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View Poll Results: Do you like Sibelius's music?

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  • Yes.

    51 80.95%
  • No.

    7 11.11%
  • I am indifferent.

    5 7.94%
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Thread: Do you like Sibelius's music?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Default Do you like Sibelius's music?

    Well, do you?

    It's no secret that I am a big fan of Jean Sibelius. I believe him to be one of the all-time great composers, and very likely the greatest symphonist of the entire 20th centrury. Bold statements, yes, but I believe them to be true. True for me, anyway.

    I find there are not too many fellow Sibeliophiles on this forum, or at least that is my impression. I'm a little disconcerted by this; I know when I joined, I was hoping there would be more fans of this composer.

    So, in a bid to really get an idea of where we as a forum stand on this, I propose the question:

    Do you like Sibelius's music?
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  2. #2
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Yes. When I was sixteen I heard the clarinet solo introduction to the 1st symphony, followed by those icy rhythmic strings - and I was immediately lost in a world of northern skies and snowy slopes. For years I would have listed Sibelius as among my favourite 2 or 3 composers, but gradually I became less interested in the Romantics over the years, and Sibelius faded away a bit.

    But I've blown the dust off him recently, and I think he might be due for a resurgence. Largely thanks to you. There will be more to come.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    But I've blown the dust off him recently, and I think he might be due for a resurgence. Largely thanks to you. There will be more to come.
    And I look forward to your commentary as the dust continues to be blown away!
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  4. #4
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    No. I even tried several times to like him, the last one thanks to you, but his music doesn't fit well with my neurones. I almost like the sixth symphony and the violin concerto, but even these don't rank high in my preference list.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bassClef's Avatar
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    Big YES here, especially his tone poems. He's one composer I can listen to non-stop for 4 or 5 hours without needing a change - I'm not sure I can even say that about Stravinsky.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Indifferent. I like some of his symphonies (and No.6 is fantastic), but his tone poems are too programmatic for my tastes. And I like the violin concerto, but his vocal works aren't that great.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Indifferent. I like some of his symphonies (and No.6 is fantastic), but his tone poems are too programmatic for my tastes. And I like the violin concerto, but his vocal works aren't that great.
    Too prgrammatic? I've never heard that as a criticism before. Can you kindly elaborate?

    And which vocal works do you not like? I'm supposing you have heard Luonnotar, which is perhaps his best-known vocal work.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  8. #8
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    I voted 'yes' mainly because I like some of his works. I consider the Lemminkainen Suite to be his best work that I have heard so far, simply a masterpiece.

    Other works I like are:

    Violin Concerto - brilliant & innovative first movement, although the rest is a bit of a let down after that. Somewhat uneven work, but still excellent.

    Valse Triste - Yes, very hackneyed, but in the right hands it can be a gripping piece.

    Oceanides, Tapiola, Pohjola's Daughter - Some of the most memorable tone poems I have heard.

    Karelia Suite - again, quite hackneyed, but good nonetheless.

    Works that I am not that thrilled about:

    Symphonies - they generally don't grab me, except perhaps the 4th. Quite a moving work about his struggle with depression & alcohol, and questioning his mortality at the time of his throat cancer operation. This work seems to offer contrasts, highs & lows, which I find lacking in the other symphonies. I can't stand the 2nd. To me, Tchaikovsky had done that type of thing before, & his Little Russian symphony is far better IMO, if you are interested in this type of work.

    Finlandia - Good as an introduction to Sibelius, but it pales in comparison to some of this more substantial works.

    Pelleas & Melisande - aspires to be another Peer Gynt, but doesn't make it, I think.

    A friend of mine has a cd of his chamber opera The Maiden in the Tower. I'm looking forward to hearing this at some stage, to see how he tackled the genre of opera. So I'm pretty open to his music, although he is not one of my favourites...

  9. #9
    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default Extremely Strong Yes

    Sorry, but Post-Romantic composer I cannot deny. I love his music, now I feel better I got that off my chest. Sorry, his violin concerto in D minor Op. 47 brings tears to my eyes. It is so powerful, so sad, so moving. So many emotions.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

  10. #10
    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default Violin Concerto

    .....The opening statement, played by the solo violin over an eerie string tremolando, is Slavic in coloring. The first of the work's several solo cadenzas precedes the even darker second subject, which is introduced by cellos and bassoons, and flashily elaborated by the violin. The rich Allegro molto section that follows constitutes the meat of the movement and is filled with dazzling violin pyrotechnics and some particularly felicitous writing for the solo winds.

    The second movement, fittingly titled "Romanza," is among the most eloquently poetic, yearning instrumental songs Sibelius ever wrote, while the rondo finale, dramatically introduced by timpani and low strings, is music of tremendous drive and energy, testing the soloist's mettle to the max.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    A friend of mine has a cd of his chamber opera The Maiden in the Tower. I'm looking forward to hearing this at some stage, to see how he tackled the genre of opera. So I'm pretty open to his music, although he is not one of my favourites...
    The Maiden in the Tower is an opera for full orchestra, not a chamber orchestra. But it is only in one act and lasts about a half-hour.

    For anyone who thinks I have nothing bad to say about Sibelius, here it is: This is very dull work that starts off well enough, but melodically there just isn't much there. Sibelius was not especially emotionally invested in the work, and I think it's obvious when you listen.

    I certainly would not play this work to anyone to whom I am trying to convince of Sibelius's powers!
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  12. #12
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Um... heck yes.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    The Maiden in the Tower...This is very dull work that starts off well enough, but melodically there just isn't much there. Sibelius was not especially emotionally invested in the work, and I think it's obvious when you listen.
    Well I know that opera was not really Sibelius' forte, so I don't expect Maiden in the Tower to be a great masterpiece, I'm just interested in how he tackled the genre. I'll listen to it when that friend comes over to do that & tell you if I agree. I understand that Lemminkainen actually started life as an opera, but Sibelius ditched that idea & decided to compose it as we know it now...

    As I said, I'm open to anything, really, even if people's impressions are different. Like, I just saw on another thread people rubbishing Rautavaara, but I won't make a judgement until I've heard that piece...

  14. #14
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    Um... heck yes.
    I know you are...where the heck have you been?
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  15. #15
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Well I know that opera was not really Sibelius' forte, so I don't expect Maiden in the Tower to be a great masterpiece, I'm just interested in how he tackled the genre. I'll listen to it when that friend comes over to do that & tell you if I agree. I understand that Lemminkainen actually started life as an opera, but Sibelius ditched that idea & decided to compose it as we know it now...

    As I said, I'm open to anything, really, even if people's impressions are different. Like, I just saw on another thread people rubbishing Rautavaara, but I won't make a judgement until I've heard that piece...
    Yes, Veneen luominen (The Building of the Boat) was going to be on opera on Finnish myth in the style of Wagner. Sibelius did not complete it and what he composed became the Lemminkäinen Legends. The Swan of Tuonela was originally the overture.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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