Neeme Jarvi

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pizza
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Neeme Jarvi

Post by pizza » Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:05 pm

A short bio on his Net homepage states:

"Neeme Järvi was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He graduated from the Tallinn Music School with degrees in percussion and choral conducting, and continued his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1955-60), where he received training in opera and symphonic conducting under mentors Nicolai Rabinovich and Yevgeny Mravinsky. He made his conducting debut at the age of 18 in Estonia, and his operatic debut was Bizet's Carmen at the Kirov Theatre. In 1963 Neeme Järvi became Music Director of the Estonian Radio & Television Orchestra, founded the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and was appointed Chief Conductor of the Opera House Estonia in Tallinn, a position he held for thirteen years. From 1976-1980, he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the newly-founded Estonian State Symphony Orchestra.

During the 1960's Järvi gained a reputation far beyond the borders of his native Estonia, appearing regularly with the Leningrad Philharmonic, and conducting major orchestras in Moscow and other important music centers in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and England. He captured the international spotlight in 1971, when he won First Prize at the Conducting Competition of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Following this distinction, he received invitations to conduct the leading orchestras and opera companies of Great Britain, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Argentina, Canada and Japan.

In the Soviet Union, he conducted that country's first-ever performances of Der Rosenkevalier, Porgy and Bess and Il Turco in Italia. In 1973 and 1977 he made appearances in the USA with the Leningrad Philharmonic and the Leningrad Symphony, followed by his debut in 1979 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York conducting Eugene Onegin. Maestro Järvi is an acknowledged leader in the crusade to resuscitate neglected works by both popular and lesser-known composers. This philosophy developed early in his career. From the podium of the Estonian State Symphony (which has been renamed the Estonian National Symphony after the Baltic states regained their independence) , he presented many premieres of works by his countryman Eduard Tubin, Aarvo Pärt and others. In 1979, he created a stir when he brought Credo, a Pärt work containing words from the Bible, to the Estonian concert hall. As Järvi had not secured the party's seal of approval for the concert, the ensuing controversy contributed to his decision to emigrate to the West. In January 1980, Neeme Järvi and his family left the Soviet Union and settled in the USA. Just one month later he made his debut appearances with the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. He was soon making guest appearances with North America's leading orchestras, which led to close associations with the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Detroit. Also at this time Järvi served as Principal Guest Conductor of England's Birmingham Symphony (1981-83), and Music Director of the Royal Scottish Orchestra (1984-1988), of which he is now Conductor Laureate.

Since 1982 he has been Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra of Sweden. In Europe, JŠrvi appears regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Orchestre National de France and the Orchestre de Paris. In June 1990 he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In the fall of 1995, Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO) conducted a tour of Germany and Austria with concerts in Munich, Cologne, Berlin and Vienna; and appeared later in the season in London and Glasgow. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan.

In the U.S., Neeme Järvi became the 11th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on September 1,1990. Internationally acclaimed for his performances with orchestras and opera houses around the world, Mr. Jarvi is one of today's most sought-after conductors. Järvi makes annual appearances conducting the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Neeme Järvi has recorded many award-winning discs for the Chandos, BIS, Orfeo, and Deutsche Gramophon labels, including releases with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Royal Scottish Orchestra, the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Neeme Järvi was featured on the covers of numerous international magazines including Gramophone, Fanfare, CD Review, Luister and Diapason.

Neeme Järvi holds honorary doctorates from Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, the Tallinn Music Academy in Estonia, and Gothenburg University in Sweden. An honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, Järvi was dubbed a Knight Commander of the North Star Order by the King of Sweden in 1990. In addition, the Mahler Society recently honored Mr. Järvi with the Toblach-Mahler Award for "Best New Recording" for his Symphony No. 3 with the Royal Scottish Orchestra."

His training and experience in the Russian repertoire seems to explain how he was able to make such fine recordings of some of the Shostakovich Symphonies with the Gothenburg SO. I hadn't realized how closely he was associated with the Russians. I always found his DG recording of the 15th to be about as close to perfect as one could hope for.
I happened to play his DG/Gothenburg recording of the 12th recently and he even made this much criticized work sound as a respected and integral part of the Shostakovich symphonic oeuvre -- not an easy task.

Yet, I can't warm to many of his Detroit recordings in the same way. I suspect he was simply overloaded with work and the quality of some of his performances may have suffered as a result. He is somewhat uneven in the Chandos American Composers series. His Ives isn't all that good, but his Barber and Creston are tops. All in all, he is surely one of the most prolific and respected conductors of the day.

Does anyone else here like him?

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Post by Michael » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:11 pm

A fine conductor. He is one of the easiest to work with and has a wonderful ability to convey what he wants with his hands. A man of few words he is able to get results quickly and there is always a sense of occasion at his concerts.
Michael from The Colne Valley, Yorkshire.

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Post by Ralph » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:13 pm

Yes, me.

Jarvi has guest conducted the New York Philharmonic many times. I've never heard a bad performance. In his new role with the New Jersey Symphony (but wisely living on the Upper West Side) he's already getting kudos.

Jarvi faced enormous issues when he took over the Detroit S.O. He probably didn't have a clue as to the racial maelstrom that politicians were feeding with regard to funding the orchestra in a virtually all-minority city. That he embraced some African-American composers' works, notably William Grant Still, was as much political savvy as it was long overdue recognition of truly interesting music.

Jarvi was at one point the most prolifically recorded conductor. BIS in particular turned out many Jarvi performances, all marked by that label's attention to detail. I liked but didn't love his Mahler while his forays into lesser known Scandanaivian composers were always interesting. His Sibelius was first rate.

He seems to have recovered from his serious health problems and I wish him well for a continued productive career.
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Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:44 pm

I experience Jarvi's recorded output much as I do that of Mark Andre Hamelin. Where it involves rare repertoire for which no alternative performances exist I'm often grateful and admiring. But competition tends to lessen my esteem, - and in the established classics both tend to end up somewhere towards the middle of the pack, or in other words pretty much ignored (though with Jarvi, at least, there are some exceptions to this). Gerald Schwarz' recordings meet largely the same fate with me as well, - (listen, for example, to Schwarz' rendition of William Schuman's 2nd symphony, or Piston's 4rth, and they seem just fine. But then play Tilson Thomas in the Schuman, or old Ormandy's Piston 4, and one's estimation of Schwarz declines precipitously).

Apologies for the two parentheticals, Pizza.

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Post by MahlerSnob » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:31 pm

I saw one of his rehearsals with the BSO at Tanglewood a few years ago. I don't remember many details, and I don't think I attended the concert (it was towards the end of the summer, if I remember correctly), but I did like what I saw of him. I hope to see him at work again.
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Post by herman » Wed Nov 02, 2005 4:40 am

Starting this Fall, Järvi is Chief Conductor of the The Hague REsidence Orchestra, the 4th ranking orchestra in the Netherlands.

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Post by Gary » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:20 am

herman wrote:Starting this Fall, Järvi is Chief Conductor of the The Hague REsidence Orchestra, the 4th ranking orchestra in the Netherlands.
Is that the same orchestra that gave the world premiere to Liszt's Totentanz? The pianist I believe was Hans von Bulow.
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Post by herman » Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:24 am

Gary wrote:
herman wrote:Starting this Fall, Järvi is Chief Conductor of the The Hague Residence Orchestra, the 4th ranking orchestra in the Netherlands.
Is that the same orchestra that gave the world premiere to Liszt's Totentanz? The pianist I believe was Hans von Bulow.
I have no idea, sorry.

I don't know whether Järvi is Chief Conductor or AD with some other orchestra (I bet he does), but the Residence Orchestra is not a plum job IMO.

In the Netherlands the Concertgebouw and the Rotterdam Philharmonic are, obviously, the orchestras of international stature (and then some), whereas I'd say even the ballet and opera orchestras (the Holland Symphonia) are better than the Residence Orchestra.

I'm not Järvi's biggest fan - he recorded way too much - but I do think he deserves a better place than this.

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Post by pizza » Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:53 am

Gregory Kleyn wrote:I experience Jarvi's recorded output much as I do that of Mark Andre Hamelin. Where it involves rare repertoire for which no alternative performances exist I'm often grateful and admiring. But competition tends to lessen my esteem, - and in the established classics both tend to end up somewhere towards the middle of the pack, or in other words pretty much ignored (though with Jarvi, at least, there are some exceptions to this). Gerald Schwarz' recordings meet largely the same fate with me as well, - (listen, for example, to Schwarz' rendition of William Schuman's 2nd symphony, or Piston's 4rth, and they seem just fine. But then play Tilson Thomas in the Schuman, or old Ormandy's Piston 4, and one's estimation of Schwarz declines precipitously).

Apologies for the two parentheticals, Pizza.
Gerard Schwarz never recorded Wm. Schuman's 2nd Symphony. Neither did MTT. Schuman withdrew his first two symphonies from circulation and neither have ever been recorded. MTT has never recorded a Wm. Schuman symphony to my knowledge. I would certainly love to hear him do the 3rd. Schwarz did record Nos. 4, 5 and 9. I haven't heard his recordings of Nos. 4 and 9 yet, but I have heard No. 5 and I think he did a superb job.

I don't think comparisons prove very much. If a conductor doesn't have a unique vision of the music that interests him, he should find other work. One should also remember that Ormandy had a much more polished orchestra than Schwarz. I wonder how he would sound if he was conducting the Seattle.

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Neeme and the DSO

Post by C.B. » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:02 pm

I've had the opportunity to sample Neeme (as he's always referred to around here) and his conducting on many occaisions over the 15 years he's been in Detroit. Undoubtedly, he has been a major boost to the prestige and morale of the orchestra during this time. The Chandos contract has done wonders for the image of the orchestra, and despite the fact (as pointed out by another poster) that the series is uneven, there are still many worthy recordings in the lot.

Still, I can't honestly remember walking out of Orchestra Hall after one of Neeme's concerts and saying to myself, "this was memorable." Competent, yes. Well-organized, yes.

But uplifting, inspiring, thrilling, never--sad to say.
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Post by Wallingford » Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:17 pm

ACTUALLY, in order to know what a goldmine of great performances he gave with the Detroit Symphony, you had to have been an avid dubber of his broadcast concerts.

I have about a dozen-and-a-half CD dupes of his DSO concerts, & can testify that his LIVE recordings have a bounciness & friskiness that just isn't there in his antiseptic CDs. In his commercial recordings, he's obviously too much the perfectionist; his performances actually THRIVED on spontaneity.

His first 5 seasons, in particular: there were a St-Saens "Organ" Symphony, a Schubert Third, a Gershwin Rhapsody & American, a Tchaikovsky Fourth & 1812 & Four Suites & Serenade For Strings, and (most of all) an Orff Carmina Burana that burns the pants off any other versions I've heard.

Not to mention all those encores (he released 2 CDs of these).

The DSO said it'd make a commemorative 5-CD retrospective of his live stuff, but it has yet to see the light of day.
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Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:43 pm

pizza wrote:
Gregory Kleyn wrote:I experience Jarvi's recorded output much as I do that of Mark Andre Hamelin. Where it involves rare repertoire for which no alternative performances exist I'm often grateful and admiring. But competition tends to lessen my esteem, - and in the established classics both tend to end up somewhere towards the middle of the pack, or in other words pretty much ignored (though with Jarvi, at least, there are some exceptions to this). Gerald Schwarz' recordings meet largely the same fate with me as well, - (listen, for example, to Schwarz' rendition of William Schuman's 2nd symphony, or Piston's 4rth, and they seem just fine. But then play Tilson Thomas in the Schuman, or old Ormandy's Piston 4, and one's estimation of Schwarz declines precipitously).

Apologies for the two parentheticals, Pizza.
Gerard Schwarz never recorded Wm. Schuman's 2nd Symphony. Neither did MTT. Schuman withdrew his first two symphonies from circulation and neither have ever been recorded. MTT has never recorded a Wm. Schuman symphony to my knowledge. I would certainly love to hear him do the 3rd. Schwarz did record Nos. 4, 5 and 9. I haven't heard his recordings of Nos. 4 and 9 yet, but I have heard No. 5 and I think he did a superb job.

I don't think comparisons prove very much. If a conductor doesn't have a unique vision of the music that interests him, he should find other work. One should also remember that Ormandy had a much more polished orchestra than Schwarz. I wonder how he would sound if he was conducting the Seattle.

I was confused a bit there, - but meant a comparison between Tilson Thomas' recording of Piston's Symphony No.2 vis-a-vis that of Schwarz, and Tilson Thomas' superiority.

A conductor can have a unique vision of the music that interests him and still be recommendable for another line of work if that vision is a lacklustre or undistinguished one. It's not just simply a matter of diverse interpretive stances being all equally meritorious (as the relativistic politically correct crowd would have it, - a party I'm shocked to see you of all people identifying with here). Comparisons can be instructive and even prove superiority in many cases, - though the criteria for such judgments, and the measure of insight any given critics qualifications makes possible must be a matter of simultaneous reflection as well.

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Post by pizza » Thu Nov 03, 2005 12:49 am

Gregory Kleyn wrote:
pizza wrote:
Gregory Kleyn wrote:I experience Jarvi's recorded output much as I do that of Mark Andre Hamelin. Where it involves rare repertoire for which no alternative performances exist I'm often grateful and admiring. But competition tends to lessen my esteem, - and in the established classics both tend to end up somewhere towards the middle of the pack, or in other words pretty much ignored (though with Jarvi, at least, there are some exceptions to this). Gerald Schwarz' recordings meet largely the same fate with me as well, - (listen, for example, to Schwarz' rendition of William Schuman's 2nd symphony, or Piston's 4rth, and they seem just fine. But then play Tilson Thomas in the Schuman, or old Ormandy's Piston 4, and one's estimation of Schwarz declines precipitously).

Apologies for the two parentheticals, Pizza.
Gerard Schwarz never recorded Wm. Schuman's 2nd Symphony. Neither did MTT. Schuman withdrew his first two symphonies from circulation and neither have ever been recorded. MTT has never recorded a Wm. Schuman symphony to my knowledge. I would certainly love to hear him do the 3rd. Schwarz did record Nos. 4, 5 and 9. I haven't heard his recordings of Nos. 4 and 9 yet, but I have heard No. 5 and I think he did a superb job.

I don't think comparisons prove very much. If a conductor doesn't have a unique vision of the music that interests him, he should find other work. One should also remember that Ormandy had a much more polished orchestra than Schwarz. I wonder how he would sound if he was conducting the Seattle.

I was confused a bit there, - but meant a comparison between Tilson Thomas' recording of Piston's Symphony No.2 vis-a-vis that of Schwarz, and Tilson Thomas' superiority.

A conductor can have a unique vision of the music that interests him and still be recommendable for another line of work if that vision is a lacklustre or undistinguished one. It's not just simply a matter of diverse interpretive stances being all equally meritorious (as the relativistic politically correct crowd would have it, - a party I'm shocked to see you of all people identifying with here). Comparisons can be instructive and even prove superiority in many cases, - though the criteria for such judgments, and the measure of insight any given critics qualifications makes possible must be a matter of simultaneous reflection as well.
I didn't say all interpretive stances are equally meritorious, and certainly if a conductor's vision is obscured or shortsighted, it won't earn accolades. That's hardly the point. We're discussing interpretive art, not morality. Of course the 6th Commandment applies to musicianship as well as to general human behavior: "Thou shalt not murder the piece". However, there are as many diverse viewpoints about how a particular symphony can be well played as there are conductors of note. I'm assuming a basic level of competence and skill without which no conductor will ever mount the podium. There are many times that I'll listen to completely different versions of a work and find satisfaction in all of them.

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Post by Lance » Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:20 am

herman wrote: [Snipped] I'm not Järvi's biggest fan - he recorded way too much - but I do think he deserves a better place than this.
I totally concur with the latter part of this statement. It might be that this is his own choice, however. While he was born on my birthday (only in 1937), he's still a relatively youngish man as conductors go. But we know he has had some serious health problems. I my estimation, the man should have one of the top five orchestras in the USA, England or Europe.
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