Author Topic: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony  (Read 3296 times)

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Offline Draško

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2017, 06:52:09 AM »
In the 3rd Symphony, first movement toward the end when following pizzicato passage big "Lord of the Rings" theme emerges, first in winds and then even broader reiteration in strings and brass.
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2017, 07:05:26 AM »
5th

- absolute favorite moment, maybe in any of his works: the overwhelming modulation at the big statement of the swan theme, that combination of the "swan" line and the woodwinds' soaring lines while the high strings tremelo away on sustained notes

- the swells at the end of the mvmt, the way you think it has reached the climax but not...quite...and then...it finally does...

- the surprising ending (which threw me for a loop the first time I heard it)



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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2017, 07:33:10 AM »
In the Fourth, there are:

- The emergence of the fanfares in the first movement from the murky beginning (and again in the "recapitulation")
- The tritone taking over the texture of the second movement and turning an upbeat scherzo into a malevolent one
- The final stirrings of the adagio before it sinks down into the abyss
- The tonal collisions that halt the attempts at a triumphant finale

Online North Star

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2017, 01:53:01 PM »
Whenever the harp appears in the Sixth, for one thing.
Well, I was going to post this, and then I decided to look at older posts. 8)
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Online North Star

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2017, 01:59:41 PM »
And all of this, too.
The hemiola (and hemiola-ish) internal rhythm changes in the middle movement of the Third.
From the 5th: the opening introduction and then the steady accelerando over some 8-9 minutes to the end of the movement. Then the last six chords of the finale with their widely separated rests and the final unison. I haven't heard that many recordings, but I have yet to hear one where the conductor gives those rests their full value, though.
Too many to list, but the one that towers above all others: the opening bars of the Sixth.
6th:

- The whole 1st mvmt! But especially the bit halfway through where the orchestra arrives at the merry syncopated dance, with the pizz strings and timpani
Yes!  But then, I hasten to add, the whole 3rd movement!  :)
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2017, 02:53:48 PM »
Yes, agree with all the above.  Sibelius symphonies are all favourite moments.  And for me a not terribly obvious or showy one: at the beginning of no.7, after the scales and the A flat minor (!) chord, there's a bloom of F major horn tone against which the strings slide in with infinite care and subtlety on a B major triad.  It's old JS saying: I'm going to throw a brick through this particular harmonic window, but I'm going to do it very very quietly.
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2017, 03:22:16 PM »
First moment that comes to mind is the final bars of the 7th Symphony. The brass/woodwinds holding C major while the strings go from B to C, only to abruptly end. I always want to hear that C major last, but the jarring, short-lived, although triumphant moment is perfect. We don't need to hear more, we don't need to know more. It's almost like a swift, victorious scream. Unless you're Leonard Bernstein and hold it forever.
I've always likened this moment to a great film ending, one that shockingly ends abruptly, without warning, but has to as that's when the story ends. Like Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. If you've seen the film then you should understand my point (if you haven't I wouldn't mind ruining the movie for you). But as an audience we'd like to think we know where the story, or in Sibelius' case the music, is headed to if it continued. But this is where true artists show themselves. They know exactly how to stimulate their audience, and force them to get involved by not spoon-feeding every bit of emotion.
I've never seen the 7th performed live, but I would hope that the audience would allow that final chord to quietly disappear, and for silence to overtake the music for a few moments.

Offline relm1

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2017, 04:03:17 PM »
First moment that comes to mind is the final bars of the 7th Symphony. The brass/woodwinds holding C major while the strings go from B to C, only to abruptly end. I always want to hear that C major last, but the jarring, short-lived, although triumphant moment is perfect. We don't need to hear more, we don't need to know more. It's almost like a swift, victorious scream. Unless you're Leonard Bernstein and hold it forever.
I've always likened this moment to a great film ending, one that shockingly ends abruptly, without warning, but has to as that's when the story ends. Like Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. If you've seen the film then you should understand my point (if you haven't I wouldn't mind ruining the movie for you). But as an audience we'd like to think we know where the story, or in Sibelius' case the music, is headed to if it continued. But this is where true artists show themselves. They know exactly how to stimulate their audience, and force them to get involved by not spoon-feeding every bit of emotion.
I've never seen the 7th performed live, but I would hope that the audience would allow that final chord to quietly disappear, and for silence to overtake the music for a few moments.

I agree with you.  This is impossible to pick just one favorite moment from Sib's symphonies but that very hard won final resolution at the end of No. 7 is just so perfectly achieved.  One of the things that makes him such a great symphonist is no two symphonies sound alike - he was just constantly evolving but each are immediately distinct and the creation of this unmistakable unique craftsman. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2017, 01:43:55 AM »
Opening of Symphony 4 and last section of symphonies 2 and 3.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline amw

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2017, 03:53:11 AM »
When the chorale comes in for the very last time in the finale of No. 6, at the highest pitch and volume, sounding like a cross between a prayer and a scream.

All of the endings. In particular: end of No. 5 (the swan theme atomised into the simplest possible final cadence), end of first movement of No. 5 (maybe the most exciting ending to any piece of music?), end of scherzo of No. 4 (this ultra disturbed insane movement attempting to disappear into oblivion, with the completely superfluous timpani going bim bam bim), end of No. 3 (after going round and round his triumphant melody about 572309821 times Sibelius just goes "ok, we're ending now", and doesn't even allow the performers a crescendo on the final chord), end of No. 7 as already mentioned, end of second movement of No. 6, etc.....

The throbbing string lines in the first movement of No. 4 that pierce its darkness like rays of sunlight.

The development sections in the first movements of Nos. 3, 4 and 5, which sound less like developments and more like strong winds are buffeting the music around a desolate, barren landscape.

Every time he quietly turns a totally normal chord into what would be a grinding dissonance if we heard it in Schoenberg, but because it's Sibelius just sounds like two different planes of music have happened to intersect at an awkward angle.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2017, 12:36:51 PM »
The "big tune" near the end of the finale of Symphony No. 1, then the E minor conclusion of said symphony.

The buildup and segue from scherzo to finale in No. 2.

The horns in the finale of No. 5.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2017, 05:33:27 PM »
Sibelius, more than almost any other composer except perhaps Elliott Carter, was a master of organic rhythmic transformations.  We first come across this in the 2nd movement of Symphony #1, where the tempo literally doubles in a gradual accelerando, then abruptly shifts back to exactly the opening tempo without losing a beat.  Again, in (as has been mentioned) #2's transition between scherzo and finale.  (And how many conductors mess it up by slowing too much and then having to readjust?)  I think there are similar moments in every one of the Seven, but most masterful of all is how every transition in the Seventh flows without pause or apparent effort... ;D
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2017, 05:36:04 AM »
5th

Listened to the finale with the score last night, two moments really stood out.
The first, after the first swan calling and a little back and forth between the strings and the woodwind, is the key change from E flat to G flat.
The second about midway being the time change from 2/4 to 3/2, with the additional tempo adjustment.
Although being very familiar with the music already this was a first listen with the score, and these moments listed above really were accentuated by better understanding the changes.

For most of high school the finale of the 5th was some of my favorite music. I've been away from it for too long.
I listened to Davis's recording on LSO Live for this, and it was very faithful to Sibelius' score with the exception of a few minor interpretative choices.

Offline Xenophanes

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Re: Favorite moments in a Sibelius symphony
« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2017, 07:30:12 AM »
I especially like the first movement of the Second Symphony, and the first and third movements of the Fifth Symphony.

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