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Classical 101

More from Finland's Greatest Composer

Jean_Sibelius_1939_0.jpg
Wikipedia- public media
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Here is Jean Sibelius in 1939.

Anticipating the 150th birth anniversary of Finland's Jean Sibelius, last week on Symphony @ 7 I had his Symphony No. 5 in E-Flat.  This week, just two days after his actual birth date of December 10th, I have the most popular of his seven symphonies, Symphony No. 2 in D.

This work from 1902 is also the longest of Sibelius's symphonies and like his First Symphony, shows the influence of Russian Romanticism, particularly of Peter Tchaikovsky.  When this work first appeared, it was interpreted by some as portraying Finnish resistance to their Russian overlords at the time.  The composer disavowed any overt political intention, but this symphony does have a grand and heroic quality, especially the last movement.

Like much of Sibelius's orchestral music, there is also powerful feeling of the vast world of nature, expressing the isolated landscapes of the far northern regions of Finland.  There's nothing else exactly like it in music..

The other work on the program Thursday evening is the Concerto for Two Violins in D-Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.  What makes this particular recording with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers unusual is that, via the magic of the recording studio, she performs both solo parts using two different violins.  She's accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Steven Mercurio.

Join me for Symphony @ 7 this evening on Classical 101.