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Thread: Sibelius and Tchaikovsky

  1. #16
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Can't remember the last time I ever heard anything of Leibowitz's in concert. Oh, that'd be never.
    He has been dead for nearly fifty years so if you do get to hear him in concert you are probably in heaven - unless his failure to appreciate Sibelius landed him in hell. He is largely remembered for a really very good Beethoven cycle which is often available very cheap.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Jun-01-2020 at 16:49.

  2. #17
    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    A Sibelius / Tchaikovsky comparison confuses me, but that's likely because we all take something different away from their compositions. There are lots of differing stimuli in music that might catch our attention more than others.
    Last edited by Ethereality; Jun-01-2020 at 18:44.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    Is it me or are they like the same person?

    Anyone else feel that way?
    No. No. No. Like no.

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  5. #19
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    There is a big influence on Sibelius not only Tchaikovsky, but all Russian music.
    I have wrote about that an article.
    That is because he was a citizen of Russian Empire, don't forget about that.
    He have it's own style, but russian melancholy feels very strong.

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  7. #20
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Honestly about as far apart as you can get IMO.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

  8. #21
    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dima View Post
    There is a big influence on Sibelius not only Tchaikovsky, but all Russian music.
    I happy with segregating the Russians from other Europeans. The focal point of sound is totally its own. Prepare yourself for the best analogy ever written. If those from the East (Russians) are like Chinese food, then Sibelius would be like Americanized Chinese food. More popular with the West, but ignorantly so. In the same way, Russian music... well, it's clearly the best, to only those who perceive it that way.

    Yeah, I've heard a lot of influence in Sibelius from other Russians other than Tchaikovsky. The Tchaikovsky thing confuses me.
    Last edited by Ethereality; Jun-01-2020 at 23:57.

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereality View Post
    I happy with segregating the Russians from other Europeans. The focal point of sound is totally its own. Prepare yourself for the best analogy ever written. If those from the East (Russians) are like Chinese food, then Sibelius would be like Americanized Chinese food. More popular with the West, but ignorantly so. In the same way, Russian music... well, it's clearly the best, to only those who perceive it that way.

    Yeah, I've heard a lot of influence in Sibelius from other Russians other than Tchaikovsky. The Tchaikovsky thing confuses me.
    You are right. On this forum people often try to rate music. I must say that if we use criterias of russian music and then listen to music in west tradition - we would not find too much good examples
    But I must say that russian people traditionally think that all foreign is good, and russian is bad. You know it is difficult in Russia to find people who love russian music it is easier to find them abroad.
    Last edited by Dima; Jun-02-2020 at 00:13.

  10. #23
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereality View Post
    I happy with segregating the Russians from other Europeans. The focal point of sound is totally its own. Prepare yourself for the best analogy ever written. If those from the East (Russians) are like Chinese food, then Sibelius would be like Americanized Chinese food. More popular with the West, but ignorantly so. In the same way, Russian music... well, it's clearly the best, to only those who perceive it that way.

    Yeah, I've heard a lot of influence in Sibelius from other Russians other than Tchaikovsky. The Tchaikovsky thing confuses me.
    I disagree with the Chinese v. Chinese-American food analogy. If Russian music is Chinese food, then Sibelius is Andorran food. Sibelius' music, his sound, is sui generis, except for maybe the violin concerto. Granted that some British composers were influenced by Sibelius (Walton). But I have always been impressed by the uniqueness, the singularity of Sibelius' music--some have described it (a little melodramatically perhaps) as cold fire, though we know he said it was more like cold, clear water.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Jun-02-2020 at 03:32.

  11. #24
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    It was Rene Leibowitz who called Sibelius the "world's worst composer". Can't remember the last time I ever heard anything of Leibowitz's in concert. Oh, that'd be never.
    Not only did Leibowitz call Sibelius the worst composer, he wrote a whole essay on the topic XD:

    "The music lover or musician educated in France does not know very much about Sibelius. Even the frequenting of certain foreign musical centers (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Italy) will not shed significant light on this musician. Perhaps one knows his name, that he is Finnish and even that he is author of the “Valse triste,” and he may thus be understood as an inoffensive composer of salon music. But if one looks upon the musical scenes in England or America, one realizes that the name of Sibelius, rarely spoken in our country, appears in those countries scarcely less often than the famous brands of cars, cigarettes, or toothpaste. The critics praise him in dithyrambs. Toscanini claims that he is “the greatest symphonist after Beethoven” and there is even a “Sibelius Society” which has adopted the goal of recording and promoting his works.
    Astonishment and curiosity seize you, and one must ask if this is, passing by unnoticed, one of the most central events of the music of our time. To consult a score, I chose for myself the most important works of Sibelius (for example the Fifth Symphony). The astonishment grew, the curiosity shrank: the score offers a portrait that grew into poverty and misery beyond belief. But the admirers of Sibelius reassure us: “Listen, and you will see…” Alas, hearing does not deny what sight had perceived.
    What is presented is as follows: some vague sonic shapes without consistency, banalities and vulgarities assuming the role of “themes.” Their appeal is awkward and ill-formed, their harmonies incorrect, poor and schematic. Suddenly the flow is interrupted, without the author giving thought to the various consequences of it—still—[they are capable[?]]. Then the themes reappear, without rhyme or reason, without connection to what precedes and what follows; ground down to bits, twisted apart, even clumsier and more painful than they had been on first appearance.
    The rhythmic monotony, the absence of any real counterpoint, the uniformity of tempo, in short the ennui which arises from all this quickly makes you sleepy when, rudely, you are awakened because the piece is finished—without our being able to say, however, how or why anything in it has happened. This description was only of the first movement, but the others are such that the reader need only read the above to have an idea of them.

    It is then that the anxiety grabs you and one expresses his doubts over the “admirers.” Naturally, it is you who does not understand. The harmony which you feel is wrong…but that is exactly the thing which makes Sibelius so original! The absence of development…but that is precisely his power, this is what places him “above schools”! The rhythmic and melodic laziness…but these are the qualities of Sibelius who, like Beethoven, managed to make the most of the most simple elements, etc….
    All of this, however, does not seem to be playing fair. It is difficult to believe in the symphonic work of those who appear incapable of creating a [style/era/sphere of influence]; we are not very convinced by the “hovering” above the schools, when someone at the school had to be a dunce, and one suspects this is the case due to the originality of the ignorance, incompetence, and impotence.
    But then, why such tremendous success?
    Perhaps Sibelius himself is most surprised. It is always possible that one might explain it with the conservatism of the musical public, who see in Sibelius the possibility of making new music in old styles. What solace, what restoration of a peaceful conscience if one could prove the validity of such a venture. “You see, I told you so, all those dissonances…One may still make good music without them.”
    But the sole merit of Sibelius is that we can clear him of all these [nuances?] with regard to such a philosophy, because he showed us in such a magisterial way that the old styles, once so authentic, have now become false.
    And he also showed us that, by using the old styles, there is nothing easier than to become the worst composer in the world."

  12. #25
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    ... It was Rene Leibowitz who called Sibelius the "world's worst composer". Can't remember the last time I ever heard anything of Leibowitz's in concert. Oh, that'd be never.
    He knew the orchestra though. His transcription of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue is the best I've heard. It's Ravel-level.

  13. #26
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Isn't Sibelius meant to be the worst composer in the world or something like that?
    According to who?
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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  15. #27
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
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    By the way,
    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    Is it me or are they like the same person?

    Anyone else feel that way?
    Absolutely not.

    (Sibelius any day for me.)

  16. #28
    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    Is it me or are they like the same person?

    Anyone else feel that way?

    Sibelius and Tchaikovsky?

    They used to be the same person …

    Attachment 137138 Attachment 137139

    when they both had hair.

    But then Sibelius went bald.

    Attachment 137140

    And did something of a Samson act. He stopped composing, as if his powers of musical invention lay in his hair.

    But, he did go on to become actor, Tor Johnson.

    5-p-torjohnson_plan9.jpg

    Or is this Tor Johnson?

    4-P-Sibelius-Yousuf-Karsh-1949.jpg

    Oh … I get so confused by it all -- Tchaikovsky and Sibelius and Tor Johnson and all those other artistic types ….

    Have any of you ever heard Tor Johnson's Violin Concerto? It sounds a little like Tchaikovsky's … or maybe it's Sibelius's … Oh my, it's happening again …. The confusion, the confusion ….

  17. #29
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    For me Sibelius follows the general pattern of composers whose earlier works aren't quite so unique as their later efforts (there may be exceptions). I hear much Tchaikovsky in Sibelius's early material and it's not a surprise given their countries proximity and Finland's subservience to Russia (ruled as an autonomous duchy of the Tsarist empire from 1808 but losing many of it's freedoms in 1899).

    Sibelius sounds very much like Tchaikovsky here:

    Finlandia
    5th Symphony, 1st movement

  18. #30
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    I find that Richard Strauss also sounds somewhat similar to Tchaikovsky in character:

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