On two successive nights in September, Kristjan conducted the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in a thrilling memorised programme of Baroque and minimalist music called ‘Divine Geometry’.
On 20 September we returned to Merano in Italy to give the closing concert of the Merano Music Festival. And on 21 September we were back again in Peenemünde, opening the Usedom Music Festival. The brilliant American pianist Simone Dinnerstein joined us on both nights to perform Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a piece that was composed especially for her. The Usedom concert also featured the German premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, a work which the Baltic Sea Philharmonic co-commissioned with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
‘Divine Geometry’ explored the fascinating connections between two musical styles and eras, and alongside the works by Glass and Reich, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performed an orchestral transcription of Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita in D minor, BWV 1004, and Kristjan’s imaginative reworking of Handel concerti grossi, Too Hot to Handel. With characteristic ambition and innovation, the musicians performed the entire programme as an unbroken line of music, interweaving complete works and individual movements with improvised connecting transitions. Moreover, this was all done entirely from memory, as has become the orchestra’s trademark.
Both ‘Divine Geometry’ concerts were sold out, and together attracted a total audience of 2,200. The performance in Merano was the orchestra’s third appearance in as many years at this prestigious music festival in the South Tyrol. At the Usedom Music Festival, where the orchestra has performed every year since its formation in 2008, the concert featured special projection art that enhanced the ‘Divine Geometry’ theme. Writing of the Usedom performance in the Ostsee-Zeitung, Ekkehard Ochs said: ‘Järvi’s concept captivates with its uncompromising approach and music-making that literally delights all the senses. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic can do just anything, and so can Järvi. He is right: his orchestra is more than just an orchestra!’