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AROUND THE BALTIC WITH MALIN BROMAN

Join concert master Malin Broman, Finnish star violinist Pekka Kuusisto and musicians from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra on a musical voyage around the Baltic Sea. Sveriges Radio Channel 2 presenters Sara Norling and Johan Korssell have taken a plunge and discovered some musical gems from around the Baltic. An intimate and colorful concert experience is promised. The programme will be broadcast live on SR P2 and in several Baltic countries.

The Baltic Sea is where guillemots breed, three species of seal dive and white-tailed eagles spread their wings. The brackish water of the Baltic Sea laps the shores of nine countries. It is a sea that is almost completely landlocked, a sea that unites. A chamber musical voyage of discovery on such a sea will be full of variety, but we set sail under a common flag.

“Nearly all the countries that border the Baltic Sea are represented on our trip: Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Germany. The cultural exchange between these countries has always come naturally,” says Sara Norling, one of the guides on our journey.

Bach’s Baroque music and Andrea Tarrodi’s Acanthes– which was first performed by violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Malin Broman in 2018 – may seem far apart, but despite the two composers’ different idioms, there are shared elements.

“Although the programme is very diverse in terms of style, folk music influences are found in each of the works performed. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 ends in a gigue, and Andrea Tarrodi composed her airy, sonorous piece for Pekka and Malin. She refers to their respective backgrounds in Finnish and Swedish folk music, which both feature in the work. Even the Dance from Piano Quartet by the normally subdued Pēteris Vasks has a rhythmic drive inspired by Latvian folk music.

Sauli Zinoviev performed a piano concert he had written for Víkingur Ólafsson at Berwaldhallen as recently as in February. Conductor was Klaus Mäkelä. Recharged for strings premiered in April 2019, also under the baton of Klaus Mäkelä. The piece is dedicated to “The conductor hero of my life,” jokingly referring to whichever conductor happens to be conducting the work.

“Zinoviev composes accessible, colourful music. The finale of Recharged is passionate and intense.”

Arvo Pärt composed his breakthrough Spiegel im Spiegel before he left Estonia in the 1970s. It has become immensely popular, it has feature in innumerable television and film productions and is available for many different instrumentations. Performed here is the original version for violin and piano.

“The piece is simple with basic triads and a melody that slowly rises and repeatedly turns.”

Sara Norling will guide the Berwaldhallen and radio audiences on the journey together with Johan Korssell.

“We will attempt to say something about this wonderful music, but above all we want to emphasise the importance of the Baltic Sea as a bearer of culture. We will sail on little known waters together with the musicians, which involves some musical surprises and improvisations.

Text: Anna Hedelius


SWEDISH RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
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Participants

 

Malin Broman is First Concertmaster of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and an internationally sought-after soloist, having visited the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Gothenburg Symphony, among others. She has been Artistic Director of Musica Vitae since 2015, and succeeded Sakari Oramo as Artistic Director of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra in 2019. She has also been the Artistic Director of the Trondheim Soloists, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, and the ACO Collective – the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s string ensemble.

Over the last few years, Broman has performed world premieres of violin concertos by Helen Grime, Britta Byström, Andrea Tarrodi and Daniel Nelson, and recorded both Carl Nielsen’s and Britta Byström’s concertos. Her recording of Mendelssohn’s double concerto for violin and piano with Musica Vitae and Simon Crawford Phillips was nominated for a Grammy in 2019. She has also made many recordings with celebrated ensemble the Kungsbacka Piano Trio. In the spring of 2020, Broman filmed a noted recording of her playing all eight parts of Felix Mendelssohn’s string octet.

Malin Broman is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and Professor of Viola at the Edsbergs Institute of Music. In the spring of 2019, she was awarded H.M. the King’s eighth size medal for her considerable contributions to the Swedish music industry. She plays a Stradivarius violin from 1709 and a Bajoni viola from 1861, borrowed from the Järnåker Foundation.

Pekka Kuusisto. Foto: Felix Boede.

Violinist, conductor and composer Pekka Kuusisto is renowned for his artistic freedom and fresh approach to repertoire. Kuusisto is Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor & Artistic Co-Director: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (from 23/24). He is also Artistic Partner with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a Collaborative Partner of the San Francisco Symphony, and Artistic Best Friend of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Kuusisto is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music. In recent seasons Kuusisto has premiered new works by Sauli Zinovjev, Daníel Bjarnason, Anders Hillborg, Philip Venables and Andrea Tarrodi. He is also a gifted improviser and regularly engages with people across the artistic spectrum. Recent projects have included collaborations with Hauschka and Kosminen, Dutch neurologist Erik Scherder, pioneer of electronic music Brian Crabtree, eminent jazz-trumpeter Arve Henriksen, juggler Jay Gilligan, accordionist Dermot Dunne and folk artist Sam Amidon.

Kuusisto has released several recordings, notably for Ondine and BIS. With Pentatone, Kuusisto and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra presented the album First Light in 2021, featuring the world premiere recording of Nico Muhly’s violin concerto, Shrink. Kuusisto has recently recorded Ades’ Violin Concerto with Aurora and Nicolas Collon for Deutsche Grammophon, Hillborg’s Bach Materia and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos.3 and 4 with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard for BIS and Daniel Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with the composer conducting for Sono Luminus. Past releases include Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Noesis concerto for violin and orchestra for Ondine and Sebastian Fagerlund’s violin concerto Darkness in Light for BIS, both recorded with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Hannu Lintu.

Programme

Approximate timings

Acanthes was written for Pekka Kuusisto, Malin Broman and Musica Vitae. The piece was inspired by Matisse ́s famous ”Acanthes” – a major work from the series of large-format “papiers découpés”. The papiers découpés are very special “paintings” as they consist of numerous layers. They are drawings (the establishment of contours), paintings (the composition of colored paper shapes), and sculptures (the cutting of the paper).

I tried to work in the same way with this composition, translating the shapes and colours from the painting into music. Interleaved with this idea are also two folk melodies. When composing the piece I had the pleasure of receiving several videos with Swedish and Finnish folk songs recorded by Pekka. I chose ”Kopsin Jonas” and ”Brudmarsch efter Larshöga Jonke”. The two songs appear in fragments throughout the piece and towards the ending one hears them in full bloom.”

Text: Andrea Tarrodi