Review: Minnesota Orchestra in Scotland, with Sibelius and Beethoven

Posted on: August 26, 2016

In Wednesday’s (8/24) Guardian (London), Kate Molleson reviews the Minnesota Orchestra’s August 23 performance in Edinburgh, Scotland, during their European tour this week. “That plush, super-charged Minnesota sound is back with a new edge of tenacity. They played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as if it were a resounding declaration, and [Music Director Osmo] Vänskä took big pride in those classic ringing trumpets, sleek winds and gloriously bottom-heavy strings. The match here has always been thrilling—the conductor’s dynamism on the podium plus the powerful engine of this band—and now there seems something irrepressibly triumphant about it. Sibelius’s brooding tone poem Pohjola’s Daughter opened the concert and the surging energy was immense. Also tremendously moving was the performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto by Pekka Kuusisto…. He made it sound downright vulnerable, a brave antithesis to the romantic showpiece it often becomes. As an encore, he played a sad Swedish folk tune called We Sold Our Homes, with Vänskä duetting on clarinet and the orchestra humming the harmonies. He spoke of the lockout and about global homelessness and migration. Here is a classical performer who genuinely connects what goes on inside the concert hall with the world outside—and that makes him a rare and important performer for our times.”

Posted August 26, 2016