Review: Conductor Is Sight and Sound to Cherish; PAAVO BERGLUND Philharmonic Hall

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), October 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

Review: Conductor Is Sight and Sound to Cherish; PAAVO BERGLUND Philharmonic Hall


Byline: JOE RILEY

WHILE soloists usually arrive matched to specific repertoire, conductors nowadays are less inclined to be categorised.

But there are those who find themselves irrevocably associated with particular composers and national schools of composition.

One such example is the Finnish maestro Paavo Berglund who, for more than 30 years, has been a premier champion of the music of his fellow countryman, Jean Sibelius.

So to see him at work on the composer's famous Violin Concerto, with Russian Dmitry Sitkovetsky as soloist, was a sight and sound to cherish.

A Sibelius symphony would have allowed more focus on Berglund who, following recent illness, presided from a high rehearsal stool set on the rostrum.

He may have looked like Timothy West doing a take on Thomas Beecham, but what emanated from his economical, often down-pointing baton strokes was distinctly home-made.

He is a man at ease with turning the phrase and easing the tempo in a way that can make Sibelius sound cosier and less emotionally brittle than in the hands of other Europeans.

Sitkovetsky concentrated on fulfilling the fiendish demands prompted by Sibelius's frustrated wishes to be a violin virtuoso himself. …

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