Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 221056 times)

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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2460 on: March 06, 2019, 03:26:24 AM »
Of the various 'hidden gems' mentioned so far I would second Rakastava, perhaps not as obscure as it used to be but still a gem - I have just been listening to it from Barbirolli/Halle - beautiful.

One of my favourite Sibelius LPs  is Antal Dorati and the LSO playing various tone poems. When it was first issued in the 70's Luonnotar was a relative rarity and is still one of my favourites.

Offline DaveF

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2461 on: March 06, 2019, 03:38:05 AM »
Would the Karelia Overture count as obscure?  I didn't know it before I started rehearsing for a performance recently.  It shares the big tune with the 1st movement of the Suite, and is otherwise quite jolly.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2462 on: March 06, 2019, 03:43:14 AM »
Would the Karelia Overture count as obscure?  I didn't know it before I started rehearsing for a performance recently.  It shares the big tune with the 1st movement of the Suite, and is otherwise quite jolly.

I suppose it is relatively obscure compared to the Suite but I acquired it on one of the first Sibelius LPs I bought as a fill-up to the Fifth Symphony from Anthony Collins and the LSO

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2463 on: March 06, 2019, 05:01:53 AM »
In general, I don't think we've established a threshold on what is obscure.  ;D

At a minimum, I'd propose: Anything outside the seven symphonies, the violin concerto, Kullervo, Nightride & Sunrise, Finlandia, Swan of Tuonela, Tapiola, En Saga, Oceanides, Pohjola's Daughter, Valse Triste, Karelija Suite, Andante Festivo, and the Lemminkäinen Suite is potentially obscure.

Right on the "Dalton Line" of obscurity: King Christian Suite and The Bard...

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2464 on: March 06, 2019, 05:17:17 AM »
The string quartet might also count as unobscure or maybe borderline. And maybe a couple of songs, the Pelleas+Melisande and Tempest suites. Almost anything else is rather obscure and many listeners were probably, like me, quite astonished how large the BIS edition turned out to be.

Sibelius clearly seems a case of an "iceberg" with most of the oeuvre under water. Not to discourage anyone from discovery, what I have listened to beyond the tip usually seems obscure for a reason. ;) (E.g I got some early chamber music on BIS or as fillers and the piano selection Gould recorded and found this rather forgettable, same for the less known incidental music) But I am not the biggest fan even of the famous works.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2465 on: March 06, 2019, 05:26:47 AM »
many listeners were probably, like me, quite astonished how large the BIS edition turned out to be.

It would not be quite so large if they hadn't recorded every alternate version and every scrap of study exercise they could lay their hands on.

Don't get me wrong, it would still be quite substantial. But some volumes in the set would shrink by a disc or two. I've yet to encounter any other edition for a composer that goes to quite such lengths to record every single jotted note.

In the one volume I did buy, because it was pretty much free of the more insubstantial things, I still have 4 copies of the choral Har du mod? op.31/2. Haven't listened to them yet...
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2466 on: March 06, 2019, 05:58:05 AM »
Of the various 'hidden gems' mentioned so far I would second Rakastava, perhaps not as obscure as it used to be but still a gem - I have just been listening to it from Barbirolli/Halle - beautiful.

One of my favourite Sibelius LPs  is Antal Dorati and the LSO playing various tone poems. When it was first issued in the 70's Luonnotar was a relative rarity and is still one of my favourites.

+1 for Luonnotar, especially in the Dorati recording.

Am currently really enjoying 'The Bard' in this recording:
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 06:02:56 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2467 on: March 06, 2019, 08:26:58 AM »
Luonnotar is still above water, I'd say
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline relm1

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2468 on: March 06, 2019, 05:43:55 PM »
Okko Kamu is a very fine conductor.  I've loved everything he's done if it is austere.  I haven't heard anything light from him but he's great with Shostakovich/Sibelius.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2469 on: March 06, 2019, 10:42:30 PM »
Okko Kamu is a very fine conductor.  I've loved everything he's done if it is austere.  I haven't heard anything light from him but he's great with Shostakovich/Sibelius.
I agree. I first came across Kamu conducting Sibelius's Symphony 3 and 1 on DGG. These were part of the incomplete cycle by Karajan who did not conduct those symphonies I think.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2470 on: March 07, 2019, 12:20:01 AM »
Kamu was studying or working with Karajan as an assistant. He recorded #2 with the Berlin Philharmonic. Apparently Karajan never recorded (or conducted) #3 (he recorded 1 and 2 later for EMI) so Kamu ended up doing the first three + fillers (and I think another Sibelius orchestral pieces LP later) so DG had a complete cycle to offer.

As I pointed out earlier, except for the violin concerto and a few of the shorter orchestral pieces, Sibelius was not that popular in Germany/Austria. Many of the Germano-Austrian conductors did very little Sibelius, so Karajan was an exception. This seems even more the case in France and Italy: Abbado, Giulini, Chailly never recorded any, AFAIK besides accompanying in the VC. The recent P.Järvi recordings were the first complete Sibelius symphonies with a French orchestra on records and I'd bet that even single recordings are few.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline springrite

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2471 on: March 07, 2019, 12:27:13 AM »
Luonnotar is still above water, I'd say
The water level ain't where it used to be.

BTW, Luonnotar was actually one of my early favorite works of Sibelius, thanks to a Soderstrom recording.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2472 on: March 07, 2019, 01:35:08 AM »
Kamu was studying or working with Karajan as an assistant. He recorded #2 with the Berlin Philharmonic. Apparently Karajan never recorded (or conducted) #3 (he recorded 1 and 2 later for EMI) so Kamu ended up doing the first three + fillers (and I think another Sibelius orchestral pieces LP later) so DG had a complete cycle to offer.

As I pointed out earlier, except for the violin concerto and a few of the shorter orchestral pieces, Sibelius was not that popular in Germany/Austria. Many of the Germano-Austrian conductors did very little Sibelius, so Karajan was an exception. This seems even more the case in France and Italy: Abbado, Giulini, Chailly never recorded any, AFAIK besides accompanying in the VC. The recent P.Järvi recordings were the first complete Sibelius symphonies with a French orchestra on records and I'd bet that even single recordings are few.

Pierre Monteux recorded Symphony No 2 but not with a French orchestra (the LSO) - can't think of any other French Sibelius recordings.

Edit: shortly after posting this I had a vague memory of reading something about Sibelius in a French music magazine. After digging into the archives I found the February 2015 issue of Diapason. It had special features to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sibelius.

It started by posing the question 'Had Sibelius' time finally come in France?' The answer was probably not. There was a lengthy biographical piece with numerous illustrations, a short discussion of his influence (non-existent in France) and finally a selected discography - the usual suspects and no French recordings whatsoever.

I suppose that they bothered at all indicates some interest.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 02:15:29 AM by Biffo »

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2473 on: March 07, 2019, 02:45:18 AM »
Okay, I am most definitely adding Snöfrid to the list of hidden gems. I'd already though it was good after listening on streaming, but now that I have the relevant CD and the text in front of me... even better.



Vanska's recording (BIS edition or single CD) is richly coloured and powerful. There are a couple of other recordings available (Klas on Ondine, Paavo Jarvi on Virgin) and my own listening notes indicated all the versions were decent, though I think I liked Jarvi the least.

But the BIS notes describe it as a "vastly underrated composition", and it certainly is making an impression with me.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2474 on: March 07, 2019, 08:02:36 AM »
Snöfrid is a fine work, indeed, Madiel. Underrated? Absolutely!
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Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2475 on: March 16, 2019, 03:33:05 AM »
Here is your opportunity to tell me whether I'm crazy.

Listen to the scherzo of the 4th symphony.

Listen to Impromptu, op.19, which Sibelius revised in 1910 (in the period the 4th was being completed).

Tell me if you hear anything familiar??
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2476 on: March 16, 2019, 08:53:47 AM »
Here is your opportunity to tell me whether I'm crazy.

Listen to the scherzo of the 4th symphony.

Listen to Impromptu, op.19, which Sibelius revised in 1910 (in the period the 4th was being completed).

Tell me if you hear anything familiar??

Inspired thereby:


#morninglistening to #Sibelius (@JeanJCSibelius) w/@LahtiSymphony, #DominanteChoir & @OsmoVanska on #BISrecords: #Kullervo

: http://a-fwd.to/7jDekTY

#Impromptu op.19 for Orchestra and choir

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2477 on: March 16, 2019, 08:15:13 PM »
Here is your opportunity to tell me whether I'm crazy.

Listen to the scherzo of the 4th symphony.

Listen to Impromptu, op.19, which Sibelius revised in 1910 (in the period the 4th was being completed).

Tell me if you hear anything familiar??

I’ll have to do this on Monday. I definitely will listen for what you’re hearing. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case given the proximity of both Symphony No. 4 and the revision of Impromptu.
“I love music passionately. And because I love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.” - Claude Debussy