Alexander von Zemlinsky:
Die Seejungfrau (new critical version)
Sinfonietta op. 23 (arr. Roland Freisitzer)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
John Storgårds, conductor
ODE 1237-5 (SACD)
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Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra appoints John Storgårds as Principal Guest Conductor.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra strengthened its artistic leadership with the appointment of John Storgårds as its Principal Guest Conductor. Storgårds made his conducting debut with the NAC Orchestra in 2013 with an all-Finnish program to great acclaim, and last year shaped and conducted the orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No 8. His appointment is a three-year contract.
Commenting on the appointment, NAC Music Director Designate Alexander Shelley said, “I’m thrilled that distinguished Finnish conductor John Storgårds has accepted this post. I admire his work and look forward to his exciting artistic contribution.”
“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to be working more with the NAC Orchestra in the coming seasons. They are great musicians and we have already collaborated on two successful ‘test-drives.’ Our rapport was excellent,” said Storgards.
Consistent praise has followed this vibrant orchestra throughout its history of touring both nationally and internationally, recording, and commissioning Canadian works. Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, under the direction of renowned conductor/violinist/violist Pinchas Zukerman, continues to draw accolades both abroad and at home in Ottawa where it gives over 100 performances a year. Storgårds will be the second Principal Guest Conductor in the NAC Orchestra’s history; the other was the late Franz-Paul Decker, who held the position from 1991 to 1999.
6. May 2015, Helsinki Music Centre Concert Hall
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Early evidence of the Storgards effect came in Beethoven's "Fidelio" Overture. Though brief, the program opener spoke volumes about the man on the podium, revealing him to be an artist of bold intention and possessed of both theatrical and lyrical insight. Not until later did the audience learn he's also an artist of great resolve. Under Saturday's conditions, plenty of musicians would have foundered, fallen victim to distraction by the incredible sights and sounds of nature. Not Storgards. Under duress, he responded by producing incredible Sibelius [Symphony 2]. In that sense, the evening hardly could have turned out any better. Cleveland.com 28 July 2014 The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Center The third piece of the matinee was a vivid performance of the more cheerful Pastorale d’été by Arthur Honegger. This pastoral was composed during a summer holiday on the Alps. The strings, woodwinds and horn worked together to depict the peaceful sensation of a summer idyll. The whole orchestra was vibrating with sentiment at the hands of Storgårds’s light yet impassioned gesture. Bachtrack.com 10 August 2014 The Lapland Chamber Orchestra at The BBC Proms Storgårds had begun by conducting the strings-only Bach [C. P. E Bach's Hamburg] symphony from the violin, a bracing performance more about urgency than suaveness; to end, he shaped the Sibelius suite [Rakastava] with such naturalness that no one would have ever guessed it began life as a work for male-voice choir. The Guardian 11 August 2014 The Lapland Chamber Orchestra at The BBC Proms And who was the driving force behind all this [Holst's "The Hymn of Jesus"]? Conductor John Storgårds [...] It was him who gave us the delightful contrasts of tone and timbre with which the Holst was replete; and who supplied that remarkable energy that fired 'The Heav'nly Spheres make music for us' passage, which he drove particularly impressively. He also teased out those eerie Planets-like touches and gave the work such a satisfying overall structure.
Cleveland.com 28 July 2014 The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Center