Like many lovers of classical music, Arcana was sad to learn of the death of Latvian-Russian conductor Mariss Jansons last weekend, at the age of 76.
Jansons was a great conductor, and I was fortunate enough to see him in a number of concerts. Particularly memorable was a Prom with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Lutosławski‘s Concerto for Orchestra and Brahms‘ Symphony no.1 – and several years later another outing at the Royal Albert Hall with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Richard Strauss‘s Also Sprach Zarathustra and Sibelius‘ Symphony no.2.
Jansons leaves an extremely strong and varied recorded legacy, from which the playlist below draws a few excerpts. The Lutosławski is included, along with two excellent recordings he made when chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Honegger‘s Symphony no.3 and Tchaikovsky‘s Symphony no.1 (Winter Daydreams).
However a personal favourite, and one I reviewed for Arcana, was his stellar recording of Tchaikovsky‘s Queen of Spades opera, a superb and dramatic account:
These are just hints of what Jansons could do – but show him on his best form. He will be greatly missed.