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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Paavo Berglund: 1929-2012

Finnish conductor Paavo Berglund died yesterday. Photo by Kalle Ipatti © 2007
Finnish conductor Paavo Berglund, known for his interpretations of the music of Jean Sibelius, died yesterday after a long illness. He was 82.

The conductor had withdrawn from the world of music in 2007 for health reasons.

"He slowly faded away very peacefully," his daughter Alice told a Finnish newspaper. "The final cause of death was apparently pneumonia."

A Helsinki native, the conductor made three separate complete surveys of the seven Sibelius symphonies. He also held important conducting posts in Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen in the course of a long career.

His EMI recordings, made with the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra helped elevate those ensembles to prominence. He also recorded symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Late in life, he made a final Sibelius cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Mr. Berglund was known for leading performances of exceptional clarity and precision.

Here's a really good performance of the autumnal Sibelius tone poem Tapiola.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.