Rachmaninov’s Vigil worth staying up for

Michael Dervan, The Irish Times, 28.5.2013
CONCERTS BY RESURGAM AND THE RTÉ NSO AND WHAT OPERAS PRODUCERS WANT TO PUT ON

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Lintu’s farewell

The week’s other major concert offered an even greater rarity. In his final appearance as principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Hannu Lintu coupled early and late works by Sibelius. The large-scale Kullervo – setting part of the epic Kalevala for soloists, chorus and orchestra – was first heard in 1892, but withdrawn the following year and not heard again complete until after the composer’s death. The stark tone poem Tapiola was written in 1926 and nothing of note would follow it, although Sibelius lived until 1957.


Lintu was on top form, securing playing of a blazing intensity from the NSO. The harsher elements of Tapiola were delivered with unstinting power, and the rough edges of Kullervo were advantageously treated as if they were envisioning a future that was never quite to be. In Lintu’s hands the music was raw, powerful, unfettered in a way that Sibelius would abandon for the more structured world of the symphony proper.


All the singerswere Finnish, with the soprano and baritone soloists Johanna Rusanen-Kartano and Ville Rusanen as well as the male voices of the Polytech Choir of Finland making their strongly projected contributions from memory. The audience brought conductor and soloists back again and again at the end, as if reluctant to break the spell by ending their applause.

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