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Finnish, then, thy new creation - BBC Symphony Orchestra news

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Phil Hall Phil Hall | 17:30 UK Time, Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Photo of Maida Vale studios on Tuesday 25 October. © Steve Bowbrick

The scene at Maida Vale studios for Tuesday's live broadcast. Photo © Steve Bowbrick

BBC Symphony Orchestra sub-principal viola Phil Hall reports from Maida Vale studios, where revered conductor Neeme Järvi appeared with the orchestra live on Radio 3 this week.

At the Barbican this Friday (28th) of this month the BBC Symphony Orchestra begins its Sibelius odyssey. Each of his seven extraordinary symphonies will be performed across the season, four of them with a Finnish conductor.

My first job as a wet-behind-the-ears violist was in a Finnish orchestra and there is something very special about the way that country's conductors interpret the character of the Finns' nature, iron will (known as 'Sisu') and quirky personality that are all so well-represented in Sibelius's masterpieces.

It was something of a warm-up yesterday, then, to play our Maida Vale live studio broadcast of Nordic music with a conductor who hails from just across the Baltic sea in Estonia, Neeme Järvi. Their language is the closest of any other to Finnish, (Järvi means 'Lake' in both Finnish and Estonian) and the well-known difficulties of the languages mean that they are known to comparatively few outside resident speakers. At the start of the morning's rehearsal our esteemed maestro, perturbed at seeing the diacritics missing from his countryman Tönu Körvits' name on the schedule, insisted on teaching us how to pronounce the letter Ö, followed by the letter Ō....

It is always a joy to welcome an experienced and avuncular conductor through the portals of Maida Vale and the orchestra relished the barnstorming character Neeme brought not only to Finlandia and the Karelia Suite but also to fellow Finn Uuno Klami's French-perfumed Sea Pictures. The concert began with a UK Premiere - Sung into the Wind - by Estonian composer Tönu Körvits who was present. It's an exotic and colourful work inspired by the wind. Try and catch the concert on Listen Again and see if you can hear the orchestra humming at the end of the Körvits!




  • Comment number 1.

    I read in to-days Guardian Newspaper that the latest Rajar audience figures show a drop for Radio 3 which is hopefully a bip!
    I am not a big listener to Radio 3 but tune in more now since Radio 2 seems to target a younger listener than myself!
    I cannot abide Chris Evans in the morning so switched on to Radio 3 instead - and its just along the dial on my FM radio! I find the morning show very good with a good mix of music
    which is just the thing when shaving! Occasionally, however, I find the music what I would call 'boring and monotonous' and just seems to drone on with the same thing for quite a while! I tend to think that not a lot of people can be tuned in at these times so it is essential
    a filler!
    My other listening is usually on my DAB radio after work on my return home, and on Sun-day mornings. Usually I find it entertaining and listenable (weeknights) and Sun-day morning
    I usually find ok although, occasionally, I switch to Classic FM to hear what they are playing (again)
    I have heard jazz occasionally on Radio 3 -(I think Saturday lunchtime) - but it sounds strange to hear it on your station.
    I hope these comments are usefull and that the audience figures are a 'blip'. I will continue
    to tune in on a regular basis but please keep it 'varied'.
    Jon Kippin


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