Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 348731 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Leo K.

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1502
  • Author of 'False Barnyard'
    • Conceptual Music
  • Currently Listening to:
    Sibelius, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bach
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2860 on: Today at 03:49:33 AM »
There aren’t a lot of chamber works from Sibelius that I’d call top-drawer (almost all of them were composed well before he found his compositional voice), but he did write one masterpiece in the genre and it is Voces intimae, Op. 56. This is an astonishing work and a must-hear, IMHO. All of the incidental music is worth hearing, but The Tempest, Op. 109, for me, is greatest of them all. The solo piano music consists of many great miniatures, but here are a few favorites: Kyllikki, Op. 41, Five Characteristic Impressions, Op. 103, Cinq morceaux, Opps. 75 & 85 and all of the Sonatinas. Also the songs are worth your time and here it doesn’t even matter what I choose, it’ll be great. Happy listening!

Thank you for those thoughts, I shall check around, thank you all!

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 54351
  • Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Entartete Musik
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2861 on: Today at 05:04:37 AM »
But there are also accounts that he had a version fair copied in the 1930s and the faint hope is that a copy is sitting in some library or storage somewhere.

If this was the case, I think we’d have heard the work by now. You mean to tell me that a library wouldn’t notice a manuscript from the foremost Finnish composer of all-time lying around their building after roughly 90 years? I don’t believe this to be the case. He burned the work, it’s gone. There’s nothing left with the exception of those little scraps that appeared in the BIS series.
Don’t forget your four A’s, folks: Alex, Arnie, Alban and Anton


Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1411
  • Location: California
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2862 on: Today at 05:11:20 AM »
But there are also accounts that he had a version fair copied in the 1930s and the faint hope is that a copy is sitting in some library or storage somewhere.

Yes this.  He burned his copy but would have had a copyist prepare early draft when he thought it might be near performance ready.  So other people would have touched it and sometimes they could have archival copies in storage bins without realizing.  When a composer dies, universities or publishers frequently get boxes of uncatalogued sketches and manuscripts and they sometimes contain significant works like Shostakovich's Orango opera that was discovered in 2004 and premiered in 2015.  Part of the challenge is to what extant are the bits and pieces of these sketches ready for performance versus just interesting to musicologists and researchers.  In Mahler 10, there is quite a bit of unused material that is 100% Mahler but aborted.  If that was performed it would feel very rough and amateur at best.  I'm talking about his sketches, not the short score (which is essentially the sketches then fully composed, and his final work, the full score which he died after only completing the first and second movement).  So in sketches you might find half baked ideas, alternative thoughts (like an idea and a revised version or two of the same idea as alternates and the composer hadn't yet decided which he was going to use), music that might not be flushed out such as having place holder like block chords of what would later become counterpoint with moving lines, etc.  The composer would know they'll worry about this later but in the sketch all we'll get is that snapshot.  I believe this is the case of what we have with what is being called the fragments of Symphony No. 8.  I think there is nothing tying it to no. 8 or if it truly was no. 8, it has practically no resemblance of what would have become of it any more than randomly pulling out a "fragment" or passage from Mahler's sketch of 10.  Sure from time to time there will be something that makes to the final completed vision but most gets reshaped till it's unrecognizable or discarded. 

Offline Wanderer

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5640
  • Quo non ascendam?
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2863 on: Today at 05:27:37 AM »
But there are also accounts that he had a version fair copied in the 1930s and the faint hope is that a copy is sitting in some library or storage somewhere.

That’s what I’m hoping for. After all, there’s the precedent of Berlioz’s Messe solennelle.

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22058
    • Brian's blog
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2864 on: Today at 05:28:54 AM »
Some more examples after Googling: the original manuscript of a Mozart sonata was discovered in 2014 (somewhat different from the "known" version), in 2018 an abandoned house in Chicago was found to contain a bunch of full-sized full-length scores by African-American composer Florence Price, and the original score of Malcolm Arnold's Seventh Symphony was "discovered" on eBay. In World War II, the Red Army stole an entire library of music from Berlin, and when it was returned in 2002, it was found to contain all kinds of stuff, including a "new" Vivaldi opera about Montezuma.

Offline Madiel

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10010
    • A musical diary
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Currently Listening to:
    Whatever's listed in my blog.
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2865 on: Today at 06:25:26 AM »
Yes this.  He burned his copy but would have had a copyist prepare early draft when he thought it might be near performance ready.  So other people would have touched it and sometimes they could have archival copies in storage bins without realizing.  When a composer dies, universities or publishers frequently get boxes of uncatalogued sketches and manuscripts and they sometimes contain significant works like Shostakovich's Orango opera that was discovered in 2004 and premiered in 2015.  Part of the challenge is to what extant are the bits and pieces of these sketches ready for performance versus just interesting to musicologists and researchers.  In Mahler 10, there is quite a bit of unused material that is 100% Mahler but aborted.  If that was performed it would feel very rough and amateur at best.  I'm talking about his sketches, not the short score (which is essentially the sketches then fully composed, and his final work, the full score which he died after only completing the first and second movement).  So in sketches you might find half baked ideas, alternative thoughts (like an idea and a revised version or two of the same idea as alternates and the composer hadn't yet decided which he was going to use), music that might not be flushed out such as having place holder like block chords of what would later become counterpoint with moving lines, etc.  The composer would know they'll worry about this later but in the sketch all we'll get is that snapshot.  I believe this is the case of what we have with what is being called the fragments of Symphony No. 8.  I think there is nothing tying it to no. 8 or if it truly was no. 8, it has practically no resemblance of what would have become of it any more than randomly pulling out a "fragment" or passage from Mahler's sketch of 10.  Sure from time to time there will be something that makes to the final completed vision but most gets reshaped till it's unrecognizable or discarded.

You don't seem to realise that the first thing you're agreeing to and the thing you say later in this post are pretty much opposite. You're simultaneously rejecting the small amounts of Symphony No.8 material we've been told exist, and yet presenting as an alternative that there is a much larger chunk of Symphony No.8 material sitting out there somewhere.

This is wishful thinking at its finest. I'm not saying that there couldn't possibly be further material out there to be discovered, but whether or not it exists is not remotely affected by whether or not listeners are satisfied with the known material. Accounts of a version being copied in the 1930s are evidence. A listener's feelings about sketches are not.
« Last Edit: Today at 06:28:35 AM by Madiel »
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline Madiel

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10010
    • A musical diary
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Currently Listening to:
    Whatever's listed in my blog.
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2866 on: Today at 06:31:43 AM »
Some more examples after Googling: the original manuscript of a Mozart sonata was discovered in 2014 (somewhat different from the "known" version), in 2018 an abandoned house in Chicago was found to contain a bunch of full-sized full-length scores by African-American composer Florence Price, and the original score of Malcolm Arnold's Seventh Symphony was "discovered" on eBay. In World War II, the Red Army stole an entire library of music from Berlin, and when it was returned in 2002, it was found to contain all kinds of stuff, including a "new" Vivaldi opera about Montezuma.

Some of Dvorak's early works (I forget which ones right now) survived because other people had copies that Dvorak had forgotten about.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 22058
    • Brian's blog
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2867 on: Today at 07:43:37 AM »
Some of Dvorak's early works (I forget which ones right now) survived because other people had copies that Dvorak had forgotten about.
Definitely the first symphony, I believe.

Offline MusicTurner

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2307
  • Location: Cph
Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2868 on: Today at 07:43:47 AM »
Stravinsky's big 'Chant Funebre' was only rediscovered in 2015. Some Rozycki manuscripts, including a good part of a Violin Concerto, were found buried due to WW II events, in a suitcase in his former garden, by construction workers ...
« Last Edit: Today at 07:49:07 AM by MusicTurner »