Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 310316 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2660 on: December 04, 2019, 07:54:22 AM »
This is a marvellous performance of the Violin Concerto by the tragically short-lived soloist I'm looking forward to hearing this historic version of Symphony No.2 as well. A fine discovery thanks to this forum:


Please let us know what you think, Jeffrey. I’m not a big fan of Barbirolli’s Sibelius, but I imagine he’s quite good with his accompaniment here.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2661 on: December 06, 2019, 03:28:37 AM »
These pieces often slip between the cracks of Sibelius' orchestral music - stuck somewhere between the Symphonies and the Tone Poems.  But I really like the two sets of Scenes Historiques and they get a cracking performance from Alexander Gibson and his Scottish National Orchestra - but I like these forces in the symphonies and tone poems too!


Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2662 on: December 23, 2019, 12:07:11 PM »
I picked this up with BBC Music Magazine a while back but have only just got round to playing it. It is a sensational CD because so much more detail than usual can be heard, at least on my not very sophisticated system. I've known En Saga for about 47 years as Horst Stein's LP featuring it was one of my first classical Records but I have never found the ending as moving as on this release, taken from live performances at the proms and I haven't even got round to Tapiola yet!:
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Offline kyjo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2663 on: December 23, 2019, 09:02:48 PM »
You’re welcome, Kyle. I think you’ll enjoy both of these works. Please post your comments on them here whenever you’ve heard them as I’d like to pick your mind about them.

Hey John, sorry for the belated response. I recently listened to the Swanwhite Suite from this excellent recording:



(The title of the disc is somewhat misleading as Swanwhite is obviously not a work for violin and orchestra.)

What glorious music! The first movement (The Peacock) was pleasant but not particularly promising, and I thought the musical inspiration picked up significantly from there. The fourth movement, Listen, the Robin Sings prefigures the sound-world of the 5th Symphony in its invigorating freshness - it's also noteworthy for its prominent timpani part. Also, the concluding Song of Praise is so gorgeously inspiriting! An all-around wonderful work - a hidden gem in the Sibelius catalogue for sure. I should probably check out the complete incidental music at some point.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 09:05:31 PM by kyjo »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2664 on: December 23, 2019, 09:08:14 PM »
Hey John, sorry for the belated response. I recently listened to the Swanwhite Suite from this excellent recording:



(The title of the disc is somewhat misleading as Swanwhite is obviously not a work for violin and orchestra.)

What glorious music! The first movement (The Peacock) was pleasant but not particularly promising, and I thought the musical inspiration picked up significantly from there. The fourth movement, Listen, the Robin Sings prefigures the sound-world of the 5th Symphony in its invigorating freshness - it's also noteworthy for its prominent timpani part. Also, the concluding Song of Praise is so gorgeously inspiriting! An all-around wonderful work - a hidden gem in the Sibelius catalogue for sure. I should probably check out the complete incidental music at some point.

No problem, Kyle, but I believe Swanwhite was written for a play by Strindberg --- the work has nothing to do with ballet. Anyway, that looks like a nice recording. I might have to check it out at some point.
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Offline kyjo

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2665 on: December 23, 2019, 09:43:59 PM »
No problem, Kyle, but I believe Swanwhite was written for a play by Strindberg --- the work has nothing to do with ballet. Anyway, that looks like a nice recording. I might have to check it out at some point.

To the bolded text, my bad! I've edited my post accordingly. And yeah, that Ondine CD is fantastic - I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2666 on: December 23, 2019, 09:44:44 PM »
To the bolded text, my bad! I've edited my post accordingly. And yeah, that Ondine CD is fantastic - I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

 8)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2667 on: January 06, 2020, 08:21:12 AM »
So now I read "The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden, which contains russian mythology. There is a Rusalka. That beautiful creature by the sea, whom you cannot resist, sometimes is to blame if people drown. Who has to have her hair wet every time, otherwise she'd die.

I wondered if the Wood Nymph is of a similar origin? Finnish mythology maybe is related?

Hey, back from a long rather non-classical listening era. The classical itch is back.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 08:24:47 AM by Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich »

Offline North Star

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2668 on: January 06, 2020, 10:25:39 AM »
So now I read "The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden, which contains russian mythology. There is a Rusalka. That beautiful creature by the sea, whom you cannot resist, sometimes is to blame if people drown. Who has to have her hair wet every time, otherwise she'd die.

I wondered if the Wood Nymph is of a similar origin? Finnish mythology maybe is related?

Hey, back from a long rather non-classical listening era. The classical itch is back.
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_muita_metsanhaltijatar.htm
Quote
Viktor Rydberg's text related the adventures of the hero Björn in the forest, where evil dwarfs are carrying out their malicious schemes and a curvaceous wood nymph lures Björn into making love to her. The spell he is under cannot be broken: Björn can no longer love his wife. Nor does he feel like working. He dies alone and full of yearning.
So the basis seems to be a contemporary (1888) poem based on Scandinavian mythology.
There's also quite a thorough article on the piece in Wikipedia.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2669 on: January 06, 2020, 11:40:49 AM »
There is a version of The Wood Nymph that actually has the text recited. BIS has recorded it.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2670 on: January 06, 2020, 12:24:39 PM »
Please let us know what you think, Jeffrey. I’m not a big fan of Barbirolli’s Sibelius, but I imagine he’s quite good with his accompaniment here.
I've enjoyed this recording of Symphony No.2 John (finally got round to listening to it tonight). Having said that the recording with the NYPO is from June 1940 and I recall that you don't necessarily like historical performances. The VC with Neveu is very special I think and the Symphony No.2 has a great atmosphere despite a rather 'boxed-in' and constricted sound. Certainly I'm pleased to have this disc.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2671 on: January 06, 2020, 01:37:51 PM »
There is a version of The Wood Nymph that actually has the text recited. BIS has recorded it.

The melodrama version was also recorded by Warner, Anu Tali conducting the Nordic Symphony Orchestra. Quite a thrilling performance.



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« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 05:03:29 PM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2672 on: February 11, 2020, 10:19:49 AM »
Mark Elder's new recording of the 4th Symphony is exceptionally, record-breakingly slow.



I have duration notes on 30 different recordings (don't ask) and so just to illustrate how far out on a limb he's gone:

In the 1st movement, he takes 2 minutes longer (that's 20%) than Berglund/Helsinki, but he is not the slowest of all - that is Vanska/Minnesota.
In the short 2nd movement, he takes over a minute longer (25%) than the ever-popular Maazel/VPO, but he is not the slowest of all - that is Karajan's 2nd recording (EMI/Warner).
In the crucial 3rd movement, he takes over 3 minutes longer (30%) than the ever-popular Ashkenazy/Philh, but he is not nearly the slowest of all - that is Vanska/Lahti.
In the 4th movement, he takes 2 minutes longer (that's 20%) than the ever-popular Karajan (DG), but he is not quite the slowest of all - that is Bernstein or possibly Ansermet (my notes aren't clear, I think Ansermet duration may include applause).
Overall - this recording is a clear minute longer than the previous record-holder for slowest 4th - that was Vanska/Lahti.

Much of the slow pace is explained by Elder savouring and extending the many marked rests in the score - the result is a hesitant journey, almost like somebody groping their way through a thick fog.  It's very low-energy stuff, almost ambient, only briefly gaining some forward propulsion at the climax of the 3rd movement and again about halfway through the finale, before Elder applies the brakes rather too abruptly (as though he realises he was forgetting himself) and allows the music to disintegrate like a slow-motion train crash. 
Super detailed recording and great work by the various featured soloists.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 10:23:00 AM by aukhawk »

Offline krummholz

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2673 on: February 11, 2020, 02:44:48 PM »
  It's very low-energy stuff, almost ambient, only briefly gaining some forward propulsion at the climax of the 3rd movement and again about halfway through the finale, before Elder applies the brakes rather too abruptly (as though he realises he was forgetting himself) and allows the music to disintegrate like a slow-motion train crash. 
Super detailed recording and great work by the various featured soloists.

How does that compare to Bernstein's reading of the finale? It sounds rather similar as regards tempo - taking the coda at a glacial pace. Though Bernstein starts to slow down as he approaches the climax of the movement.

I used to love Bernstein's way with this movement... then I heard Sir Colin Davis's reading. At first I thought Davis was taking the coda too fast, but then I learned that Sibelius did not write any slowing of tempo into the last pages, and Bernstein was taking extreme liberties.

Today I prefer Davis's reading of the 4th to others that I had heard, including Bernstein and Karajan. And the 4th is by far my favorite of Sibelius's symphonies.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2674 on: February 12, 2020, 02:51:51 AM »
Just had a listen to the finale in Bernstein's hands - very satisfying, as a standalone piece of music.

Bernstein is far more energetic, more dynamic - in his hands the 'train' metaphor really works for much of this music - Pacific 231 style.  I never noticed that before. Elder by comparison seems to have his 'non troppo' hand permanently extended, here this music sounds more like a pan of simmering porridge.  The more compressed nature of the Columbia recording feeds into Bernstein's approach of course - his orchestra sounds twice the size of Elder's Halle.

Actual durations Bernstein 11:29 Elder 11:22 (there is a lot of white space at the end of the Elder recording, the track timing is 11:42 but fully 20 seconds of that is silence).
Reaching the 'middle' marked by repeated bells then a pizzicato section their timings are similar - Bernstein 4:18, Elder 4:25.  Bernstein starts his huge graduated rallentando at about 5:40 and pretty much continues it to the end, so starting out quicker but finishing much the slower of the two.