October 2021

Haydn: London Symphonies Nos. 94, 99 and 105

At the concert of Paavo Järvi and his Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with three late Haydn symphonies on Sunday in the Elbphilharmonie, one was a little reminded of the orchestra’s overwhelming Beethoven project a good decade ago. With Beethoven, too, the Kammerphilharmonie had set in motion a completely new dynamic in the interpretation of classical symphonies.

Haydn in particular has to be played as vividly as possible, and deliberately sometimes quite unconventionally, so that the hidden wit of his symphonies comes to the fore. And Paavo Järvi, Artistic Director of the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen for almost two decades, and his orchestra are true masters at this
Hamburger Abendblatt, Helmut Peters, 18 October 2021

The consummate work of Artistic Director Järvi and his joyful orchestra brings out the musical motifs with awe and at the same time irresistible wit … Thus the originality of Haydn’s late symphonies numbers 94, 99 and his final number 104 unfold in all their sophistication, elegance and virtuosity … An evening full of visual and acoustic stimuli that meet Viennese demands and are greeted with bravos and long applause.
Wiener Zeitung, 19 October 2021

Järvi and his musicians have a particular penchant for this – and showed it not only, but also in the minuets, which have long since left the courtly parquet in favour of the bourgeois dance floor. But already in the first movement of the “Paukenschlag-Symphonie” there was a delicious Hmtata, in the underestimated number 99 the soloistic somersaults of the wind instruments (with clarinets!) were a delight in the finale. And in the final number 104, everything came to the fore once again: Seriousness and grandeur, bouncy rhythms at brisk but not frantic tempi, baroque austerity, contrapuntal art, exuberant joy in playing.
Die Presse, Walter Weideringer, 20 October 2021


August 2021

Schumann: Piano Concerto
Schubert: Symphony No.8 ‘Great’


“In the performance of Schubert’s ‘Great’ C major symphony, Järvi and his Zurich orchestra underscore the impression that was already apparent before the intermission: that they are a true dream team. Not only because of the phenomenal sound culture and discipline of the ensemble. But above all because they explore the vast landscapes of Schubert’s music with an irrepressible love of discovery … Paavo Järvi leads lovingly, tightly and naturally, breathing with his musicians and creating vivid contrasts. In doing so, he delights with a rich palette of colors. Especially the pianissimo is breathtaking and touches something deep inside us. Difficult to explain, but all the more clearly to be felt …”
Hamburger Abendblatt, Marcus Stäbler, 21 August 2021

“Paavo Järvi gives grandeur to the ‘C Major Symphony D 944′ to the musicians’ evident delight. In an all-around rapid tempo, interspersed with relentlessly surging worlds of impulse, an intoxicating buzz emerges, finely graduated in the homogeneous registers … In this form and constellation, the Tonhalle Orchestra can once again be counted among the best addresses in international orchestral culture.”
Kieler Nachrichten, Christian Strehk, 20 August 2021

“… an orchestra of irrepressible joy of playing, was always able to fulfill Järvi’s spirited tempo. Thus the audience experienced a wonderfully tuned Ninth by Schubert, the ‘Great’ in C major, which thus impressively complemented the series of Schubert compositions that the SHMF had focused on this year. Järvi was delighted, already passing on his joy at the orchestra’s performance as he played. This had an effect on the musicians, whose enjoyment of precision was increasingly evident. And it had an effect on the audience, who applauded for a long time and were gifted with a wonderfully tender ‘Valse triste’ by Sibelius.”
NMZ, 25 August 2021


“Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony …  lasts 60 minutes, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under Paavo Järvi interprets it as an ingenious panorama of Schubertian sounds and motifs, from the call of the horns at the beginning to the stormy gallop in the finale. In between, one hears sublime sounds of nature, rousing romantic élan, serenity and melancholy.”
Der Standard, Miriam Damev, 23 August 2021

“… Järvi let us hear why he is one of the most sought-after conductors …. The second movement was disturbing. He clearly set the general pause. It seemed like a pause, a reorientation. Softly, questioningly, the low strings continued in pizzicato. The dancelike sounded with verve. In the final movement, Järvi closed the circle.”
Der Kurier, Susanne Zöbl, 26 August 2021


“Järvi constantly highlighted the contrasts of the score, with gentleritardandos and suddenaccelerandos, which made for exciting listening. Phrases were lovingly presented. The cathedral movement was full of grandeur, Järvi did not waver from a steady gait, maintaining power and tension.”
Seen and Heard International, John Rhodes, 26 August 2021

“In the middle movement, in which the demons of Schumann’s diabolical syphilis disease first whispered the theme of his very last ‘Ghost Variations’, the musicians find an intimacy and a quiet glow that reconciles even the last with the work: regardless of whether it is a product of the burgeoning madness – or merely a problematic piece.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Christian Wildhagen, 27 August, 2021

“… the Tonhalle Orchestra gives the audience one of those moments where they can just sit back and submerge themselves.”
Schweiz am Wochenende, Luzerner Zeitung, Roman Kühne, 27 August 2021



MOZART: Piano Concerto No.24 with Víkingur Ólafsson
SCHUMANN: Symphony No.3 “Rhenish”

“After months of concert abstinence, music finally came back to the public in the Concertgebouw on Friday evening… It was difficult not to be moved when Paavo Järvi conducted the opening of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.24…”
Het Parool, Erik Voermans, 17 April 2021

“How many exclamation points are needed to describe the feeling to finally hear the splendor, richness and depth of the KCO (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) sound again. Played with Beethovian seriousness, the opening bars of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.24 already caused goosebumps that raged to your head and toes.”
NRC Handeslblad, Rahul Gandolahage, 17 April 2021

“…Víkingur Ólafsson, who made his debut with the orchestra, grabbed his audience by the scruff of the neck… So did the almost forgotten sound sensations from Robert Schumann’s Third Symphony, that piece of romanticism from 1851. How beautiful, plucking double basses! How we missed them, throbbing horns and trombones! And oh yes, that’s how friendship buzzes between cellos and bassoons. In normal times we had speculated whether the Estonian-American guest conductor Paavo Järvi was on the list of dreamy chief conductors. He must be well suited to the orchestra that took him on tour to Taiwan and Japan in November 2019… Now it suffices: Järvi sent so much energy and poetry through Schumann that the audience thanked him with cheering, whistling and foot-drumming.”
Volkskrant, Guido van Oorschot, 17 April 2021 ★★★★★

“Järvi’s way with Schumann’s ‘Rhenish’ Symphony has long been invigorating… Playing with time, flexing Schumann’s phrases, bringing his syntax to life, can be a recipe for disaster. Not in Järvi’s hands. He’s a musician who conceives every gesture as an organic event, placed and breathing. Articulate music-making, economy at a premium, doing no more than necessary yet electric. Uplifting.”, Ates Orga,16 April 2021



BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No.5 with Igor Levit
PROKOFIEV: Symphony No.6

“…this is a lithe, joyous Beethoven “Emperor” Concerto, only fitfully grandiose when the passing moment requires. The orchestra under Järvi is as supple and winged as Levit in his solo passages, and this is that rare thing, a true concerto partnership.”
The Arts Desk, David Nice, 9 March 2021

“The score [of Prokofiev’s 6th Symphony] not only requires a cohesive orchestra with extraordinary principal players, but also a conductor with a strong hand and a deep understanding of the circumstances in which the work was created. Paavo Järvi rose to the occasion. He did not seek easy effects, but carefully constructed a firm structure, emphasising continuity.”, Edward Sava-Segal, 8 March 2021

“…At the rostrum, Järvi brought out all the symphonism of the ‘Emperor’ Concerto to life, especially in the second idea, and as Levit began playing, all the intimacy of the music emerged – sounding almost aristocratic in his music-making.”, Gregor Tassie, 7 March 2021

“A concert in the major and minor of E-flat, Paavo Järvi, wisdom, experience and humanity to the fore, bringing to the mix insightful cameos of relaxed after-dinner conversationalist and urbane historical commentator… This was an epic reading [of Prokofiev Symphony No.6], powerful it its profundity, theatre and tension. Russian novel, torn apart history, games and pranks, sarcasm and ballet all rolled into one intense canvas. The Berliners responded magnificently, gold-plated at every turn, safe in their excellence, safe in the hands of a master conductor. Not a journey I would have wanted to miss.”, Ates Orga, 8 March 2021

“Paavo Järvi beglückt die Berliner Philharmoniker und uns digitale Zuhörer mit einem unverbindlichen Beethoven. Der tönt flott, beweglich, aufregend, dynamisch wunderbar flexibel und vor allem zackig und schlank. Aber auch leichtgewichtig und nur scheinbar konfrontativ.”, 8 March 2021



TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham
RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No.2

“Le dialogue avec l’orchestre est irréprochable, Paavo Järvi et Gil Shaham semblent être sur la même longueur d’onde, l’un sachant tempérer momentanément ses ardeurs pour laisser celles de l’autre s’exprimer avec plus l’exaltation, ou tous deux se répondant, s’équilibrant, se soutenant selon une entente jamais mise en défaut.”, Sylvain Gaulhiac, 4 October 2020

“On pourrait attendre par la suite un caractère plus slave, plus accrocheur ou plus en gravité de la partition, mais le soliste la maîtrise de bout en bout, et Järvi l’accompagne par un orchestre remarquable par ses bois, flûte et hautbois solos en tête.”, Vincent Guillemin, 30 September 2020

“En revanche, Daphnis et Chloé, au tissu orchestral plus dense, retrouve de belles couleurs ravéliennes sur une dynamique soutenue, dans un phrasé plus descriptif et plus tendu sollicitant tous les pupitres d’un Orchestre de Paris irréprochable de bout en bout.”, Patrice Imbaud, 1 October 2020



PÄRT: “La Sindone“ (revised version 2019)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.7
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No.4 with Lars Vogt

“Was für ein Saison-Auftakt! Wow! Schon lange nicht mehr so toll musizierten Beethoven gehört! Bravi! Arvo Pärts „La Sindone“ als monumental-emotionaler Einstieg, anschliessend Beethovens 7. Sinfonie mit atemberaubenden Tempi. Grossartig!…”
Archimbodis World, 24 September 2020

“Tonhalle-Chefdirigent Paavo Järvi ist ja auch sonst nicht einer, der auf Routine setzt. Aber wie er Beethovens 4. Klavierkonzert mit geradezu diebischer Freude aus den üblichen Gleisen hob, wie er die Musik im Einklang mit Lars Vogt zurückhielt und aufputschte und tanzen liess, wie er Beethovens Esprit betonte, ohne damit Pärts Innigkeit zu übertönen: Das war dieses speziellen Saisonstarts mehr als würdig.”
Tages-Anzeiger, Susanne Kübler, 24 September 2020

“So feurig, so frei von jeglicher Routine hat man das herrliche Werk (Beethovens 4. Klavierkonzert) lange nicht gehört.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Christian Wildhagen, 24 September 2020

“That said, the assurance that the Tonhalle Maag is committed to music as fine as this, while carefully observing corona restrictions, was an encouraging sign, and the audience showed its enthusiasm with resounding applause.”, Sarah Batschelet, 25 September 2020

“Corona macht aus einem halben Konzert ein ganzes – das Tonhalle-Orchester eröffnete gestern seine Saison mit umsichtigen Massnahmen und entfesselter Musik.”, Herbert Büttiker, 23 September 2020

“The final Allegro con brio was a real explosive helter-skelter, with Järvi relishing it, taking the movement at a very fast lick. He and the orchestra were rewarded by a standing ovation and lengthy applause. We were all pleased to be back.”
Seen and Heard International, John Rhodes, 26 September 2020



RAVEL: Le tombeau de Couperin
SHOSTAKOVICH: Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet and strings with Benjamin Grosvenor
MOZART: Symphony No.41 in C, K551 (Jupiter)

“Replacing Esa-Pekka Salonen, if without changing the programme, Paavo Järvi opened with Le tombeau de Couperin, Ravel’s tribute to friends lost in World War One, expressive music located through a Baroque lens … The Philharmonia Orchestra responded supersensitively to its unexpected if familiar guest-conductor, Järvi choosing well-judged tempos to keep things bubbling along and on-track without denuding the score’s veiled tears and the need for crisp but not robotic articulation …”
Classical Source, Colin Anderson, 9 September 2020

“The Menuetto allegretto danced, Järvi conducting with a broad smile and big round gestures that gave the music a rolling gait. The final movement is the crowning glory of this symphony, and a suitable finale to Mozart’s symphonic output. Here the natural trumpets soared, the period timps had edge … The climax, when the five themes are combined in triumphant counterpoint, is irresistible.”
The Arts Desk, Bernard Hughes, 10 September 2020



Järvi deftly juxtaposed the gentle, elegant sections with the energetic, joyous passages; there were many light touches to be enjoyed. Many of the orchestral players had smiles on their faces as they played, always a good sign. The second movement impressed with the beauty of the muted string section, the third bounced along gleefully. The Finale, Allegro con spirito, lit up the hall with its spectacular string displays over two octaves, so-called ‘Mannheim rockets’, glistening like fireworks.
Seen and Heard International, John Rhodes, 21 August 2020



“What a difference a year makes. Last July, I was basking on the white sands of Pärnu, Estonia’s summer capital, dotted about with spa hotels and pretty dachas. I was there to attend Paavo Järvi’s labour of love, the Pärnu Music Festival. With international travel the last thing on my mind in the wake of Covid-19, it is still possible to enjoy this summer’s festival tenth edition from a safe distance, with all the concerts streamed on its website, along with the Järvi Academy conducting masterclasses.”, Mark Pullinger, 16 July 2020

“The festival week, in essence, was unchanged in the love and skill of the players, passionately devoted to Paavo Järvi …”
The Arts Desk, David Nice, 25 July 2020

“In der Heimat von Zürichs Musikdirektor Paavo Järvi ist das Unvorstellbare derzeit möglich. Järvis Festival in Pärnu wird zu einem Traum von verlorener Normalität.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Regine Müller, 27 July 2020

“Over time, the Estonian Festival Orchestra has become one of the most interesting European orchestras, and they sounded very virtuoso and reflective in Pärnu. The members of the orchestra count musicians from some of the leading orchestras in Europe, but a positive effect of COVID-19 was that there were far more Estonian musicians represented than ever before. And that has been the long-term goal: to bring local musicians to a higher level. So in a strange – but logical – way, the travel restrictions meant that this year’s reorganized festival was more Estonian than ever before, with music by Erkki-Sven Tüür, Tõnu Kõrvits and Lepo Sumera. We heard Estonian soloists, and for one concert no less than seven Estonian conductors performed.”
Klassisk Denmark, Andrew Mellor, 22 July 2020

“Paavo Järvi has made a lot of efforts to create a festival that will not only gain international resonance, but also make a lasting contribution to Estonian music life and maintain its warm, friendly atmosphere. That is why so much attention is paid to the training of young musicians. Young people who take part in master classes and play in the Järvi Academy Orchestra spend a week with professionals and watch the rehearsals of the Estonian Festival Orchestra.”
Diena Latvia, Jegors Jerohomovics, 9 August 2020

“Das Orchester schlage aus dieser Dichte spielerische Funken. … Die Angst, sich anzustecken, verfliegt in seligen Momenten, wenn man erlebt, wie Paavo Järvi Beethoven dirigiert. Das macht ihm derzeit keiner nach. Das ziemlich rechtwinklige, starre Hauptthema im Kopfsatz des ersten Klavierkonzerts federt vom ersten Takt an: ein Marsch voller Grazie, freundlich, biegsam, zugewandt. Allein die Arbeit mit den Hörnern wäre eine eigene Betrachtung wert: Wie sie gereizt schnarren können, sich dann wieder zärtlich an Streicher und Oboen anschmiegen – das ist gestalterische Virtuosität im Detail.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Jan Brachmann, 21 July 2020

“Fundament des Festivals ist sein Orchester (EFO), das innerhalb von zehn Jahren zu einem Topklangkörper reifte und seinem Vorbild, dem Budapest Festival Orchestra, prächtig nacheifert. Der Durchlauf zur Weltspitze ist umso erstaunlicher, als diese Gemeinschaft bloss zehn Tage in Pärnu und auf einer dem Festival folgenden Tournee existiert.”
Schweiz am Wochende, Christian Berzins, 25 July 2020



“Das NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo spielt Toru Takemitsus „How Slow the Wind“ – und man meint, den seidenmatten Firnis eines an Debussy und Ravel geschulten französischen Klangkörpers zu vernehmen. Dann liegt Bruckners „Siebte“ auf den Pulten – und aus der Mitte leuchtet die warme Bronzelegierung von Hörnern und Celli, wie man sie aus der besten deutschen Orchester t radi t ion kennt . Chamäleonar t ige Anpassungsfähigkeit? Man sollte wohl eher von Flexibilität reden, von stilistischem Einfühlungsvermögen und einer eindrucksvoll breiten Klangfarbenpalette, die das Meisterkonzert des japanischen Eliteensembles in der Philharmonie auszeichneten.”
Kölner Stadt Anzeiger, Stefan Rütter, 2 March 2020

“Das NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, 1926 gegründet, Japans ältestes Profi-Orchester, präsentiert sich auf seiner EuropaTournee mit Khatia Buniatishvili unter Paavo Järvi. Klänge der Heimat standen am Beginn: Tōru Takemitsus „How slow the Wind“von 1991. Bekömmliche Moderne.”
Kronen Zeitung, 29 February 2020

“… wie sich die massiven Speckstein-Formationen hier kantenlos auftürmten, in ungeniert vollem Klang und mit schmetterfreudigem Blech, das war gerade in den Außensätzen eine beeindruckende Bruckner-Demonstration. Dass sich Dirigent Paavo Järvi dabei auf sein Orchester und dessen Tradition einlässt, ist schon daran erkennbar, um wie vieles schlanker dieser Bruckner zum Beispiel mit dem hr-Sinfonieorchester unter der Leitung des Pultstars klingt.”
Wiener Zeitung, Jens F. Laurson, 28 February 2020

“Musique raffinée, apaisée et tout à fait maîtrisée par la phalange nippone, qui sait être présente ou devenir transparente dans une palette restreinte, où percent parfois, en arrière-fond, quelques harmonies orientales. L’assurance naturelle de Paavo Järvi, sa décontraction apparente, ne mettent que mieux en évidence la cohérence de son projet. Le plaisir de l’auditeur est extrême.”, Patrick Jézéquel, 29 February 2020

“Paavo Järvi’s first European tour with Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, three years ago, featured sensitively played Takemitsu and driven, exciting Mahler. This time, in their performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2, the drive was so great there was little room for anything else.”
The Guardian, Erica Jeal, 25 February 2020

“Järvi’s conducting is totally non-flashy, never drawing attention to himself. He kept the opening Largo moving (Rachmaninov Symphony no. 2), more ardent and yearning, yet still streaked with melancholy. The transition into the Allegro moderato unfolded naturally and his flirtatious rubato teased the listener in each gentle push and pull … One of the finest accounts of the Second I’ve heard in concert.”, Mark Pullinger, 25 February 2020

“From the first note of the Second Symphony, a gold and bitumen seam of sound from the double basses and cellos, this was an exceptional performance. Jarvi’s rhythmic flexibility, the lustre of the blend of trombones, tuba and bass clarinet, the litheness and coolness of the oboe and violins, and the muscularity and intelligence of every musician’s contribution combined to create a reading that was luxurious but limber.”
The Times, Anna Picard, 25 February 2020