Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 336464 times)

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Offline edward

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #100 on: October 23, 2007, 05:35:15 AM »
For what it's worth, the symphonies that really got me back into Sibelius (after hearing mostly 1, 2 and 5 when young) were 4 and 7. :)

I still don't have much time for 1 & 2, but subsequently have grown to love 3, 5 and particularly 6.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #101 on: October 23, 2007, 05:40:26 AM »
[ B ] You never know;  for some people, № 4 may be the Sibelius Lever.  All I say is, it's possible (the freethinker in me).

Absolutely...and the Fourth is his masterpiece. Nonetheless it's not the work I'd first recomend for a Sibelius beginner. What surprises me is Mark leaving out the First, which is the symphony I'd start Marvin with...but then I'm a chronological kind of guy  ;D

Sarge
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 05:41:57 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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"

Mark

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #102 on: October 23, 2007, 05:43:18 AM »
What surprises me is Mark leaving out the First, which is the symphony I'd start Marvin with...but then I'm a chronological kind of guy  ;D

Sarge

I guess everyone has a different 'biting point' with these symphonies; for me, it was No. 2 (I never really 'got' No. 1 for quite some time). And thanks for the link to the Maazel. :)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #103 on: October 23, 2007, 05:50:49 AM »
I guess everyone has a different 'biting point' with these symphonies; for me, it was No. 2 (I never really 'got' No. 1 for quite some time). And thanks for the link to the Maazel. :)

It's just not me and my oddball taste: M and a few others also have a very high opinion of certain symphonies in Maazel's Vienna cycle...and it's dirt cheap. Well worth a purchase.

Although I fell immediately in love with Finlandia when I was a teen (played it in high school band) I didn't really connect with Sibelius until I heard Maazel conduct the Fifth in Cleveland (December 1972, I think). A few months later I heard the Second in Cincinnati and that cemented the deal  :)

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"

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #104 on: October 23, 2007, 10:54:29 AM »


  OK now I am intrigued, what is it about the 4th Symphony that sets it apart from the rest?  different sound texture? style? is it more complex musically? whats really going on here  ??? ??  When I first approached Bruckner's symphonies I started at the beginning and moved sequentially culminating in the 9th that seemed to work out great for me....now from what I am reading I have to go through a juggling act with Sibelius, skipping the 4th till the end..but before I join the circus I would like to know why?

  PS:  I am keen on acquiring all of Sibelius' symphonies but if listening requires some variation in order then I am just going to have to live with it!!

  marvin

Kullervo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #105 on: October 23, 2007, 10:58:16 AM »
I got into Sibelius through symphonies 4 and 7 and Tapiola. The 4th I still don't understand, but I liked the 7th almost immediately. I'll have to give the 4th another listen to remember what it is I find confusing.

Mark

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #106 on: October 23, 2007, 11:13:22 AM »
I'm going to listen to his Fourth again this evening when all here is quiet. I need to refresh my memory ...

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #107 on: October 23, 2007, 11:16:38 AM »
  OK now I am intrigued, what is it about the 4th Symphony that sets it apart from the rest?  different sound texture? style? is it more complex musically? whats really going on here  ??? ??  When I first approached Bruckner's symphonies I started at the beginning and moved sequentially culminating in the 9th that seemed to work out great for me....now from what I am reading I have to go through a juggling act with Sibelius, skipping the 4th till the end..but before I join the circus I would like to know why?

  PS:  I am keen on acquiring all of Sibelius' symphonies but if listening requires some variation in order then I am just going to have to live with it!!

  marvin

Going from symphony no.1 to no.7 chronologically would be an excellent idea if you have the will, as his evolving style is remarkable to trace :) The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works - and if you already have the previous three (and possibly Kullervo) under your belt before listening, it has no chance of alienating you.

Note that there is much crossover between his symphonies and tone poems, to the extent that it is difficult to know where one starts and the other ends. His 7th symphony is a very refined single movement work (although it can be divided into sections for CDs, but it is continuously played throughout), and in some ways his tone poem Tapiola is almost his 8th symphony, as it feels very natural coming after the single movement 7th. His tone poems are an equally important area of his work to his symphonies, so if you are looking to choose between various cheap boxed sets, perhaps pick one with a good selection of them - or supplement your purchase with a tone poem disc :)
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #108 on: October 23, 2007, 11:26:49 AM »
The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works . . . .

And I delight in the sequence of the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, because no two of them have the same character.  A major voice doesn't sing the same song all the time.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #109 on: October 23, 2007, 11:29:30 AM »
Going from symphony no.1 to no.7 chronologically would be an excellent idea if you have the will, as his evolving style is remarkable to trace :) The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works - and if you already have the previous three (and possibly Kullervo) under your belt before listening, it has no chance of alienating you.

Note that there is much crossover between his symphonies and tone poems, to the extent that it is difficult to know where one starts and the other ends. His 7th symphony is a very refined single movement work (although it can be divided into sections for CDs, but it is continuously played throughout), and in some ways his tone poem Tapiola is almost his 8th symphony, as it feels very natural coming after the single movement 7th. His tone poems are an equally important area of his work to his symphonies, so if you are looking to choose between various cheap boxed sets, perhaps pick one with a good selection of them - or supplement your purchase with a tone poem disc :)

  Thanks Lethe for the reassurance on the 4th and the tip on the tone poems, as I prepare to make my amazon purchase I will keep all these points in mind.

  marvin

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #110 on: October 23, 2007, 11:41:03 AM »
Oh, tone-poems, now! the following are Essential!!

Valse triste, Opus 44 No. 1
Pohjola's daughter (Pohjolan tytär), Opus 49
Night-Ride and Sunrise (Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu), Opus 55
Luonnotar, Opus 70
Tapiola, Opus 112


And the incidental music to The Tempest is below the green lemon, as well.

Kullervo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #111 on: October 23, 2007, 11:43:47 AM »
The Oceanides is my favorite. :)

Mark

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #112 on: October 23, 2007, 11:44:16 AM »
Oh, tone-poems, now! the following are Essential!!

Valse triste, Opus 44 No. 1
Pohjola's daughter (Pohjolan tytär), Opus 49
Night-Ride and Sunrise (Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu), Opus 55
Luonnotar, Opus 70
Tapiola, Opus 112


And the incidental music to The Tempest is below the green lemon, as well.

Everything this man says in this post is true. You must buy recordings of all of these without delay. 8)

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #113 on: October 23, 2007, 11:45:30 AM »
The Oceanides is my favorite. :)

Oh, I knew I should omit one, whose omission I would immediately rue!  :)

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #114 on: October 23, 2007, 11:51:37 AM »
The Oceanides is the one I obsess most over, too. The ones which I consider very important:

En Saga
The Dryad
Pohjola's Daughter
Finlandia
Night Ride and Sunrise
The Bard
Tapiola
The Oceanides
Luonnotar
Lemminkäinen Suite (a collection)
Scènes Historiques I & II (collections)
Valse Triste (not really a tone poem, but popular)

There are a few hidden gems, but those seem to be the major ones.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

karlhenning

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #115 on: October 23, 2007, 11:52:30 AM »
Valse Triste (not really a tone poem, but popular)

Granted;  originally incidental music.

Kullervo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #116 on: October 23, 2007, 01:00:53 PM »
The fourth... what to make of that last movement??

Mark

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #117 on: October 23, 2007, 01:09:20 PM »
The fourth... what to make of that last movement??

This symphony is, in general, the odd-man-out in the cycle as a whole. It doesn't endear itself to you in the way the others so immediately can. 'Dark', 'cold', 'brooding', 'melancholy' - all these words have been used to describe it, and rightly so. It seems so desperately sad, particularly in the third movement. Painfully so, almost.

Kullervo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #118 on: October 23, 2007, 01:12:12 PM »
This symphony is, in general, the odd-man-out in the cycle as a whole. It doesn't endear itself to you in the way the others so immediately can. 'Dark', 'cold', 'brooding', 'melancholy' - all these words have been used to describe it, and rightly so. It seems so desperately sad, particularly in the third movement. Painfully so, almost.

Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit my eyes always get misty during the third movement. The fourth movement is just totally baffling to me.

Mark

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #119 on: October 23, 2007, 01:19:11 PM »
The fourth movement is just totally baffling to me.

Surprises me that you say this. I hear the fourth movement as pretty inevitable after its predecessors. It's almost as though what's most co-ordinated and lyrical from the first three movements is making an attempt to bring light to this darkest of Sibelius' symphonies before it closes. It's very Mahlerian, in a way - I hear parallels between this final movement and the scherzo of Mahler's Fifth.