Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sibelius, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Paavo Berglund ‎– Symphony No. 4 & 7

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week’s Tuesday Blog is another installment of Vibnyl’s Revenge, this time dedicated to a pair of short symphonies by Jean Sibelius.

In a fine survey article, Tom Huizenga relates (and provides excerpts from) a 2002 interview by author Michael Steinberg providing his insights on Sibelius and his seven symphonies (an Eighth was composed but mysteriously disappeared).

Here are some of Steinberg;s commentary on the two symphonies featiured in today’s share, the fourthand the seventh:

When Sibelius was in his mid-40s, he thought he was going to die. His doctors had found a growth in his throat and after several operations his prognosis was still not good. He was a hard-living, hard-drinking cigar smoker. For a time, he gave it all up and wrote his dark, inward-looking, modern-sounding Symphony No. 4, a work that baffled not only many listeners but conductors as well.


One of the ideals of the Romantic era in classical music was to achieve unity, and it's been said that the Symphony No. 7 by Sibelius, first heard in 1924, consummates the 19th-century search for symphonic unity. It's in just one movement, shifting from tempo to tempo, idea to idea. Musicologist Donald Tovey wrote, "Sibelius has achieved the power of moving like aircraft." Steinberg says the conclusion of the Seventh Symphony, despite the fact Sibelius had composed an Eighth, seems to say, "The End."
During the mid-1950s, Jean Sibelius heard today’s conductor Paavo Berglund conduct some of the symphonies and the Suite Rakastava, and told Berglund how much he had enjoyed the performances.

Berglund's source-critical research on the Sibelius Seventh Symphony began in 1957, when he conducted the Seventh with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and noticed that they were playing from parts that Sibelius had corrected. He saw that the printed parts had numerous errors. His subsequent research led to the publication of a new edition of the symphony by Hansen in 1980. Paavo Berglund conducted his last concert in Paris with the French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the program included Sibelius' Symphony No. 4.

Berglund recorded the complete Sibelius symphonies three times, and today’s vinyl selection is part of his set with the Helsinki Philharmonic for EMI.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63
Symphony No. 7 In C Major , Op. 105
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Paavo Berglund, conducting

Angel Records ‎– DS-38135
Format: Vinyl, LP (DDA)

Details - https://www.discogs.com/Sibelius-Hel...elease/2096497 

YouTube playlist - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ERAGmoNwKkZnCs