On February 15, Susanna Mälkki conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Musiikkitalon Kuoro in a concert of Jonathan Harvey’s Messages, John Adams’ Tromba Lontana, and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. Harvey’s mystic soundscape Messages, for chorus and orchestra, sets text consisting entirely of names of angels from Judaic and Persian mythologies.
John Adams describes his work Tromba Lontana (‘distant trumpet’) as: “a four-minute work that barely rises above mezzo piano and that features two stereophonically placed solo trumpets (to the back of the stage or on separate balconies), who intone gently insistent calls, each marked by a sustained note followed by a soft staccato tattoo. The orchestra provides a pulsing continuum of serene ticking in the pianos, harps and percussion. In the furthest background is a long, almost disembodied melody for strings that passes by almost unnoticed like nocturnal clouds.”
South Florida Classical Review raved about Susanna’s interpretation of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances in a concert leading the New World Symphony: “Under Mälkki’s baton, the orchestra gave a performance of great rhythmic verve and instrumental color, with magnificent crescendos, dazzling instrumental effects and climaxes that wrung every bit of energy from the music. Every time the clipped theme of the first movement returned, Mälkki subtly gave it more portent, drawing back the orchestra and then unleashing it with greater force and impact.”