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Tarmo Peltokoski
Tarmo Peltokoski

Tarmo Peltokoski Conducts Mozart


“Peltokoski’s natural charisma means neither his musicians nor anyone else in the auditorium can take their eyes from the podium” (Le Monde, reviewing the Toulouse concert of 2 December). Tarmo Peltokoski, who became the youngest conductor on the Deutsche Grammophon roster when he signed an exclusive contract with the label last October, is continuing to captivate critics and audiences alike with his dazzling live performances at leading venues around the world.

Next month sees the release of his much-anticipated debut DG album, presenting Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 35 “Haffner”, 36 “Linz” and 40 in G minor. Peltokoski recorded the works with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, of which he was appointed the first ever Principal Guest Conductor in early 2022 and which was named Orchestra of the Year at the 2023 Gramophone Awards. Their Mozart album will be released digitally and on CD on 31 May, with the opening movement of Symphony No. 40 and the Andante from No. 36 released as taster tracks on 3 May and 17 May respectively. The digital version will also contain three bonus tracks featuring virtuosic solo piano improvisations from Peltokoski, one based on each of the three symphonies.

Born in 2000, Tarmo Peltokoski is already recognised as one of the world’s top-flight conductors (“the Finnish wonder-conductor”, “a talent of a century” – Tagesspiegel). His knowledge and versatility allow him to move between the concert hall and the opera house – he conducted his first full Ring cycle at 22 – in repertoire that ranges from Classical to contemporary. In the space of just two years he has been named Music Director Designate of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Music and Artistic Director of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

His appointment with the latter came as a result of workshops he led with its players, who were won over by Peltokoski’s passion for music, inspirational ability to communicate, sense of humour, and willingness to listen to and collaborate with them. That emphasis on teamwork is mirrored in the album cover, with its individual portraits of the players, as well as of their conductor. While making the recordings in Bremen, the musicians gave uninterrupted run-through performances of all three symphonies. Filmed in front of an invited audience, these are now available to watch on STAGE+. Summing up his relationship with his players and the works on this album, Peltokoski says, “It’s a luxury to perform Mozart with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and to put these three symphonies on record is a dream come true.”

The album opens with Symphony No. 35 in D major “Haffner”, written for Siegmund Haffner, an eminent citizen of Mozart’s home city of Salzburg. The composer fitted it into an already busy schedule in the summer of 1782, reworking his score – which had begun life as a serenade – later that year. Full of bright and celebratory music, it was an instant hit after its public premiere in Vienna in the presence of an appreciative Emperor Joseph II.

At the heart of the album, Peltokoski places Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, its turbulence and drama creating a powerful contrast with the previous work. Completed in the summer of 1788, it is one of the composer’s final trilogy of symphonies, and one of only two he wrote in a minor key. There is a melancholy, sometimes even violent tone to much of its music and Peltokoski and his players bring out every nuance of light and shade.

For their closing work, they return to the festive spirit of the “Haffner” with Symphony No. 36 in C major “Linz”. Mozart wrote it, he told his father, “at breakneck speed” (within four days) for a concert in the Austrian town after which it is named, where he was staying with his new bride Constanze. Its scampering Presto finale brings the album to a brilliant conclusion.

Those choosing the digital version of the recording will also be treated to three astonishingly inventive improvisations from Peltokoski the virtuoso pianist. Inspired by each of the three symphonies in turn, these assured, witty and stylistically shape-shifting performances are a pure delight.

Tarmo Peltokoski - Mozart Symphonies
May 31, 2024

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