Estonian Festival Orchestra starts centennial tour in Brussels

The Estonian Festival Orchestra, Paavo Järvi conducting. Source: (ERR)

The Estonian Festival Orchestra started its European concert tour dedicated to the Estonian centennial in Brussels on Thursday evening, where Paavo Järvi conducted Erkki-Sven Tüür's 9th symphony, "Mythos".

The tour began with a storm. When Friederike made landfall over the Dutch and Belgian coast with wind speeds of up to 200 km/h at altitude, it wreaked havoc, killing three and disrupting transport across half of Western Europe.

The orchestra's plane couldn't land in Brussels due to strong wind. After three go-arounds in Brussels, the flight was eventually redirected to Lille, and traveled to Brussels from there.

Conductor Paavo Järvi told ERR before the concert that the upcoming performance was somewhat paradoxical. Though announced as the world premiere of a symphony composed for this exact occasion in Brussels, it had actually been played in Tallinn on Tuesday this week.

"This work was commissioned for this concert, for the one in Brussels, so the official premiere is now in Brussels. Paradoxical, but this work will have had two premieres," Järvi said.

The composer himself said he was very happy with the Tallinn concert on Tuesday. "Performing such a multi-layered and complex score demands a lot of practice from the orchestra, and a lot of listening to one another. Usually everybody begins to understand after several performances, but what we got [on Tuesday] was wonderful," Tüür said.

Listeners would ideally come to hear his symphony with an open heart and mind, Tüür said. If his work could take them on an inner journey, then hopefully there would be a certain interest as well in the composer's origins, and why he writes just this kind of music.

President Kersti Kaljulaid, who attended the concert in Brussels, said that Tüür's 9th symphony "helps understand the Estonian soul". "Through culture and art other people can understand a lot better that we belong to Europe, and this is so important, this way where our place in the world is can be understood without words," the president added.

Conductor Paavo Järvi has great plans for the Estonian Festival Orchestra. "This is our first great tour to Europe's most important music cities. We've got Brussels, Luxembourg, Vienna, Berlin, Zurich on our schedule," Järvi said. A lot of responsibility comes with this tour, he thinks.

"I'm sure it's going to go well, but what happens after depends a lot on the outcome of the tour. For next year we have a plan to go to Japan, to Asia, also to China with the same orchestra," Järvi said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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