When Sibelius’s Third Symphony Was New Music

Jean Sibelius, standing at the fireplace at Ainola (1907)

Jean Sibelius, standing at the fireplace at Ainola (1907)

After hearing my third symphony Rimsky-Korsakov shook his head and said: “Why don’t you do it the usual way; you will see that the audience can neither follow nor understand this.” And now I am certain that my symphonies are played more than his.
Sibelius to Jussi Jalas, 18th June 1940

As Gustav Mahler had in his Fourth Symphony, Jean Sibelius in his Third Symphony turned away from heady Romantic expressiveness toward the structural elegance of Mozart’s and Hadyn’s Classical mode. Complexities and conundrums abound when thinking about Sibelius’s trajectory toward this “Classical” symphonic moment. After all, his first large orchestral work, Kullervo, was inspired by and steeped in the Finnish Kalevala folklore and myths. Glenda Dawn Goss described this “first musical venture into Kalevala territory” as having

. . . burst forth after a strict diet of contrapuntal exercises, chamber works, and Lutheran discipline force-fed by Martin Wegelius and Albert Becker. Although their fundamentalist regimen probably served to hone an unruly youth’s technical skills, political, intellectual, and emotional currents fanned the creative fires in a young composer whom companions regularly described as impassioned, volcanic, fiery. No portly hairless establishment icon this, but a fiercely electric, magnificently maned Don Quixote . . . [Glenda Dawn Goss, Sibelius: A Composer’s Life and the Awakening of Finland Loc 1627]

Mahler visited Helsinki, in October of 1907—a month too late to hear Sibelius conduct the premiere of his Third Symphony—and conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic in a hefty program of Beethoven and Wagner. [Erik Tawaststjerna (ET), Sibelius, Volume II: 1904-1914 Loc 1281]. At the time of Mahler’s arrival, Sibelius was already a national hero. Helsinki shops “were full of Sibelius’s picture. A ‘Sibelius cigar’” came in boxes “adorned with ‘a good likeness of our celebrated composer.’” [ET Loc 1128] Mahler’s introduction to Sibelius’s work was nothing short of disastrous: he attended a “popular concert” of the Helsinki Philharmonic that included Sibelius’s Spring Song, with an encore of Valse triste. Mahler wrote to his wife Alma:

I heard some pieces by Sibelius, the Finnish national composer who they make a great fuss about, not only here but elsewhere in the musical world. One of the pieces was just ordinary ‘Kitsch’, spiced with certain ‘Nordic’ orchestral touches like a kind of national sauce. They are the same everywhere, these national geniuses. [ET Loc 1291; also see Jens Malte Fischer, Gustav Mahler 558]

Mahler seems to have genuinely warmed to Sibelius when he met him [ET Loc 1291-1301], but the relationship went no further. This meeting produced the often-quoted exchange in which Sibelius said of the symphonic form:

I admired its style and severity of form, and the profound logic that created an inner connection between all the motives. . . . Mahler’s opinion was just the opposite. “No!” he said, “The symphony must be like the world. It must be all-embracing.” [ET Loc 1301]

At the time of this exchange, Mahler had recently completed his massive Eighth Symphony (The Symphony of a Thousand), and Sibelius his Third. The exchange thus “could hardly have come at more extreme points in their careers.” [ET Loc 1329]

Sibelius later recounted that, on meeting Mahler, “I did not want him to think that I had come to see him merely to interest him in my compositions.” So, when Mahler asked Sibelius, “What would you like me to conduct of yours?” Sibelius replied “Nothing,” and that was that. [ET Loc 1301] Mahler never conducted any Sibelius works [ET Loc 1349], and doesn’t seem to have come to know any Sibelius symphonies completed during Mahler’s lifetime, which included the Third. One can only wonder what he might have thought.

Sibelius conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic in the premiere of the Third Symphony a month later, together with his recent works Pohjola’s Daughter (a symphonic poem based on a Kalevala story) and the incidental music for Belshazzar’s Feast. Critics and listeners generally favored the program-based works, though one critic, Karl Flodin, singled out the change in Sibelius’s symphonic approach for particular praise: “Sibelius is a classical master . . . . The new work meets all the requirements of a modern symphony, but at the same time it is, at a deeper level, revolutionary.” [ET Loc 1138]

In a sense, Flodin went right to the heart of the matter: the Third Symphony launched a kind of radical new classicism. However, . . . . [o]f all Sibelius’s symphonies, the Third was to be the least successful with audiences abroad . . . .[ET Loc 1138] [The] Symphony was totally out of step with the times. Its Viennese classical orchestration could hardly be at greater variance with the ethos of Mahler and Strauss. [ET Loc 1157]

A month after Mahler triumphed in St. Petersburg (though perhaps more as conductor than as composer of his Fifth Symphony [for contrasting accounts, see Goss Loc 4277 and Fischer 558]), Sibelius conducted the Third Symphony in that city for the first time. [ET Loc 1354] The premiere was not a success. Aino Sibelius was present and sat in a box with conductor Alexander Siloti’s wife.

Hardly had the applause died down than the door of their box opened to admit a well-known doctor, Botkin, who swore profusely about the new work. Mrs. Siloti, who knew that Aino spoke Russian, did her best to stem the flow of oaths but in vain! [ET Loc 1364]

The press was equally hostile:

When he does something new, he gives us bizarre combinations . . . . We have obviously said goodbye to the earlier Sibelius, who has interpreted his country’s legends so fascinatingly. [Birzhevya Viedomosti, ET Loc 1375]

The new symphony has none of the character of this previously much respected and admired composer . . . Is it really possible that he has already written himself out? [St. Petersburg Herald, ET Loc 1385]

The symphony’s reception in New York City on its U. S. premiere was no better, at least judging by a review in the New York Times:

It is hard to believe that this symphony is by the composer of the first symphony and several of the overtures and other pieces that have been heard here bearing the name of Sibelius. It is in three inconsequential movements, in none of which the composer has done more than dally with certain short phrases chiefly in the way of incessant and wearisome repetition. Nor has he lent these movements the charm of rich and interesting orchestration. . . . It is difficult to see . . . how such a meager treatment of such material can produce music claiming any real kinship with the strong and vigorous work that has made the name of Sibelius one to be reckoned with.

One young composer among the listeners at the St. Petersburg premiere, however, seemed to take the lessons of Sibelius’s new symphony to heart. This story may be apocryphal (though others may be able to locate it, I’m at a loss to find a cello solo in the Sibelius’s Third—in the Fourth, yes, but not in the Third), yet it’s too good to pass by:

The following day he submitted an orchestration exercise to his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, in which he had allotted one part to a single cello. . . .

“Why do you use a solo cello here?” he asked.

“Because at this point I do not want the effect of all the cellos playing,” Prokofiev replied.

“Oh, really! Have you ever heard solo cellos?”

“Yesterday, in the Sibelius symphony.” . . .

“God in heaven! Sibelius! Why listen to Sibelius? Isn’t the second subject of the Ruslan overture good enough for you?” [ET Loc 1375]

A story I am prepared to credit, though, is this:

Another negative influence [on Prokofiev’s Sinfonietta] as far as Myaskovsky was concerned, was Sibelius. He can be thinking only of the intriguingly taut, predominantly cheerful and concise Third Symphony, which Prokofiev had heard Sibelius conduct in a rehearsal for one of the Ziloti concerts in November 1907 and in which traces of early neo-classicism can also be detected. [David Nice, Prokofiev, From Russia to the West 1891-1935 64]

That, in any event, was then. And now? Well, I for one, endorse both the description David Nice has offered in the quoted passage, as well as that by Brian Long, who has generously permitted me to share the commentary and guideposts for listening he originally posted at GCAS, which are incorporated into the listening list below.

Additional resources

More information on the Third Symphony may be found here and here.

Prufrock’s Posts relating to Sibelius may be found here and here.

An interview with Simon Rattle on Sibelius, including a short discussion of the Third Symphony (at about 24:20) may be found here, with thanks to Curt Barnes for noting it (the interview is in English).

Mahler in Helsinki, painted at Hvitträsk by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1907)

Mahler in Helsinki, painted at Hvitträsk by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1907)

Listening List: Sibelius Symphony No. 3 in C Major, Op. 52 (1904-07)

This isn’t so hard, I promise. In return for a small period of attention (the symphony is 30 minutes long), the rewards are great—and fun. With particular thanks to Brian Long, our helmsman at the Great Composers Appreciation Society (GCAS), for his guideposts and commentary for listening to Sibelius’s Symphony No. 3. (Links to the relevant GCAS posts are indicated for each movement.)


  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto
  3. Moderato – Allegro ma non tanto

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in B♭ and A), 2 bassoons, 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in B♭), 3 trombones, timpani, strings
(Source for above information)

On Spotify: two recordings of the Third Symphony

Neeme Järvi/Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Berglund/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

On YouTube (Esa-Pekka Salonen/Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra)

Brian Long’s time stamps below relate to the YouTube video of the Salonen/Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra performance.

First Movement (GCAS link; 0:30 on the YouTube video)

The movement is in sonata form, which, in Prufrockian broad strokes, includes the exposition (subjects/themes are introduced), development (lots of playing around with the exposition’s subjects), and recapitulation (subjects are restated). Click here for a definition.

There is no introduction.
0:34 First subject (at the beginning of the symphony)
1:54 Second subject
3:22 Development (Brian Long’s caveat: you might argue it starts later)
6:19 Recapitulation of first subject (and what a great start to a recapitulation it is)
7:35 Recapitulation of second subject (much bigger this time round)
9:23 Coda (closing section) very much like a chorale
11:00 A spectacularly simple and primal end

Second Movement (GCAS link; 11:33 on the YouTube video)

The middle movement of Sibelius’ Third Symphony has the beautiful simplicity of a folk song. The movement has three large sections, the third of which recaps the first so that the structure is an A B A form.

11:33 Section A
12.26 (hemiola first sounds; see below for explanation)
17:14 Section B
18:46 Recap of Section A

The time of the movement is 6/4, i.e. there are six quarter notes per bar. This presents interesting possibilities. Six notes can be divided into two groups of three or three groups of two. When the two groupings alternate between bars you have what is called a hemiola. This can make a very pleasant rhythm that composers have used for centuries. The song America in West Side Story is a great example. The folk-like melody Sibelius uses in this movement has a hemiola at the end of each phrase. The first seven bars of each phrase divide the six beats of the bar into two groups of three; only the eighth bar uses three groups of two. That is what gives it a pleasant little kick along each time. The hemiola first sounds at 12.26, then at 12.48 and so on.

Third Movement (GCAS link; 20.54 on the YouTube video)

The structure of the final movement of Sibelius’ Third Symphony is particularly daring. It combines a scherzo-like first half with a broad, chorale-like second half. Sibelius once described the movement as “the crystallization of ideas from chaos.” [ET Loc 1138]

20.54 Start of movement, snippets of melodic material fly past
24.00 Reaches a very loud climax, then scherzo section almost disintegrates
25.12 New music slowly emerges from the violas, which turns out to be a warm chorale
25.31 Chorale breaks into C major. From there the movement is really a big parade or march with pulsing string writing that might almost anticipate Steve Reich or John Adams. (Prufrock’s note: Listen from at about 28:00 for that pulsing string writing.)

I think this is fantastic music. It is strong, athletic and lithe without becoming arrogant or overbearing. It has a real generosity of spirit and a wonderful expansiveness that I, for one, associate with mature Sibelius. It really is the first time Sibelius finds his own voice, the one that reappears in the finale of the Fifth Symphony and in the Seventh Symphony. If you know other Sibelius symphonies, the only thing that casts any shadow over this finale is knowing that the next symphony, the Fourth, is such a more desolate and dark work. Such is the unpredictability of genius!

Bonus Track. America from West Side Story


Credits: The quotations may be found at the sources linked in the post, together with the page number, where available, or, for a Kindle version, the location number. I could find no credit for the New York Times review quoted; the performance was by the Russian Symphony Orchestra, Vasily Safonov conducting, January 16, 1908; the review appeared the following day, on p. 9. The image of Sibelius at the head of the post may be found here. The image of Mahler (by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, a friend of Sibelius’s) in the post may be found here. Of the latter, Fischer wrote:

Gallen’s portrait shows Mahler face-on, his head resting in his right hand, the glow of the fire reflected in his face and in the lenses of his glasses. It is the most impressive likeness of him after Rodin’s.” [Fischer 558]

20 thoughts on “When Sibelius’s Third Symphony Was New Music

    1. Elisa

      ah, he laid the story and trail of his background throughout this piece, it is impressive the note, number and tone matches that bring about visions of what he wanted the right people to see

      I like it anyway! Thank you for sharing it!

      1. Susan Scheid Post author

        Elisa: How delightful to “see” you here again! I enjoyed thoroughly both your “in the moment” response and your commentary on what you heard. So pleased to share this music with you!

  1. Mark Kerstetter

    Hard to believe this received such a poor reception when it came out (shows how little I know). It’s beautiful, energetic, fresh. Sibelius packs so much into 30 minutes!

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark: I was surprised, too. I do love going back and reading reviews and commentaries of any piece at the time of its premiere or an early performance, and then trying to “time travel” back to that moment to try and hear with those ears. It’s impossible, really, but fun to imagine. In this case, I do think we have some good clues as to the reason for the response–which makes it all the more amazing that someone like Flodin was able actually to hear the piece, rather than his expectation of what it might or should be. Your three words, “beautiful, energetic, fresh,” describe the symphony perfectly, to my mind. And yes, isn’t it amazing what Sibelius packs into just 30 minutes?

      In re the Sibelius symphonies, for the first time ever, I bought a week-long ticket to the Berlin Phil’s Digital Concert Hall, as the Berlin Phil, under Rattle, was performing a complete cycle of the symphonies. If there’s ever anything they’re doing live–or that’s in the archives–that you’re interested in, I highly recommend it. They have an app for iPhone and iPad (along with several other options for viewing, of course) that allows you to view it on TV, which, even through less than perfect internal TV speakers, I really enjoyed. For under $12 I heard three terrific concerts and had complete access to the Berlin Phil archives for the period.

  2. David N

    I feel the big Sibelian adventure really starts in the central movement of Kullerevo, En Saga and the first two movements of the Second Symphony (it’s the compact line of mvt 1 there which the Third takes up). Tricky talking about sonata form with Sibelius – as always, it’s the journeys he takes with it, the inner essence, which matter. Mark is right, though, about how much Sibelius packs into a short outer span. Looking forward to hearing Rattle and the Berlin Phil launch tonight’s concert with it..

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: Oh, fantastic that you’re going to attend the “London edition” of the Rattle/Berlin Phil cycle for the 3rd and the 4th. I’ll look forward to your report on TAD or elsewhere! I’m curious to know whether there are any new developments on the research on this symphony (I remember your “Virgin Symphony” post from some time back, reporting on a new discovery passed on by Oramo). As always, I appreciate having your “Sibelius adventure” insights and will of course be making up a listening list for myself to see what I can glean.

      On sonata form and Sibelius, yes, and isn’t wonderful the way he is able to take this long-established form and bend it to his own creative purposes? It reminds me of something Stravinsky once said: “In borrowing a form already established and consecrated, the creative artist is not in the least restricting the manifestations of his personality. On the contrary, it is more detached and stands out better, when it moves within the limits of a convention.” Beyond use of an existing form, perhaps the greatest revelation to me on having a “closer listen” to this symphony is to hear better what happens in the third movement–all those little snatches of material tossed about, and out of it comes that grand chorale!

      PS: I’ve been listening to Martinu’s 5th today and can add one more to my haphazard list of affecting moments: the trumpet call in the 2d movement. We should be hearing these symphonies in the concert hall a lot more than we do!

  3. Jane and Lance Hattatt

    Hello Susan,

    It seems incredible that this work should have received such a hostile reception at its premiere. What is there to offend, we wonder?

    So much has been concentrated into a relatively short time. It is rather like an athlete who has prepared for a sprint. Such dynamic energy bursts forth around every corner with a lightness that is uplifting. Yes, definitely a winner with us.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Jane & Lance: I can only think those reactions arose out of expectations, including a desire for more Kalevala-based music, and also out of the enormous contrast between this work and that of other composers at the time. But I’m with you, there’s nothing to offend, and everything to enjoy. As Mark did in his words, you capture its essence beautifully in what you say. I’m so glad to share enjoyment of this music with you both!

  4. Brian Long

    I really like this post, Susan. Very fine writing on your part. For me, one of the attractions of digging up or reading old reviews and the like is the thought that probably quite a lot of our contemporary crits and reviews will also, say a century from now, turn out to be “wrong”. It is all part of the idea that art, in this case music, is contextual. Examples like the Sibelius 3 reviews you have done so well finding for your post show us that well. The symphony played then and the one played today is the same. Only the context has changed. And so the context will over time change for the music of today. Some works regarded today as second rate, will come to be thought of as masterpieces. Others will make the opposite journey! Now who wants to make some predictions about candidates for the two directions!

    I was also fascinated to see Rimsky Korsakov pop up. It seems like another trick of music history that he lived until 1908, and was at least for a while a contemporary of Sibelius, Mahler, Richard Strauss (Salome premiered in 1905!) or Schoenberg. Rimsky seems, by 1907, like a composer from a bygone world (which, in fact, he really was by this time). It is always good to reminded of how messy music history is, and how artificial the various historical periods are.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Brian: Well, you know, you were my direct inspiration, with the Mahler post, with your tempting me to explore the TimesMachine, and (last not least) the great guideposts and commentary for listening you allowed me to share on the post. I’ve always enjoyed reading “primary source” historical materials. As you say, “It is all part of the idea that art, in this case music, is contextual,” and it’s fascinating to see how perspectives shift over time. A favorite music history of mine is Christopher Gibbs’ essay on Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, in which he examined reviews of performances in the U.S. over time, amply demonstrating that changing context, which of course continues on today. (If of interest, the essay is in Shostakovich and His World, edited by Laurel Fay.) On Rimsky-Korsakov, yes, wasn’t it interesting to see his name pop up? I only wish I had been able to trace the first quote about Prokofiev hearing the 3rd to its first source–but perhaps I’ll find it in time. The “messiness” of musical history (or really, any history) is part of its appeal, isn’t it? Your list of composers who lived for a while, during the same period, is a great case in point.

      1. David N

        I think it’s more significant, isn’t it, what year a composer was born in. No wonder Strauss, b. 1864, wasn’t exactly about to catch up with Boulez in 1949 (nor was Stravinsky, for that matter). Funny to think that if Tchaikovsky had lived a decent lifespan he’d have witnessed the Revolution and, if he stayed in Russia, had to adapt to the Soviet ethos of the 1920s.

        Rimsky hated Salome, by the way. Funny, he was quite a conservative but still added a new harmonic device to every opera. Without his octatonics, probably Messiaen wouldn’t have written the way he did.

        Re Mark’s right observation about ‘lightness’, he’d have missed that in Rattle’s performance of the Third Symphony on Wednesday. Sir Si doesn’t really do lightness or freedom. When the music’s earthy, as in the first movement of the Fourth, he’s in his element.

        1. Susan Scheid Post author

          David N: Yes, I can’t think anyone would argue otherwise about the significance of the birth date, though it’s interesting to realize who was around at any given time. Your “what if” about Tchaikovsky is a nice example of that. What serendipity that you mention octatonics today (I just learned about that scale and Rimsky-Korsakov’s association with it in the context of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy). Interesting to think of Messaien’s musical direction in light of that scale.

          It’s another example of the porous boundaries in music, isn’t it? No composer worth his/her salt fits in a tidy box. One of my favorite examples of this is all the “modern” elements you pointed out in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. Speaking of which, in the mail today I received my “third installment” of Jarvi-Tchaikovsky ballet CDs: The Nutcracker Suite. A reviewer noted about the CD: “I should add that, despite the constraints of the format of a single disc in a jewel case, the booklet notes by David Nice (given in English, German and French) are a model of comprehensive coverage. They discuss not only the music but also give a full account of the scenario which Tchaikovsky set out to illustrate.” This does not surprise me, of course, but it’s nice to see it noted.

        2. Brian Long

          Yes, David, I think you are quite right on birth dates. I have often wondered Mahler would have gone musically if he had lived, say, to 1940 (which would “only” have made him 80, still well short of Strauss’ 91!) Nothing like a good counterfactual to ponder!

  5. David Damant

    One must remember that the 20th Century was a period of cultural confusion – dissatisfied with the obvious nature of 19th art the more insightful artists had to re-invent the way into the analysis of the human predicament – as with Picasso, ( “when I was young I painted like Raphael ” – and then he broke out) and so many composers. In a period of classical certainty such as the 18th Century new music was appraised for quality, but there was no confusion about the structure etc. And the music of the first movement – Allegro Moderato – is the name of the best restaurant in Ghent

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David D: So nice to see you here, and, as always, bringing along with you a pithy comment on historical context. Of course I also had to go look up the restaurant and enjoyed its website’s description (not the most elegant translation, but just the same): “A warm summer evening, a terrace on the banks of the river Lys, a splendid view on the famous guild houses of the Graslei is l’autre bank. Enjoying classic French cuisine at the very heart of the historical illustrious city of Ghent. Is it a dream? Allegro Moderato is Located in an 18th century form guild house. It Is The Most striking building on the Korenlei, Where the guild of the Unfree Boatmen HAD its home, centuries ago. The walls of the front room-have-been meticulously restored in the original style, classical music fits in perfectly to make you dream away to the old times of merchant and craft guilds? People from Ghent and all over the world enjoy this single combination of historical splendor and exquisite cuisine.” Sounds like quite the establishment, and the menu looks exquisite. I’ve not been to Ghent, though I have been to towns along the Lys, including Ypres, where we walked the WWI battlefields and cemeteries. That was a remarkable trip–and very much on point about the origins of the 20th C confusion you note.

  6. Alan Andrews

    As it happens I am in the middle of a Sibelius symphony cycle at the moment dovetailing into a Beethoven piano concerto cycle with Stephen Hough next month. At the last concert we did the 2nd and 3rd symphonies plus the Violin Concerto and it reinforced for me that one of Sibelius’ main strengths (certainly in the 3rd symphony) is that his music has a wonderful sense of movement and purpose. In the 1st movement of the 3rd symphony there is such a sense of “rightness” when the first theme comes sailing vigorously back in the recapitulation that you don’t even need one of Brian Long’s road maps to show you the topography. Also his music tends to finish when it should, in the words of Stravinsky (although I don’t know where he said it) “too many pieces of music finish too long after the end”. I think this was a point that came out in the Simon Rattle interview to which you link in the post. This power of movement I think is what enables Sibelius to write such effective transitions. There is a feeling of inevitability about the process that make changes of tempo seem organic rather than bolted on for effect. The finale of the 3rd symphony is a case in point where near the end of the movement a fair head of steam has been built up and the once quiet march theme now has a huge sense of forward momentum – but even as a performer, you’re not quite sure how you got there.

    I think that it was an interesting decision of Simon Rattle to bring a Sibelius cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic to the Barbican in London (the home of the London Symphony Orchestra of course). The LSO has a long and distinguished pedigree in playing (and recording) the music of Sibelius and for me have a far more idiomatic Sibelius style.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Alan: It’s beyond price to get your perspective as a trumpeter who has played this piece. I very much look forward to hearing about the Hough cycle too.

      1. David N

        I’d agree with Alan about the LSO’s idiomatic style, though for me Colin Davis got a bit grand with it in his old age (and I always hated the swell he made at the end of the Seventh Symphony, which should just stop). I’d add that Oramo, very much my current hero, seems to be a more natural Sibelius conductor than Rattle (though SSR’s recordings of the Fourth Symphony and The Oceanides are extraordinary, and specimens of some of the greatest engineering in recorded history).

        I agree about the ‘perfect rightness’, but how hard won that was, with Sibelius re-ordering ‘God’s mosaic pieces’, as he put it. Nothing more fascinating than the original version (1915) of the Fifth, with the first movement grinding to a halt before the scherzo starts, and the revision we all know, where the climax seems so inevitable yet wasn’t there in the first place.

        Tune in if you can to Oramo’s BBCSO Oceanides and Nielsen Inextinguishable tonight, plus the sublime Anne-Sofie von Otter in Zemlinsky’s Maeterlinck Songs and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin). All works from around the same period. Available on the iPlayer for a month.

        1. Susan Scheid Post author

          David: Thank you as always, for the welcome insights and recommendations. I’m very much looking forward to hearing Oramo conduct Sibelius’s Oceanides, the VC and Brahms Second Symphony at the NY Phil next week, and I have bookmarked to listen to the concert you note above and reviewed here, which sounds fantastic: http://www.theartsdesk.com/classical-music/von-otter-bbcso-oramo-barbican. Another thing I was thrilled to learn is that the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra has a stream-on-demand offering, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some or all of Oramo’s Sibeliue-Nielsen Festival in April will be available through that site. (For anyone who wants to know about the Festival: http://www.sibeliusnielsen.se/start/; for the stream-on-demand site: http://rspoplay.se/#y8uesv1ezQL3dJvaYhJRtw.)

          For all who may come this way, David’s excellent interview with Oramo, full of insights about Sibelius, Nielsen, and Oramo’s thoughts on conducting, may be found here: http://www.theartsdesk.com/classical-music/theartsdesk-qa-conductor-sakari-oramo. Highly recommended!

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