We knew Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra were great. Now everyone who reads the New Yorker (people still read magazines, we hope, right?) knows it, too. Critic Alex Ross, writing about the Minnesota Orchestra’s performances of Beethoven and Sibelius during a 31-day orchestral marathon of premier ensembles at Carnegie Hall, gave an endorsement to Vänskä and company that could hardly be more glowing if it were played by a hundred-piece symphony: “For the duration of March 1,” he enthused, “the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world.”
It’s certainly safe to say that no one gets more out of Sibelius than Vänskä. Ross notes that the Mn Orch’s performance at Carnegie drew less than a full house, suggesting the lesser-known nature of the Sibelius work (Kullervo) may have had something to do with this. A shame—whenever you spot a Sibelius piece on the orchestra’s slate, get your butt down to Orchestra Hall without passing go. Truly one of the great artistic pleasures, not just of living in the Twin Cities right now, but of a lifetime. Now how’s that for an endorsement?