Summer for us is all about ‘Midnight Sun’. Our tour of Germany and Austria in June and July is named after this phenomenon of the sun never setting at night – a natural wonder that can be experienced around the time of the summer solstice in the far north of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia and other countries that straddle the Arctic Circle. ‘It’s a phenomenon that only the populations of the north are favoured with,’ says Kristjan. ‘It unites Nordic communities, and with this tour we are proclaiming a message of Nordic unity.’
‘Midnight Sun’ will take the orchestra to Berlin’s Philharmonie on 26 June and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on 2 July. We will also give a special ‘Midnight Sun’ concert in Ossiach, Austria, on 29 June. Tickets for the Elbphilharmonie concert, our second time performing at this spectacular waterside venue, sold out in just eleven minutes, but there are still some tickets available for Berlin and Ossiach, so don’t miss out!
After opening with a special collaboration with Estonian singer Mick Pedaja, the ‘Midnight Sun’ programme travels up to the far north with Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, his concerto for birds and orchestra that features taped birdsong recorded around the Arctic Circle and in the marshlands of Liminka in northern Finland. Then Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen, who joined us on tour for the first time in September 2018, returns to perform four works with the orchestra, beginning with Kristjan’s Aurora, which is inspired by the magical lights of the aurora borealis. Mari describes Aurora as ‘like a journey into space: you have the feeling that you’re floating out between the stars and the planets.’ In Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, a classic example of his ‘tintinnabuli’ style, the violinist plays solo variations over strings and percussion, combining virtuosic thrills with serene lyricism. A meditative quality imbues Pēteris Vasks’s second violin concerto Lonely Angel, and our final piece with Mari, Max Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem, builds from quiet contemplation to powerful climax in an emotion-packed few minutes.
‘Midnight Sun’ culminates with more magical light, this time courtesy of the mythical Firebird of Russian folklore, in Stravinsky’s 1945 orchestral version of his great ballet The Firebird. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic was the first orchestra in the world to perform this work entirely from memory, on its ‘Baltic Folk’ tour in 2017. Since then, memorised performances have become a trademark of the orchestra, and for ‘Midnight Sun’ we’ll be playing the whole programme by heart. ‘Performing from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ says Kristjan. Playing by heart certainly intensifies the connection between the players, bringing them closer together, and is a natural reflection of our mission to unite people across the whole Nordic region.
See our concert calendar for more details about ‘Midnight Sun’, and to book tickets