Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 340081 times)

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Offline Herman

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2700 on: December 04, 2020, 12:51:15 PM »
AFAIK those string orchestra arrangements are always worse than the originals, for instance because a whole orchestra moves slower, and is, in a strange way, less immediate.

IMHO the most successful orchestra version is of Tchaikovsky's Souvenir.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2701 on: December 04, 2020, 01:01:31 PM »
AFAIK those string orchestra arrangements are always worse than the originals, for instance because a whole orchestra moves slower, and is, in a strange way, less immediate.

IMHO the most successful orchestra version is of Tchaikovsky's Souvenir.

Another good example would be Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings (arr. from the slow movement from his String Quartet).
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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2702 on: December 04, 2020, 03:40:02 PM »
I bought them as box sets, but I do have few individual releases from years ago before these box sets starting coming out. That Essential Sibelius box set is one I owned, but ended up gifting to a friend since I started to collect the Sibelius Edition sets. It’s a great set of course, but I needed more than what it provided hence why I gave it away.
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Offline Herman

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2703 on: December 05, 2020, 01:46:00 AM »
Another good example would be Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings (arr. from the slow movement from his String Quartet).

Indeed

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2704 on: December 05, 2020, 02:08:57 AM »
I think it works better with pieces that are not as "quartet-like", e.g. comparably "orchestral" sextets like Souvenir or Verklärte Nacht.
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Offline Irons

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2705 on: December 08, 2020, 08:36:16 AM »
Another good example would be Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings (arr. from the slow movement from his String Quartet).

Not good but great. The one case where the transcription is way more famous then the work it was taken from. Borodin and Tchaikovsky quartets were used in a similar way but they are "bleeding chunks". The Barber is a masterpiece in its own right.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2706 on: December 08, 2020, 08:42:25 AM »
Technically, the Barber adagio is also a bleeding chunk, isn't it? (I am not sure, I have ever heard the whole quartet...) But it is certainly more weighty than the "Bonbons" taken from the Borodin and Tchaikovsky.
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.
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Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2707 on: January 13, 2021, 05:26:35 AM »
A question for the Sibelius experts here.

What makes the single movement Sibelius Symphony no 7 a symphony rather than a tone poem? At 22 minutes it is the same duration as En Saga. I know the piece started out as a more conventional symphony which across the drafts eventually turned out as having one movement. It uses material from a tone poem that was never published.

On disc it is given variously one track, four tracks or five tracks. The structure listed in WiKi shows bar numbers with changes of tempi, but I have no idea for instance whether the score for En Saga could be laid out in similar manner or whither it certainly would not look symphonic in structure if it was.

Apart from the composer saying so, is there a technical reason for it being classified as a symphony?

Mike
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Offline Biffo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2708 on: January 13, 2021, 06:02:17 AM »
A question for the Sibelius experts here.

What makes the single movement Sibelius Symphony no 7 a symphony rather than a tone poem? At 22 minutes it is the same duration as En Saga. I know the piece started out as a more conventional symphony which across the drafts eventually turned out as having one movement. It uses material from a tone poem that was never published.

On disc it is given variously one track, four tracks or five tracks. The structure listed in WiKi shows bar numbers with changes of tempi, but I have no idea for instance whether the score for En Saga could be laid out in similar manner or whither it certainly would not look symphonic in structure if it was.

Apart from the composer saying so, is there a technical reason for it being classified as a symphony?

Mike

Initially Sibelius called the work a Symphonic Fantasy but changed his mind. En Saga is too episodic to be a symphony but it has been claimed that Pohjola's Daughter really is a true one-movement symphony.

I am sure we have discussed this before in this forum.

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2709 on: January 13, 2021, 06:09:16 AM »
Certainly for a composer like Sibelius, the idea of a symphony is that it has a level of thematic integration and a working out of ideas in a logical way.

I would argue it’s actually the composers who use multiple terms, or even change their minds about a piece, that show the clearest indications of caring about the distinction. Sibelius, Holmboe... I’m sure there are others. These composers ask themselves whether they’ve created music that takes the initial thematic cells and builds a structure out of them. A kind of musical argument.
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Offline relm1

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2710 on: January 13, 2021, 07:11:05 AM »
A question for the Sibelius experts here.

What makes the single movement Sibelius Symphony no 7 a symphony rather than a tone poem? At 22 minutes it is the same duration as En Saga. I know the piece started out as a more conventional symphony which across the drafts eventually turned out as having one movement. It uses material from a tone poem that was never published.

On disc it is given variously one track, four tracks or five tracks. The structure listed in WiKi shows bar numbers with changes of tempi, but I have no idea for instance whether the score for En Saga could be laid out in similar manner or whither it certainly would not look symphonic in structure if it was.

Apart from the composer saying so, is there a technical reason for it being classified as a symphony?

Mike

"A symphony is not just a composition in the ordinary sense of the word," Sibelius wrote in 1910. "It is more a confession of faith at different stages of one’s life."  Generally consider that tone poems have programmatic (story) inspiration so follow a dramatic arch that might not be the most concise way of expressing a purely musical idea.  The symphony would generally have a principle idea that develops over time, a contrasting idea, harmonic significance (such as No. 7 starting in C minor and working through great tumult to arrive at C major only in its final glorious moments).  You could consider tone poems as a poem and a symphony as a novel.  It's possible the poem is extremely long and complex and the novel is short and lacking depth but in general a poem is more lyrically concerned and shorter and in general a novel is a work of sprawl with multiple characters, arcs, and an ultimate resolution through struggle. 

Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2711 on: January 13, 2021, 07:16:02 AM »
Certainly for a composer like Sibelius, the idea of a symphony is that it has a level of thematic integration and a working out of ideas in a logical way.

I would argue it’s actually the composers who use multiple terms, or even change their minds about a piece, that show the clearest indications of caring about the distinction. Sibelius, Holmboe... I’m sure there are others. These composers ask themselves whether they’ve created music that takes the initial thematic cells and builds a structure out of them. A kind of musical argument.

That second last sentence is not confined to the formal symphony.

Strauss Death and Transfiguration is structured as follows

There are four parts (with Ritter's poetic thoughts condensed):

Largo (The sick man, near death)
Allegro molto agitato (The battle between life and death offers no respite to the man)
Meno mosso (The dying man's life passes before him)
Moderato (The sought-after transfiguration)

A typical performance lasts about 25 minutes, so longer than the Sibelius and without the programme, that would read like the structure of a symphony. There are themes in it that appear and reappear.

For Scheherazade Rimsky wrote: ‘All I desired was that the hearer, if he liked my piece as symphonic music, should carry away the impression that it is beyond a doubt an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders and not merely four pieces played one after the other and composed on the basis of themes common to all the four movements.’

It has themes worked through it. Again,reading the tempi for the movements without knowing the name of the piece, I would assume it was a symphony, but it has never been referred to as one.

I suppose the world takes the lead of the composer and I am fine with that, I just wondered if there were underlying technical reasons that the world might not decide otherwise.
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Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2712 on: January 13, 2021, 07:22:19 AM »
"A symphony is not just a composition in the ordinary sense of the word," Sibelius wrote in 1910. "It is more a confession of faith at different stages of one’s life."  Generally consider that tone poems have programmatic (story) inspiration so follow a dramatic arch that might not be the most concise way of expressing a purely musical idea.  The symphony would generally have a principle idea that develops over time, a contrasting idea, harmonic significance (such as No. 7 starting in C minor and working through great tumult to arrive at C major only in its final glorious moments).  You could consider tone poems as a poem and a symphony as a novel.  It's possible the poem is extremely long and complex and the novel is short and lacking depth but in general a poem is more lyrically concerned and shorter and in general a novel is a work of sprawl with multiple characters, arcs, and an ultimate resolution through struggle.

Thanks for that, which was posted while I was writing my own post. That sounds convincing. But, La Mer has no real programme, it feels like a three movement symphony but is not referred to as such. Do you see a reason it would not be a symphony? Are you suggesting that symphonies work more in the abstract? Beethoven’s 6th would be the kind of problem to that idea. But perhaps I am reading something into your words that you did not say. Your explanation is attractive, but I need to think on it.

Mike
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Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2713 on: January 13, 2021, 07:29:16 AM »
Initially Sibelius called the work a Symphonic Fantasy but changed his mind. En Saga is too episodic to be a symphony but it has been claimed that Pohjola's Daughter really is a true one-movement symphony.

I am sure we have discussed this before in this forum.

Thanks, I did wonder too about En Saga, though it is quite short. But pre Classical symphonies were short. I did think about looking through the archives. We have been around a long time. Although the answer may sit there, we would completely shortcut discussion by referring back. That could be saved until people active now have had a chance to mull it over.

Mike
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2714 on: January 13, 2021, 07:53:24 AM »
I never really questioned whether Sibelius’ 7th was a symphony or not, because the compose felt that it is symphony, so I’ll definitely take his word for it. This reminds me when Vaughan Williams played back his 8th symphony for some friends and one of those friends spoke up and said it sounded more like a sinfonietta than a symphony. Vaughan Williams being rather adamant about his thoughts on the work said “I don’t care what you say. It’s a symphony.” Sibelius could’ve called the 7th a tone poem, but he didn’t and I think a lot of it has to do with how developed the material in the work.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 07:55:16 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2715 on: January 13, 2021, 08:23:40 AM »
I never really questioned whether Sibelius’ 7th was a symphony or not, because the compose felt that it is symphony, so I’ll definitely take his word for it. This reminds me when Vaughan Williams played back his 8th symphony for some friends and one of those friends spoke up and said it sounded more like a sinfonietta than a symphony. Vaughan Williams being rather adamant about his thoughts on the work said “I don’t care what you say. It’s a symphony.” Sibelius could’ve called the 7th a tone poem, but he didn’t and I think a lot of it has to do with how developed the material in the work.

Yes, it seems obvious, but is there more to it than that?

1889, premier of Mahler’s first symphony, he referred to is as a Symphonic Poem in two parts, within which it had five movements. Public antipathy to it brought about a revision. It became The Tone Poem in Symphonic Form, Titan. Then, the title was ditched, The missing movement restored and it became Symphony in D and then the fifth movement was omitted and it became Symphony No 1. The terms may be fluid, the music stayed much the same, but those terms must have meant something to him and had there not been resistance to it, the first symphony may well have been known as a Symphonic Poem.
 
But I have never seen anyone suggest that is what it is, as it passes the symphonic structure tests. So I still welcome thought on how a one movement piece becomes a symphony, other than because the composer said so. Which in itself may be enough of a sound reason to accept it as such.

Mike

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2716 on: January 13, 2021, 09:27:23 AM »
Yes, it seems obvious, but is there more to it than that?

1889, premier of Mahler’s first symphony, he referred to is as a Symphonic Poem in two parts, within which it had five movements. Public antipathy to it brought about a revision. It became The Tone Poem in Symphonic Form, Titan. Then, the title was ditched, The missing movement restored and it became Symphony in D and then the fifth movement was omitted and it became Symphony No 1. The terms may be fluid, the music stayed much the same, but those terms must have meant something to him and had there not been resistance to it, the first symphony may well have been known as a Symphonic Poem.
 
But I have never seen anyone suggest that is what it is, as it passes the symphonic structure tests. So I still welcome thought on how a one movement piece becomes a symphony, other than because the composer said so. Which in itself may be enough of a sound reason to accept it as such.

Mike

There’s no question that Mahler’s 1st had a more complicated history than Sibelius’ 7th. Anyway, I don’t worry about such things as I just try to enjoy the music and, as I said, if the composer felt that it’s a symphony, his reasoning should good enough for anyone. Questioning it will only lead you to a dead-end.
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Offline knight66

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2717 on: January 13, 2021, 10:09:52 AM »
There’s no question that Mahler’s 1st had a more complicated history than Sibelius’ 7th. Anyway, I don’t worry about such things as I just try to enjoy the music and, as I said, if the composer felt that it’s a symphony, his reasoning should good enough for anyone. Questioning it will only lead you to a dead-end.

Well, well, that’s me told.

Anyone else care to expand on the technical issues, I am keen to learn.

Mike
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Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2718 on: January 13, 2021, 12:33:12 PM »
That second last sentence is not confined to the formal symphony.

Strauss Death and Transfiguration is structured as follows

There are four parts (with Ritter's poetic thoughts condensed):

Largo (The sick man, near death)
Allegro molto agitato (The battle between life and death offers no respite to the man)
Meno mosso (The dying man's life passes before him)
Moderato (The sought-after transfiguration)

A typical performance lasts about 25 minutes, so longer than the Sibelius and without the programme, that would read like the structure of a symphony. There are themes in it that appear and reappear.

For Scheherazade Rimsky wrote: ‘All I desired was that the hearer, if he liked my piece as symphonic music, should carry away the impression that it is beyond a doubt an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders and not merely four pieces played one after the other and composed on the basis of themes common to all the four movements.’

It has themes worked through it. Again,reading the tempi for the movements without knowing the name of the piece, I would assume it was a symphony, but it has never been referred to as one.

I suppose the world takes the lead of the composer and I am fine with that, I just wondered if there were underlying technical reasons that the world might not decide otherwise.

Sorry, but how does this relate to what I said? The fact that there are themes that appear and disappear is not germane to what I said about themes. How do the themes relate to each other? How are they developed?
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2719 on: January 13, 2021, 12:36:08 PM »
Well, well, that’s me told.

Anyone else care to expand on the technical issues, I am keen to learn.

Mike

My point is whether you believe it to be a symphony or not will not change your mind about the music itself. Anyway, this should be of help:

http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_07.htm
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