Joonatan Rautiola gets a message from Glazunov
My season 2015-16 took off with three concerts in Mikkeli with St Michel Strings, all of which had some really interesting repertoire in them. First one was the season opener, which we did with just our usual string ensemble. I had again a chance to work with the wonderful Finnish saxophone player Joonatan Rautiola who played the Glazunov concerto. We also played two Mendelssohn string symphonies, and the Sibelius rarity, incidental music to the play "Lizard".
Timo Riihonen singing Filip's aria from Don Carlo
Our next concert was a collaborative "Saimaa Sinfonietta" effort with the Lappeenranta orchestra, and it was dedicated to the memory of the great Finnish bass singer Martti Talvela. The program was an ambitious mix of opera overtures, and arias sung by the promising young bass Timo Riihonen, and we "unfinished" it with Schubert's B minor symphony. To my memory this was the best Saimaa Sinfonietta concert ever as long as I have heard and conducted these projects - the orchestra was truly on fire!
Mozart's Requiem in the making
My third concert in Mikkeli required some ingenuity, because we wanted to perform Mozart's Requiem - again with just our string ensemble without hiring any extra players. I made an arrangement for string orchestra myself by re-orchestrating the most important woodwind and brass parts for the strings. I did not take any risks with the solo quartet, but invited people I had worked with before - Anna Immonen, Teppo Lampela (countertenor!), Simo Mäkinen and Janne Sundqvist. The chorus, Cantinovum, came from the nearby city of Jyväskylä.