orchestra’s essential Nordic identity.

‘Musical Chain’ will continue with more international collaborators in the creative process, and with the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic becoming producers of their own audio and video productions. Further audio tracks from the ‘Musical Chain’ videos will be released soon on the Estonian label nEscapes.

Watch the ‘Midnight Sun’ video now on our YouTube channel, and download the single here

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NEW MAX RICHTER ALBUM EXILES WITH THE BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC AND KRISTJAN JÄRVI OUT ON DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Today marks the release of the new Max Richter album EXILES, the label debut of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on Deutsche Grammophon. Kristjan Järvi and the orchestra perform new recordings of pieces from earlier albums by the British-German composer, as well as works originally composed as ballet scores. EXILES, which also addresses important contemporary issues of war, displacement and flight and it is the orchestra’s first major collaboration with Max Richter. Besides ‘Exiles’, a reflection on the humanitarian catastrophe of the refugee crisis in two parts, the album also contains ‘The Haunted Ocean’ from Waltz with Bashir; ‘Infra 5’ from Infra; ‘Flowers of Herself’ from Woolf Works; ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ from The Blue Notebooks; and ‘Sunlight’ from Songs from Before.

That the composer chose the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi for his new album is no coincidence, as he told the British Guardian: ‘The refugee crisis is still with us in different forms,’ Max Richter said, ‘These kinds of transnational problems call for collaboration, they call for a fundamental working together, and a rethinking of what boundaries and borders even mean in 2021.’ The themes of exile, flight and borders, he said, led him to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, which gathers musicians from all the countries of the entire Baltic Sea region, historically divided by wars and politics. The fearlessness and pioneering spirit with which the orchestra develops innovative forms of performance, does not passively dwell on the traditional, and always carries out its mission to overcome borders in the performance and presentation of music, made the Baltic Sea Philharmonic a perfect partner for his compositions, which he calls ‘activist music’.

It was also this joy of creative discovery that brought Max Richter, Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic together in September 2019. EXILES was recorded at the studio of Estonian Public Broadcasting in Järvi’s home city of Tallinn, Estonia, in the presence of the composer. The album represents the orchestra’s first major collaboration with Max Richter, although his compositions have previously featured on the programmes of Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts. Richter and Järvi have worked together on various other projects, including with the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, when Järvi was the orchestra’s chief conductor and Richter was artist in residence for its 2016/17 season.

Lights of openness and unity
Max Richter composed the main work on the album, the 33-minute ‘Exiles, for the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the music had its premiere in 2017 as the score for a dance work called Singulière Odyssée. Like some other Richter works, ‘Exiles has a socio-political dimension, in that it is a personal response to the humanitarian disaster of the migrant crisis and the plight of Syrian refugees. Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic take up this theme and in doing so also reflect their own points of view. Tearing down the borders and ideological walls between East and West are still important concerns for conductor and orchestra. ‘Every orchestra is a microcosm of society, and our society is completely non-hierarchical,’ says Kristjan Järvi, who went into exile in America from Soviet Estonia with his family while still a child in the late 1970s. ‘Borders no longer exist here, because today the Baltic Sea is the kit that holds all the countries EU or non-EU, Slavic or non-Slavic together as a cultural unit. Here the states are reborn as one orchestra.’

Find out more about how we made the album EXILES in our storyboard here

Max Richter: EXILES
Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded at Eesti Rahvusringhääling (Estonian Public Broadcasting), Tallinn, Estonia, September 2019

Music composed by Max Richter
Orchestra Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Conductor Kristjan Järvi

Tracklist
Flowers of Herself (from Woolf Works)
On the Nature of Daylight (from The Blue Notebooks)
The Haunted Ocean (from Waltz with Bashir)
Infra 5 (from Infra)
Sunlight (from Songs from Before)
Exiles

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‘NORDIC SWANS’ TOUR OF ITALY, SLOVENIA, GERMANY AND POLAND IN SEPTEMBER 2021

After 12 months of unprecedented interruptions to live performance, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are set to return to European touring in September 2021. The orchestra’s ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland from 3–12 September will feature performances in Merano, Verona, Ljubljana, Peenemünde/Usedom and Szczecin. All concerts will depend on the progress of the pandemic.

Following two days of rehearsal in Bucharest, where the orchestra is making its debut at the Enescu Festival on 30 and 31 August, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will begin the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour at the Merano Music Festival (3 September). The orchestra’s next concert is at Verona’s Teatro Filarmonico (4 September), where it last played in 2015. A debut for the ensemble in Ljubljana follows on 6 September, before the musicians travel to Germany for the Usedom Music Festival celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Peenemünde Historical-Technical Museum on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom (11 September). The tour will conclude with a livestreamed debut for the orchestra at Szczecin’s strikingly designed Philharmonic Hall (12 September).

‘Nordic Swans’ – celebrating a Baltic bird of beauty
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new programme is inspired by one of nature’s noblest creatures – the swan. This majestic bird is often visible on the Baltic coast, especially at sunset. For the Romantics, the swan was a symbol of loyalty, purity and elegance. A swan draws the hero’s boat in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin and appears in the Finnish national poetry epic Kalevala. Kristjan Järvi explains his fascination with the bird: ‘Swans are creatures of great purity and beauty, and all the Nordic countries have them in their culture, which is why we’re focusing the repertoire in this way.’ The programme opens with Arvo Pärt’s hymn-like and contemplative Swansong, and continues with the most well-known of Sibelius’s Four Legends from the Kalevala, The Swan of Tuonela. The programme climaxes with the world’s most popular music on the theme of swans, Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake, in a special reworking by Kristjan Järvi. Explaining his aim was to ‘highlight the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s epic work’ and also ‘keep the music alive for younger generations’, Järvi arranged the score as a Dramatic Symphony that combines the composer’s famous melodies with more rarely heard sections of the original ballet. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s recording of Järvi’s similarly inspired arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty was released on Sony Classical in November 2020 and nominated for the Opus Klassik 2021 in the categories ‘Ensemble/Orchestra of the Year’ and ‘Symphonic Recording of the Year’.

A unique spectacle of multisensory dimensions
For Kristjan Järvi, the swan also inspires a sense of wonder, and of being transported to a different dimension. ‘It is the symbol of a majestic feeling of infinity,’ he says. ‘And this is what I try to instil in people with everything that I do – to think with a sense of the infinite.’ The Baltic Sea Philharmonic embodies this ambition in its innovative approach to performance presentation, offering audiences a transformative, multisensory experience that throws classical concert conventions out of the window.

For its ‘Nordic Swans’ concerts, the orchestra will perform the entire 90-minute programme from memory and without an intermission, with most of the musicians standing up and able to move freely without the constraints of music stands and scores. Specially devised choreography and bespoke half-black and half-white concert outfits will subtly combine to conjure an impression of swans dancing and moving on dark water. Dynamic lighting design will add to the vivid atmosphere, and the musical performance will feature elegantly crafted digital sound effects. All these elements aim to inspire in audiences a deeper and more immediate understanding of the music, and they also reflect the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s innovative and experimental approach and its desire to add an extra dimension to every performance.

Join the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour and book you concert tickets here

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