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  • Writer's pictureHuba Hollókői

Siba Orchestra and Paavo Berglund


I recently came across this picture on Facebook. The year must be 2004, my second year at Sibelius Academy, at the violin department, as a student of Lajos Garam. I have heard about Paavo Berglund, but never seen him conducting before. By that time, I have been playing already a year in the Sibelius Academy conducting class orchestra, the small, 22-player strong band, which worked with the conducting students every Friday and Saturday, so I have seen many young and not so young conductors, and started to be interested in the topic.

Berglund, of course, was a class of his own. Very little talk, clear, economical beats and a fantastic, magical energy. Needless to say: high concentration on all the rehearsals. The program was the two C major Symphonies of Sibelius and Luonnatar with Päivi Nisula. I remember, in one break, I went up to the podium to have a look at his scores: how do they look like, what kind of markings he uses, is any. To my suprise, he did not conduct from a printed score: it was a handwritten one, a particella. By that time, I did not dare to make any photos (it wasn’t even as easy as nowadays), but as far as I can recall, he used 2 staves only, and colours for each instrument group: one for strings (red?), one for brass (blue?) and one for woodwind (green?). So, he basically had a map, an essence of the score in front of him. This explained, why he had to do so little page turn, and also, something what I was already wondering; why he time to time asked certain instrumentalists, what note do they play, or whether they play at letter E for instance. Of course, one cannot put all the details to such a reduced score.

It is hearth warming to look at this photo: many players of this orchestra made professional carriers, playing or teaching around Finland and abroad. Can anybody find me on the photo?

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