Friday, January 27, 2012

Berglund's silence of Jarvenpaa

Nielsen's Fifth Symphony has been well served by the record industry. I grew to love it through a long-deleted 1975 LP. Producer David Mottley and engineer Stuart Eltham captured the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paavo Berglund in that wonderfully rich yet realistic sound that was the hallmark of EMI's recordings of the period. Simon Rattle said of Berglund "He is one of the great conductors still among us", an opinion I will happily concur with. I remember a blistering Shostakovich Seventh Symphony in the acoustically magnificent Caird Hall in a freezing Dundee in the 1980s, with Berglund conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Paavo Berglund's 80th birthday passed unnoticed on April 14, 2009. The reason is not difficult to find. The Finnish maestro has never been part of classical music's PR circus. One lasting memory of Berglund [seen above] is his Shostakovich in an arctic Dundee. Another is an appearance by him on BBC Radio 3's In Tune programme a couple of years back. Presenter Sean Rafferty was in the studio in London, Berglund was being interviewed over a line from Scotland where he was conducting. Sean Rafferty asked his usual fawning and vacuous questions. Berglund refused to answer in anything but monosyllables. As Berglund became more taciturn Rafferty became more voluble (if that is possible) until the interview ground to a halt. If it was available on CD it would be a best seller.
From The Uncertainty Principle - May 2009. Paavo Berglund died on Jan 25, 2012. Thanks for the music and for the wisdom Paavo.

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