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Osmo Vänskä’s Emotional Farewell Speech to His Minnesota Orchestra

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Oct 07, 2013 04:22 PM EDT

It has been one of the longest-running sagas in classical music, but there's none of the "soap opera" about the woes assailing the Minnesota Orchestra. The musicians are suffering, staff are suffering, audiences are distraught and Osmo Vänskä, the music director who has built the Minnesota Orchestra into a world-class ensemble, has now given his farewell concerts. That he is leaving at all is a consequence of the long impasse between players and management. At his goodbye, a clearly very emotional Vanska made a moving speech.

As can be heard in this recording that has appeared on YouTube, Vänskä, his voice at times shaky with emotion, says, "This might be the last time I have a chance to conduct this fantastic orchestra. I don't know what to say, except that I am going to miss you all very, very much." He announces the encore, Sibelius' Valse Triste, and tells its tale of a woman spinning in a dance, more and more intense, more frantic, until she realizes that this is the dance of her death, and she cannot now escape. The parallels Vänskä is drawing seem clear, though one fervently hopes there is still time for the Minnesota Orchestra--but its inspirational chief surely felt he had to stop his part in this particular dance.

He also asks the audience not to applaud at the end, as the dreadful situation "needs no applause." So, the recording ends only with the sounds of his footsteps leaving the podium. It is perhaps one of the most devastating pieces of footage from any concert hall. Perhaps this low ebb will somehow help produce some positive action in Minnesota. But it's unlikely to be with Vänskä at its head--many other orchestras will be clamoring for his services, and his diary will fill up quickly.

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TagsOsmo Vanksa, Minnesota Orchestra, YouTube, Sibelius, Valse Triste, Carnegie Hall, Michael Henson

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