November 26, 2012

Sibelius Sunday..


…it shall be called, 2nd December 2012 because of the amount of works by Sibelius performed in two different locations in Leeds.

A friend from Manchester told me that his friend will be performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto at the Leeds College of Music, with the Leeds College of Music Symphony Orchestra in an afternoon concert. Also on the programme is Borodin’s Prince Igor and Smetana’s Triumph Symphony in E major.

On the same evening, at the Leeds Town Hall, the Orchestra of Opera North plays Finlandia and the Fifth Symphony, along with Kodály’s Háry János Suite and Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto.

Glass and Sibelius – what a perfect combination! It is probably one of the best birthday presents this year, assuming they play it well of course (= But, watching it live will be an experience in itself.

I remember once telling a friend that I would imagine the Glass Violin Concerto score to look like an étude. His reply was “Doesn’t anything Glass writes for a solo instrument look like an étude?”

And ohhhh, Sibelius. From the dancing polar bears (Donald Francis Tovey described the third movement as “a polonaise for polar bears” in his book, Essays in Musical Analysis) to the exquisite, angelic chorale in Finlandia..  There’s something incredible about his music, something almost spiritual, that evokes heimweh, or einsamkeit; something that makes one want to dance, to sing, or just to stand still in awe of the beauty of God’s creation..

Conductor Simon Rattle expresses it perfectly:

 “Sibelius is so concentrated and exact. With Sibelius you feel that if one drop touches your skin it would burn right through the bone.”

As if a taster of what’s to come on sunday, there’s an open rehearsal at Opera North the whole afternoon tomorrow.

I can’t wait. (: 

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