09-01-2014 The "Original Version of the Symphony in B Flat by Jean Sibelius is an interesting workas ir opens with the beautifully evocative chorale by the upper wonds, skipping the French Horm massed chorale, and stepping right into the min theme.Those horns were something zI thought I could never live without, but the really gorgeous woodwind statement, in the form of a brief introduction, really suprized me with their enchanting beauty and poignancy. This is the music of the finale, assigned here to the wind choir and, somehow, I wished the composer could have held onto this passage for the final version, of 1915. This December 8th, 1915 premiere in Helsinki was a huge success by the authore soon set upon the revision, offering a rather different structure, but maintaining, for the great majority of the score, the original material, just re-shuffled, as a deck of cards. Occassionally, an enterprising conductor has, not for a long time, now, played both versions on a concert program. If I were in his shoes, I'd do just that, so the audience could appreciate both as separate but equal, well, mostly equal. if not equal, then certainly botrh are excellent compositions, and both worthy of frequent performance exposures. The 5th may be the Finnish Master's finest work, but there is, of course, the 2nd and trhe one-movement brilliance of the #7 in C. And, when you toss in shorter items like "Paholja's Daghter, the Karelia Suite or some of the Lemenkainen material, then you've really got a great Sibelius evening, just chocked full of melody, rhythm, and rousing yet emotively appealing music.
Also included on this Musical Heritage Society CD is the Op. 9 "En Saga," lo in it's "original" version, from 1892. Not having handy a copy of either the 5th Symphony r the poem at the current time, I found the timings of 33:55 (Symphony) and 21:51(n Saga) to be within reason as the tempi set by osmo Vanska and his Lahti Sym. Orch., to be rather recognizable when compared, via memory, with such notables as Blomstedt, rattle, Colin Davis (ith Boston, the LSO and the LPO). All of these maestros, I believe, take these works as being grand o[pieces, suitable for plying in a stately, regal fashion, rather like an Elgarean style. It simply "sounds right," and feels like "comfort music," not unlike the "comfort food" of mom's Sunday meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn-on-the-cob" feasts.
Within the initial 2 and a half minutes of the first movement, we get that quick ascending orchestral suge, led by the majestic brass, that heralds the high points of the beginning Allegro moderato. Between 07;28 and the end of the first movement at 08:22, the orchestra tries to revisit the short but well armed surge into forte territory but abruptly tapers off to a close. Movements 2 qnd 3 are pretty much mixes of the maerial of the cenrtral movement of the final version of the the 5th, and, as such, this material is clearly recognizable in this 12;47 combination of these two sections, yielding, in the final version, the very fine and majestic conclusion of this great work.
I FOUND THIS EARLY-BIRD Sibelius 5th is as good as it is entertaining, and the Lahti folks play like the patriots they are, with hot red blood rushkng through thei veins. Vanska is, naturally, like minded, indeed and
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