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Jean Sibelius

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(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  

Hello everyone πŸ‘‹

Hope you're all well and happy!

Have you ever found yourselves in the position of craving, mysteriously, the pleasure of listening to one single composer over and over and over again?! πŸ€”

Lately, I've been lost in the wonderful, magical world of Jean Sibelius! (I can't exactly say why, I don't understand it myself, but I had hardly listened to anything else those past couple of weeks! πŸ˜•)

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Ever since I can remember, I was always fascinated by Sibelius, the melodious strings reminiscent of Finland's sprawling greenery, the mesmerizing woodwinds invoking those mysterious misty fjords, and the crushing percussion of the northern myths ... his music paints a very vivid picture of a culture both very different from my own, and yet so appealing to my imagination!

Let me tell you a little story about how I came to discover Sibelius in the first place: I read about him, or rather, about Finland! Growing up, there was this glossy coffee table book about Finland at home that nobody seemed to remember how it came to be there in the first place, which was great because I claimed it for myself (finders keepers and all that πŸ˜‚): it sort of became my own little gateway to adventure (mind you, that was way back before the readily accessible internet resources, so....). That book was full to the brim with beautiful photographs of the most amazingΒ  scenery I had ever seen, fantastical stories about heroes of a mythical past, and an introduction to the traditions and local customs of the Finns. And in it was a whole chapter dedicated to Finland's very own modern hero: the composer Johan Julius Christian Sibelius. And thus began my lifelong love of the greatest Finn of them all!

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Now, for my current deep dive into the world of Sibelius I started with the symphonies, all 7 of them. My absolute favourite has always been, and will always be, the 3rd (I think it's the first of his orchestral works I had ever listened to, besides the LemminkΓ€inen!). That being said, after re-listening to the complete symphony cycle multiple times over such a short period of time (I don't think I can ever tire of Sibelius! πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ), I think I can safely say that I discovered some pleasant new favourites along the way: the sometimes-tempestuous, sometimes-tender 3rd movement of the 1st symphony and the majestic final movement of the 2nd symphony come to mind!

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The recordings I come to over and over again are Pietari Inkinen's with the New Zealand Symphony (I think ever since their release some ten years ago or so I've forsaken all other Sibelius symphony recordings! And I have to say, they prove to be a veritable delight every single time! How proud I'm of the decision to invest in these purchases πŸ˜‚).

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Next stop: the plethora of lesser known (to me) Sibelius compositions I found on Idagio!! I had never known he composed a Pelléas et Mélisande !! 😳

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(@nenad)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 25
 

Hey, @dinah

Another Sibelius-enthusiast here πŸ™‚

I am less fond of his symphonies, but the tone poems are (almost) all masterpieces. And so is the Violin Concerto, which is top-ranked on my personal list of best violin concertos of all time. Ok, maybe it is not alone at the top, but it is in a good company with Brahms' and Glazunov's violin concertos. Curiously, Sibelius himself played the violin, but wasn't skilful enough to perform the solo part of his own concerto.Β 

However, there is a little hidden milestone in the Sibelius's chamber music opus titled Moderato - Allegro Appassionato in C Sharp Minor, JS 131. This tiny, yet high-voltage work is seldom performed for some incomprehensible reason. In my opinion it deserves its place on discs like "The Best of Chamber Music Vol.1" or "Romantic Music For Strings - Collector's Edition". πŸ™‚ Joke aside, it is intensely passionate and also has an ear-catching tune. Why it is not popular, I don't know. I'm curious what other Sibelius aficionados think about this work.


   
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(@dinah)
Forum Champ
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 287
Topic starter  
Hi, @nenad
πŸ‘‹
Posted by: @nenad

the tone poems are (almost) all masterpieces. And so is the Violin Concerto

Oh, yes, the tone poems are indeed all masterpieces, very wonderful, very Sibelius!

And the violin concerto is in a league of its own! One feels there are violon concerti, and then there's the Sibelius violin concerto!

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Posted by: @nenad

Moderato - Allegro Appassionato in C Sharp Minor, JS 131

Never listened to this one before, I'll definitely add it to my list of other-unknown-to-me-Sibelius works to listen to very soon! (doesn't hurt that it's "very passionate" as well! πŸ˜‰) Thanks for the suggestion! I'll let you know what I think/ feel about it (hopefully soon)!


   
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(@nenad)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 25
 
Posted by: @dinah

I'll let you know what I think/ feel about it (hopefully soon)!

I promise you'll like it! Wink Β 


   
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(@capriccio)
Stalwart Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 255
 

I am inspired by you both to dive deeper into Sibelius, starting with @nenad's suggestion of the Moderato - Allegro Appassionato in C Sharp Minor.

I'm always appreciative of the gems people uncover for me here on these forums.


   
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(@jchokey)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 87
 
Posted by: @dinah
Hi, @nenad
πŸ‘‹
Posted by: @nenad

the tone poems are (almost) all masterpieces. And so is the Violin Concerto

Oh, yes, the tone poems are indeed all masterpieces, very wonderful, very Sibelius!

And the violin concerto is in a league of its own! One feels there are violon concerti, and then there's the Sibelius violin concerto!

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I should check out the tone poems, as I'm not familiar with them.Β  But yeah, the violin concerto is awesome.Β  Definitely in my top ten, if not my top five favorite violin concertos.


   
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