Let me add one note to my mini-review of the pre-Grammy concert — with the repeated callbacks and standing ovations, not to mention the tumult of sound following the S5, everyone knew there would be an encore. We might even have anticipated that it would be — Sibelius! The really astute might have realized that “Finlandia” would work perfectly — an ideal length and a lot of punch.
So when the chords of “Finlandia” were briskly sounded, my first reaction was, “Oh good! I haven’t heard this live in a while.” My second reaction was, ‘Oh no, this piece can really be murdered through overplaying! EEK”. So I slumped down a bit in my seat and waited with nervous anticipation. I need not have worried, for Maestro Vanska sped through the piece, pulling out its very heart and essence, without an insincere or trite beat. It was, in fact, the finest reading of the piece I have heard.