Sep 30, 2016
Aug 16, 2016
WDR Chief Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste on the Sibelius anniversary and his Sibelius concert at the Cologne Philharmonie
Mr. Saraste, you have just rehearsed Sibelius’ Fourth Symphony with the WDR Symphony Orchestra. Are German orchestras able to do Sibelius?
It always depends on the tradition. And it is obvious: The Fourth is still rather “new” in Germany – as opposed to the First or the Second or even the Seventh which contains much Wagner. But the Fourth is really difficult – the musical language is so “plain” and at the same time so profound – this has nothing to do with Brahms or Mahler.
Have you been able to make this accessible to the orchestra?
It gets better and better. We have done much Sibelius together after all. But once again: The Fourth is something special, in fact there is no model. It is somewhat similar to Webern – one has to find these exact sounds.
Apr 8, 2016
— How did you first get interested in Sibelius?
It was actually the Fourth Symphony that made the biggest impact on me, and I think contact with some interpretations, for example Paavo Berglund, reinforced my interest, and the way he was conducting made me convinced that there’s an incredible truth in the music, which I didn’t discover so early in the other symphonies – with No. 2, for example, it took a long time before I was completely ready for it.
— What was the first work by Sibelius that you ever conducted, and what was the occasion?
It must have been No. 2, when I was in the music camp of Lapua, and had a youth/student/festival orchestra at that music camp.
Mar 30, 2015
Axel Carpelan was a nobleman; a lonely individual who was too frail and weak to work. Yet he was very highly educated and was self-taught in the arts. He became acquainted with Sibelius, embarking on a friendship with the composer which involved not only being an admirer of his talent, but also intuitively seeing where he should be going and which choices he should make. He even offered his personal opinion on the different versions or solutions in the compositions which Sibelius presented to him.