There are not many conductors more frequently listed in recording catalogues than Neeme Järvi. He has made over 400 recordings over the years, many of them rarities from Scandinavia. Nordic music is also on the programme for this guest appearance by Järvi with the Berliner Philharmoniker – but on this occasion with one of the most popular works of the symphonic repertoire.
A love for the music of Northern Europe has accompanied Neeme Järvi all his life. His 1990 debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker included Arvo Pärt’s Third Symphony, and this was followed by further guest appearances with works by Wilhelm Stenhammar and Carl Nielsen. But it isn’t the exotic charm of this music that attracts Järvi – quite the opposite: he wants to show that it is “a part of both Europe and global culture”.
No work demonstrates this better than Edvard Grieg’s famous Peer Gynt Suites which form the centrepiece of this concert. The Norwegian folk music taken up by Grieg radiates an unmistakably Scandinavian flavour. But when it comes to style and form, the composer remained, in his own words “a German Romantic of the Schumann school”. In this concert, overtures by Brahms and Weber clearly show just how much Grieg’s music in fact resembles German music.