Mariss Jansons, Who Led Top Orchestras, Dies at 76


The numerous recordings Mr. Jansons made with various orchestras also sometimes showed a taste for underappreciated works. In 1999, for instance, he and the Berlin Philharmonic recorded orchestral works by Kurt Weill, a composer much better known from the theater.

Mr. Jansons often noted that each of the many orchestras he conducted had different strengths and sounds. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he had been chief conductor since 2003, particularly impressed him when it was at its quietest.

“We have a very full sound, very emotional, brilliant and dark, the full spectrum,” he said in an interview on the orchestra’s website. “What pleases me most is our pianissimo: It’s easy to play soft, but extremely hard to sound vibrant and expressive at the same time. This orchestra can do it.”

The 1996 heart attack that nearly killed him was almost a case of history repeating itself. His father, too, had a heart attack while performing, in 1984; his was fatal. Mr. Jansons said his own near-death experience changed him musically.

“Of course, you start to analyze what is important in life, really, and what is a priority, and how to divide your time and calculate your energy,” he told The Times in 1997. “But then something comes unconsciously, and this is what I felt in music. I started to like calmer music, quieter music. I like slower tempos. I enjoy it more, because I enjoy, perhaps, a more philosophical approach.”

Mr. Jansons’s first marriage ended in divorce. His survivors include his second wife, Irina (Outchitel) Jansons, and a daughter from his first marriage, Ilona. He lived in St. Petersburg.

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