Baltic spirit, Nordic nature

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will tour Italy, Germany and Poland in a few weeks’ time with a new programme of music by leading composers from the Baltic Sea region, both past and present. Our ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour begins in Merano, Italy, on 17 September, with a concert at the Merano Music Festival. The orchestra then travels to Germany, where it will perform in Munich for the first time, on 18 September. After a performance in Halle (Saale) on 20 September, the orchestra will give the opening concert of the 25th Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde on 22 September. The tour concludes with a performance in Gdańsk, Poland, on 24 September.

‘Nordic Pulse’ is a double celebration for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic: it marks ten years since the orchestra’s creation and also 100 years of independence for the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Finland and Poland. Under its Estonian-born conductor, the orchestra brings together music by composers from all five countries, in a programme that celebrates the energy, strength and natural wonders of these proud Baltic Sea nations.

Representing Poland is Wojciech Kilar (1932–2013), whose Orawa for chamber string orchestra is inspired by the highland folklore and landscapes of the Tatra Mountains. Contemporary Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas captures the power of nature in Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), an uplifting and majestic piece that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic premiered in 2015. Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen joins the orchestra to perform two works by Estonian composers: Fratres by Arvo Pärt and Aurora, a violin concerto by Kristjan Järvi which is inspired by the iconic Northern Lights. Finland is represented by its most famous composer, Jean Sibelius, whose concert suite from ‘The Tempest’ – arranged for this programme by Kristjan – is considered by some to be one of his greatest achievements. The programme closes with the propulsive first movement of Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš’s ‘Rock’ Symphony from 1972, its driving rhythms and rock elements combining in a powerful expression of protest against the authorities of the time.

For Kristjan, nature drives the particularly Nordic vision and creativity that infuse ‘Nordic Pulse’: ‘Nature gives us the impulse to act, and Nordic nature gives us a special kind of impulse.’ This is also a programme that, characteristically for the orchestra, links the past and the present, and Kristjan sees strong parallels between the declaration of independence by the Baltic States in 1918 and the birth of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic just ten years ago. ‘These nations saw the opportunity to assert themselves a century ago,’ he says. ‘People came together to create a nation, a new identity. We created the Baltic Sea Philharmonic with the same spirit. By bringing together musicians from all around the Baltic Sea, the orchestra has always stood for unity.’

We look forward to seeing you on our ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour. See the full concert schedule here and book your tickets now

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