Last evening, Maestro Neeme Järvi returned to the NCPA Concert Hall after 14 years. This time, he worked with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, founded 100 years ago, and joined hands with the violinist Giovanni Andrea Zanon, who presented “Italy on the stage for eight minutes” at the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, to interpret the music treasures by Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz as one of NCPA Pure Classical Series concerts.
The guests of the Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music 2023 also enjoyed this wonderful performance. With the concert over, they remained immersed in music and gave a standing ovation, not willing to leave at all. It was in a joyful atmosphere that the Third Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music came to an outstanding finale.
Under Maestro Neeme Järvi’s baton, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra shone with its elegant demeanour. The concert started with Verdi’s Overture La forza del destino, with the brasses played together, sounding as if countless bugles were pealing out together. Using a driving force full of faith, Maestro Neeme Järv created a powerful and esthetic rhythmic sense, in order for the orchestra to deliver a brilliant interpretation of this popular opera overture.
In the second half, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique caused the audience to become greatly impressed with Maestro Neeme Järvi’s excellent conducting technique. The work is intensely narrative and romantic, with musical theatricality finding expression in the leading motive from the title of each movement. Although the composer’s orchestration makes it technically difficult to interpret this work accurately, the orchestra with Maestro Neeme Järvi turned Berlioz’s ingenious music idea into a “passionate fantasia” and gave audience an auditory feast.
After the piece was over, Maestro Neeme Järvi gave three encores in response to the warm cheers from the audience, as follows: My Motherland, for which we Chinese people have a cordial feeling, The Turtledove, a Serbian folk song, and Sibelius’ Andante Festivo.
As Maestro Neeme Järvi said in his keynote address given at this year’s Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music, “You must always be aware that you need to create. So, you should keep your mind busy, think about programme scheduling, have a passion for music, and know how to conduct technically. Only in this way can you get all elements blended together to make you successful.” The music played under his baton gives us a more intuitive understanding of how a maestro can have such a great influence in the music scene.
Another highlight was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. The violinist Giovanni Andrea Zanon, who served as a soloist, amazed the audience. At the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, he gave the “eight-minute” performance on behalf of Italy, the next host country, presenting the National Anthem of Italia to the global audience.
Giovanni used a Stradivari violin made in 1716, and worked in unison with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Neeme Järvi’s baton. In his hands, this classic masterpiece by Tchaikovsky, full of something peculiar to voice and dance, blossomed into a colourful, beautiful melody with such a famous, antique violin.