A Star From the North

A STAR FROM THE NORTH.

Mariss Jansons—born in Latvia, trained in Leningrad, Salzburg, and Vienna, now in his late forties—is not one of those careerist maestros who snaps up fancy guest engagements left and right. To be sure, he gets around, what with his associations with the likes of the London Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw, and the major American orchestras. But his principal attachments are to the Leningrad Philharmonic, which he serves as associate conductor, and most of all to the Oslo

Philharmonic, whose music director he has been since 1979. In years gone by, one might have looked to the Oslo for recordings of regional Scandinavian items: Halvorsen, Svendsen, Sinding, maybe even Grieg, though not Sibelius (he belongs to the world). It was not an ensemble one would have expected to hear on major international labels in the virtuoso repertoire, let alone live on a major international tour. Now it is. The Jansons-Oslo discography—the Tchaikovsky symphonies and Mahler s Second (“The Resurrection”) on Chandos, and works of Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Prokofiev. Ravel, et al. on Angel-EMI—documents fullblooded forces of old-world grandeur: powerful, confident, reveling in bold colors yet not lacking in subtlety. Karajan was one of Jansons’s mentors; it shows.

This month, Jansons leads his Norwegians to the North American music capitals with programs including Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. Concerts are scheduled for San Francisco, November 10; Los Angeles, November 1 I and 12; Chicago, November 15; and Carnegie Hall. November 23 (212-247-7800).

Mariss Jansons