Hommage à Armin Jordan – Bloch: Schelomo, B. 39 – Dutilleux: Tout un monde lointain – François Guye, Cello – Orchestre de la Suisse Romande – Armin Jordan, Conductor
Hommage à Armin Jordan
Ernest BLOCH: Schelomo, B. 39 – Henri DUTILLEUX: Tout un monde lointain: I. Enigme – II. Regard – III. Houles – IV. Miroirs – V. Hymne.
François Guye, Cello – Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (https://www.osr.ch) – Armin Jordan, Conductor.
Ordered us to use his first name. If you called him “Maestro” he’d say:
– You’re not going to start pissing me off!
On the list of conductors who rise to the rostrum, Armin is in a class of his own. 15 years after his death, the memories remain emotional. A nostalgic former member of the OSR: “Before him, there had never been an Armin Jordan; after him, there never will be.”
Equally revealing of his rapport with the general staff is the warning from a former stage manager: “If ever someone dares harm a single hair on Armin’s head, they’ll leave here on a stretcher!”
Be that as it may, he doesn’t seek stardom, which he sees as laughable. Managing a worldwide career, crossing time zones 20 times a year? What for? It makes no sense.
Contacted by the Berlin Philharmonic:
– Where is Berlin?
Approached by the Met:
– Ask my son!
At the same time he agrees to direct his wind playing pals in Nantua, with or without a fee.
Convinced that true music belongs to its native soil, opposed to any attempt at standardization, he pursues an essentially Helvetic career, despite his many appearances in Paris.
In front of his musicians, he always minimizes his role: “They are the ones making the music; I’m like a cop at the crossroads, I just oversee the traffic.” Adding that he’s not there to make an exhibition of himself.
Indeed, his gestures are quite unaffected, which frees his soloists, who – miraculously – in whatever orchestra respond with the sound he seeks.
What other conductor, back in the green room after loud applause, would describe his performance as lamentable…
Armin: no one’s fool. “Insight” is an understatement to describe the subtility and lucidity that sizes up any interlocutor, the deep understanding of the inner workings of the human mind that immediately detects pretence.
Jubilant as a child splashing through puddles, he tramples on platitudes. He is anything but a dictator. Looking as if butter wouldn’t melt, he quite likes to shock, but however provoking his sallies, however debatable his jokes, they are a sign of complicity. On a background of pessimism and tragedy, Armin presents himself in playful mood, as if to flout fate. To understand Armin, one must see beyond the paradoxes.
In what does he believe? Solely in music, the only thing capable of illustrating transcendence, of reaching beyond words. His role is therefore modestly limited to communicate what he intimately perceives. And music carried him until his last day.
One must have seen him, before rehearsals, reach the rostrum on unsteady legs, his breathing laboured, and at the instant the music began, seen his face light up with indescribable well-being.
André Piguet, Former President
of the Amis de l’OSR