I’ve just finished watching the BBC Philharmonic playing Sibelius’ second symphony, led by a Finnish conductor, Eva Ollikainen. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that a Finn can produce something so special with Sibelius – but that was a remarkable performance. Sibelius is my all-time favourite composer, but the second symphony has not been one of my favourite pieces to date (I prefer the “chillier” symphonies); but she turned it into something else – I was quite emotional by the end.
On Friday, I watched the Oslo Philharmonic, also conducted by a Finn – Klaus Mäkelä – playing Tapiola. The big hit of the night was “superstar pianist” Yuja Wang playing Liszt’ first piano concerto and that was amazing. However, I’d have traded it to hear that orchestra with that conductor play an all-Sibelius program, maybe with the violin concerto and the fourth or sixth symphony.
Anyone else been watching or listening this year? Anyone make a point of catching them every year? Has anything caught your ear this year?