Wednesday 13 May 2015
Paavo Järvi: A Passion for Recording
"The cantata disc is counterbalanced by a PENTATONE one of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, done purposely with the Russian National Orchestra because it is an ensemble that 'knows the political environment'."
On the May issue of Gramophone Magazine, Paavo Järvi shares his passion for recording. During his interview, he told his personal story about his life, his story about Shostakovich and his personal feeling with PENTATONE.
Two of Järvi's major new releases, however, fall outside the context of his regular orchestras. In the current political climate of unease abour Russia's expansionist intentions, the decision by an Estonian-born (if now American) conductor to make an Erato recording of three Shostakovich patriotic cantatas might seem provocative, and the enterprise was not without its snags. His use of Estonian children's and adult choirs together with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in works extolling the virtues of communism and Stalin did not meet with universal tolerance, especially as Järvi reports that Estonians are already storing up tinned food and other non-perishables against a possible Russian incursion. 'I had to go round with a bodyguard,' Järvi says, 'and to sign a paper saying that the choir wasn't inciting a revolution.' He refers to the works' musical interests as a reason for doing them, as well as the darker topicality of Russia's returning to the regimentation' that Shostakovich himself endured.
The cantata disc is counterbalanced by a PENTATONE one of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, done purposely with the Russian National Orchestra because it is an ensemble that 'knows the political environment'. Järvi is also drawn emotionally to the PENTATONE Shostakovich series because his godfather, Paavo Berglund, conducted the Eight Symphony for it, and Yakov Kreizberg - 'a very dear friend' - recorded the coupling of the Fifth and Ninth. 'The Seventh Symphony,' says Järvi, 'is a sort of requiem, it's about the horrors of war, the concept of dictatorship and needless human suffering, loss and brutality. It's Shostakovich talking about his own country. He is also talking about his own country in the cantatas, but he is forced there to have a politically correct outlook.'