Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 173342 times)

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George

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2007, 09:27:50 AM »
Alright George, I hope you read this thread because I decided to post my thoughts here:

I wasn't, but I am now. Thanks!

Quote
I currently have three recordings of Sibelius' Sixth Symphony: Bernstein, Blomstedt, and Segerstam.

I'm focusing on the finale, which is where I think these recordings really diverge, and is the heart of the symphony for me:

What I noticed is that Bernstein was uniformly faster than both conductors.  However I think that the finale has a delicate contrast of joy and despair that is lost in the Bernstein recording.  Thanks to the poor quality of the recording the dynamic range sounds squashed, and in combination with the overly zippy tempos, I feel that we never see the manic-depressive mood swings portrayed like we do in Blomstedt and Segerstam.

I think that the slow tempos are essential to really hear the emotional complexity of the Sixth, but I should say that Hurwitz doesn't think so, he think it should be played fast like Bernstein.  George, how does Ashkenazy play it?  I'm wondering if you're in Hurwitz' camp and find Blomstedt's slower tempos distasteful.

Tempos for #6

Ashkenazy's          Blomstedt's
9:23                     9:24
5:42                     6:28
3:54                     3:33
9:17                    10:23

Not sure how fast Bernstein is in the finale, but looks like there's a considerable difference between Ashy and Blom's 2nd and 4th movements.

In 2, I like Blomstedt's tempo more, though I think its a close call because I like Ashy's warmth more.

In 4, Blomstedt's intro was nice. I like his slower approach, with nothing sounding rushed, as is kinda the case with Ashkenazy in the intro to the finale. But then Ashkenazy brings MUCH more excitement as the movement picks up, so he pulled far ahead for me. Its an easy call - Ashy. Everything just sounds more alive with him at the helm, to these ears anyway.

What are Segerstam's timings?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 09:39:03 AM by George »

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2007, 07:42:12 AM »
Did he really burn his 8th symphony and, if so, how far along was it? I read a detailed story about the lengthy but aborted life of the 8th symphony and it was a fascinating tale. The impression I got was that he wrote several starts at an 8th symphony and destroyed them all, in a long road spanning nearly 3 decades. Is there anything, any sketch at all, even a page? He was apparently even promising several times to send it to an orchestra by a certain date, but always backed off at the last minute. And friends remarked that he had put material onto paper for it. This assumption of total destruction by Sibelius was proven wrong once before with the original version of the 5th, right?

My apologies if this is off-topic or common knowledge, but I'd never heard about any of this until yesterday, so I did a search on this board to see if it had been discussed. But I've now read 3 accounts of Sibelius's 8th Symphony, and all 3 differ on some details. Here's one I just read today:

http://www.sibelius.fi/english/elamankaari/sib_kahdeksannen_tuhoaminen.htm

I'm looking for what I read yesterday.

Also, did he basically come to an almost complete halt of all composition for almost 30 years?! Or am I getting the wrong impression?


To tag on another question, this time about the 7th Symphony: how many recordings of it involve "tinkering" with the very end, and why do they do it? For example, I listened to the very last seconds conducted by Ormandy in 1962 and there's a loud trumpet a building crescendo to the end. A version conducted by Vänskä in 1998, the final seconds sound very, very different... No trumpet, and no crescendo. Why such drastic modifications?  This may seem minor on paper, but to listen to it, it sounds like a radical difference to me. (The no-loud-trumpet+no-crescendo sounds way better to me)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 08:27:39 AM by JoshLilly »

Mark G. Simon

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2007, 09:36:36 AM »
Here's a paragraph from Robert Layton's Sibelius

Further evidence that work on the Eighth Symphony was continuing and that it was nearing completion comes in the form of a note, written in September 1933, to his regular copyist to whom he had sent the first fascicle of 23 pages of the orchestral score. From this it is possible to conclude that these pages constituted the first movement and were to be succeeded by a Largo. In all, Sibelius calculated that in its finished form the binding should allow for eight such fascicles, so that the work would be roughly of the same dimensions as the Second Symphony. Both Aino and Margareta Jalas visited the copyist to collect or deliver manuscripts during this period, so that it would seem that the symphony, if not complete, was at an advanced stage. Some years after his death, the composer Joonas Kokkonen asked Aino whether some of the material of the symphony could have been used in the Surusoitto (Funeral music) for organ, op. 111, that Sibelius had provided at very short notice for Axel Gallén-Kallela, which she thought highly plausible.

SimonGodders

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2007, 09:57:49 AM »
Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.

I got this a while ago and agree it's stunning, my first introduction to this music and pianist. Deffo' be on the hunt for more Mustonen.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2007, 11:58:03 AM »
I wasn't, but I am now. Thanks!

Tempos for #6

Ashkenazy's          Blomstedt's
9:23                     9:24
5:42                     6:28
3:54                     3:33
9:17                    10:23

Not sure how fast Bernstein is in the finale...What are Segerstam's timings?

Segerstam        Bernstein
9:27                 8:03     
6:08                 5:32
3:57                 3:54
10:39                8:57

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2007, 12:10:15 PM »
Looks like Lenny made an unseemly rush of the first movement, too.

George

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2007, 05:57:05 AM »
Segerstam        Bernstein
9:27                 8:03     
6:08                 5:32
3:57                 3:54
10:39                8:57

Sarge

Thanks Sarge.  :)

Offline Kurkikohtaus

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2007, 01:29:50 PM »
I join this discussion rather late, and I'm not just referring to the date when this topic was posted.

On June 1st, 2007, The Sibelius Forum celebrated its one year birthday!  That's right, for just over a year now, a small group of Sibelius fanatics have been discussing all the specific intricacies of our favourite composer on this little site.

In no way do I mean to divert traffic away from GMG, but that said, I would love for anyone who's interested to come and have a look.

Recently there have been many server crashed at forumup.com, worldwide, so please be patient if the forum doesn't load, it should be up in a few days.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2007, 01:31:24 PM by Kurkikohtaus »

Mark G. Simon

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2007, 10:09:01 AM »
What a great board it is! Knowledgeable people with interesting things to say, and no idle chit chat.

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2007, 11:20:54 AM »
It's not loading for me . . . .

George

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2007, 06:32:15 PM »
It's not loading for me . . . .

Recently there have been many server crashed at forumup.com, worldwide, so please be patient if the forum doesn't load, it should be up in a few days.

 $:)

Greta

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2007, 02:33:42 AM »
That's a nice forum! I will post there sometime.  :D

So...Sibelius on video, what's out there? I would love to see concert footage of any of his works, especially the symphonies.

It seems there is a whole cycle plus a Kullervo floating around with Salonen conducting the Swedish RSO (!), from broadcasts on a Japanese or European arts channel, and it got me thinking about what there was on DVD. I saw the end of the 5th and it was so great to watch.

Did Bernstein ever film these?

Offline Wanderer

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2007, 03:25:50 AM »
As far as that Isokoski disc goes, I recommend it without reservation, Q! Her rendition of Luonnotar is worth the asking price of this disc alone.

I second this recommendation. Immaculate performances and a thrilling version of Luonnotar.

Kullervo

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Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2007, 06:41:21 AM »
You can find it here.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2007, 09:12:10 AM »
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline Florestan

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #55 on: July 04, 2007, 02:21:05 AM »
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Shrunk

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #56 on: July 04, 2007, 05:13:04 AM »
I'll be eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail.  Alex Ross is a great writer on music, and his website is well worth visiting:

http://www.therestisnoise.com/

It looks like the Sibelius article will be included in an upcoming book on 20th century music.

Kullervo

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #57 on: July 04, 2007, 05:16:32 AM »
I'll be eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail.  Alex Ross is a great writer on music, and his website is well worth visiting:

http://www.therestisnoise.com/

It looks like the Sibelius article will be included in an upcoming book on 20th century music.


Thanks, but his website is how I found the article. I have his blog on an RSS feed. :)

Offline beclemund

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #58 on: July 04, 2007, 01:09:15 PM »
Fascinating article. Thank you for the link.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

sidoze

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Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
« Reply #59 on: July 04, 2007, 01:24:37 PM »
You can find it here.

Now I see where you got your name from

"The national legends of Finland are contained in the “Kalevala,” a poetic epic compiled in 1835 by a country doctor named Elias Lönnrot. Cantos 31 through 36 tell of the bloodthirsty young fighter Kullervo, who has his way with a young woman who turns out to be his sister. She commits suicide; he goes off to war. One day, finding himself again in the forest where the rape occurred, he asks his sword what kind of blood it wishes to taste. The sword demands the blood of a guilty man, whereupon Kullervo rams his body on the blade. In 1891 and 1892, Sibelius, who had just completed two final years of study in Berlin and Vienna, used this dismal tale as the basis for his first major work, “Kullervo,” an eighty-minute symphonic drama for men’s chorus, soloists, and orchestra."

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