Tuesday, August 23

YEAR:  2022 | Tags:  | | |

Kultuuritalo, 9:22


This morning the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have a public dress rehearsal: their final rehearsal for concerts at the Edinburgh and Lucerne festivals. I have a ticket, so off I go.

I decide to photograph the orchestra as they tune up and get settled, rather than wave a phone around during the actual performance. I swap the chance to document the concert for the opportunity to actually experience it.

I had expected something closely resembling the performance they intend to give but, to my surprise, Susanna Mälkki, the conductor, insisted on repeating several parts of the first piece. She knew exactly which bars she wanted redone, and which players she wanted to adjust what they had played. Given the size of the orchestra this left me very impressed.

The first piece? They played three pieces: Tapiola by Jean Sibelius; Per Nørgård’s Symphony No. 8; and Dieter Ammann’s Piano Concerto (Gran Toccata). The final piece constituted an exercise in extreme dexterity and stamina, both for the soloist (whose name I did not catch) and the orchestra.

Final thing to note: playing in street clothes creates a much more welcoming and informal atmosphere. If only it would catch on…