Concert Reviews

May 15, 2017

SHOSTAKOVICH/SIBELIUS – WIENER KONZERTHAUS, AUSTRIA

5 & 7 May
Wiener Symphoniker, Sol Gabetta

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste ensured an original Finnish sound experience with Sibelius’ second symphony: the towering heights, elfish light reflections and bold eruptions were achieved with technical perfection and a flourishing wealth of colours.”

11 May 2017
Heinz Sichrovsky, news.at

Apr 25, 2017

CHOPIN/SHOSTAKOVICH – PHILHARMONIE DE PARIS, FRANCE

19 & 20 April
Orchestre de Paris, Jan Lisiecki

“The final Allegretto, very complex in format, was especially convincing in the coda, culminating in a storm of applause by the audience for the conductor and the orchestra, then by the musicians for a chief who seems to have truly convinced them.”

20 April 2017
Vincent Guillemin, altamusica

Apr 5, 2017

LINDBERG/SHOSTAKOVICH – KONZERTHAUS BERLIN, GERMANY

31 March & 1 April
Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Anssi Karttunen

“The Konzerthausorchester… guided by Jukka-Pekka Saraste from the deep valleys to the dramatic summits of this rarely performed symphony … without caprice, but with irresistible urge.”

3 April 2017
Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost

Mar 27, 2017

BARTOK/TCHAIKOVSKY – COLOGNE PHILHARMONIE, GERMANY

10 March 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Christian Tetzlaff

“Ja, das war großer, erfüllter “Tschai”, eindringlich im Jedem Moment – mit satt schwelgenden Geigenkantilenen, dramaturgisch makellosen Übergängem, herrlichen Steigerungen und gnoßer Wucht der rhythmischharmonischen Vertikale.
Dem Ende des ersten Satzes wuchs die Qualität eines fast schon Mahler’schen Zusammenbruchs zu, und wie Saraste das zentrale Schicksalsmotiv zunächst als Memento mori inszenierte, diesen Effekt am Ende aber ins Triumphale umkehrte, das war intellektuell wie emotional bestechend.

Das Orchester durfte sich wieder einmal zu beglückwünschen, diesen Chef zu haben.”

“The end of the first movement had an almost Mahlerian quality … captivating both intellectually and emotionally. Once again, the orchestra could congratulate themselves on having such a chief conductor.”

13 March 2017
MaS, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Mar 18, 2017

RACHMANINOV/TCHAIKOVSKY – ALTE OPER, FRANKFURT, GERMANY

5 & 6 March 2017
Frankfurter Opern- Und Museumorchester, Anna Vinnitskaya
“Time and again, Saraste hauled off ravishing dynamic climaxes, without any danger of overstretched accentuation, as can be experienced so frequently elsewhere. The sonic image remained transparent despite its abundance.”

7 March 2017
Gerhard Schroth, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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Feb 23, 2017

SIBELIUS/STRAVINSKY – COLOGNE PHILHARMONIE, GERMANY

17 & 18 February 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Karita Mattila

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste has rarely seemed more inspired than on this evening. He furnished the three excerpts from the stage music for the play “Kuolema” by Arvid Järnefelt, including the famous “Valse triste”, with illustrative urgency. His involvement with Igor Stravinsky’s burlesque “Petrushka” suite seemed almost even stronger. His accurate, steadfast leadership of the orchestra…was combined with a richly colourful energy of sound and a dramatically sharpened impulsiveness. He lent Stravinsky’s music an expectionally strong development … One left the concert with a tingling sensation.”

20 February 2017
Christoph Zimmermann, Kölner General-Anzeiger/Kölnische Rundschau

Jan 20, 2017

BEETHOVEN/SIBELIUS – HEINZ HALL, PITTSBURGH, UNITED STATES

13 & 15 January 2017
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

“And then came the fourth movement, full of energy: Mr. Saraste appeared to be wielding a magic wand, sweeping his hands through the air and prompting the most lively, piquant playing of the work.

I had the same thought after listening to the Sibelius, also conducted from memory. The opening movement, full of moments of tension and release, still feels like a foreshadowing of the finale, encountering a wandering bassoon solo or effervescent plucking of strings along the way.

So the finale feels like a true arrival, and the orchestra nailed it, A fully stocked horn section initiated that swan theme with restraint but purpose, heightening the majestic effect of the second statement.”

14 January 2017
Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dec 18, 2016

SIBELIUS/SCHUMANN/BARTOK – SALLE METROPOLE, LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND

12 & 13 December 2016
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Alisa Weilerstein

“It is always a joy to re-encounter Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the head of the OCL. At the age of 60, the Finnish conductor has nothing to prove anymore. He instils his long experience with symphonic phalanxes into the musicians whilst entirely complying with the contingents of a chamber orchestra. His delicate and expressive gestures as well as his rejection of pathos allow him to illuminate the various facets of Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings. …. The Lover by Sibelius, played at the beginning of the concert, exuded the same subtlety. A beautiful evening …”

14 December 2016
Julian Sykes, Le Temps

Dec 14, 2016

STRAVINSKY – BARBICAN HALL, LONDON, ENGLAND

7 December 2016
BBC Symphony Orchestra

“Saraste’s concern for clarity paid many dividends (feathers ruffled), yet there was no lack of lyricism, tenderness or exquisiteness, and some passages were related directly back to Tchaikovsky; here were forest murmurs, lightness of touch for swiftness and plenty of drama, too, leading to an ‘Infernal Dance’ that was wild, not in speed but in temperament, menace accrued. Significantly, Saraste knocked a few minutes off the average Firebird-1910 timing, but that’s no indication of how each segment was persuasive and that everything belonged to everything else. Solos were full of character and the triumphal ending was glorious.”

“Saraste guided an impressive reading, alive to the Sturm und Drang and onomatopoeic aspects of the first movement… As virile and well-drilled as the opening Allegro spiritoso was, there was room for manoeuvre, as there was in the slow movement, turned and decorated to a nicety and warm-hearted. The Minuet was muscular, the piquant Trio at-one with its surrounds, and the Finale was ideally moderate in tempo so as to give the shortest notes a chance. There was no lack of joie de vivre, however, and this really was a thoroughly agreeable and ‘modern’ rendition of marvellous music.”

7 December 2016
Colin Anderson, Classical Source
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