Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thoughts on Jean Sibelius' Second Symphony

Tomorrow evening I'll have the privilege of beginning the Anchorage Civic Orchestra's rehearsals for our Spring concert, to be held on Friday, March 29th.  The centerpiece will be Jean Sibelius' Second Symphony.

I performed in it back when I was in High School, as second trombone, with the local Highline Civic Orchestra, under the baton of Howard Jakey.  Since then, I've heard several live performances, some in Alaska.  The work harkens the soul of the North Country as few other masterpieces do.

After Finlandia and his Violin Concerto, the 2nd Symphony is Sibelius' most popular work, and one of the most often performed symphonies of the 20th century.

Often, when I start studying and rehearsing a composition, I fall in love with it, even when it hadn't struck me before that process began.  I was already fully in love with this one, though.

Memorizing passages and marking hundreds of cues in the score, though, I'm already in tears, listening to many varying interpretations, in recordings dating back as far as the late 1920s, and as recent as last month. As a faculty member at UAA, I'm allowed access to the Naxos Music Library, which has tens of thousands of recordings online.  So, since September, I've probably heard 20 or more renderings of this profound masterpiece.  The ACO's take will be unique and viable.

Here's Leonard Bernstein, directing the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, in one of his last of many performances of this iconic utterance from the North.

 Part One: Part Two:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Sarah Chang one's got a lot better scenery!