STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN – NOVEMBER 2016
The second of the Staatskapelle Berlin’s subscription programmes of the season was memorable in many ways. Primarily this was for a towering account of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony, whose long course from ironic semi-darkness to ambiguous light was charted with complete control by Paavo Järvi … In fact, Järvi is probably just the sort of conductor you want in this work if it’s not to spiral out of control … Against a controlled background, the big moments, such as the grand Mahlerian outburst in the Adagio, registered with especial power. The gradual build-up to the finale’s concluding climax was irresistible, too, while the transparency of the Staatskapelle’s playing helped elucidate the work’s symphonic logic … it’s difficult to imagine a more musical account of this great symphonic edifice.
Hugo Shirley, Bachtrack.com, 8 November 2016
And the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi? He makes the Staatskapelle Berlin sound completely different. His Beethoven sounds like mature Mozart rather than late Brahms. It is historically informed and confidently tailored to the traditional symphony orchestra. It is a Beethoven with vibrato-less strings and earthy winds, a Beethoven of high transparency and attractive expressivity.
… Paavo Järvi’s interpretation (of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony) can now be regarded as a counter-proof … It is astonishing how long Järvi manages to spin out the main theme in all its beauty and balance – which makes the mood more violent in its warlike madness. Still more surprising, however, with what self-conviction he can demand the musical tension and surrender of the musicians in the other movements.
Felix Stephan, Der Morgenpost, 9 November 2016]