Sunday 29 May - Sibelius 4
Probably my favourite :
Sunday 29 May
5.00-6.30pm BBC RADIO 3
Sibelius wrote his Fourth Symphony in 1910/11, a period of great darkness for the composer. He had recently undergone an operation to remove a cancerous tumour from his throat, and he seems to have been convinced that the cancer had spread.
The operation also meant that for two years he had to do without his two main emotional props: alcohol and tobacco. It was also a terrible time outside of Sibelius's personal life: the world was hurtling towards the Great War and, closer to home, Finland was still recovering from the previous century's famine. On top of all this turmoil, in the musical sphere, Sibelius felt profoundly challenged by Schoenberg's opening up of a world of atonality. Stephen Johnson and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Petri Sakari explore this intense masterpiece, regarded by many as the greatest work Sibelius ever composed.
Presenter/Stephen Johnson, Producer/Sam Phillips
That should definitely be worth tuning in for. Trouble is, I won't get in from work until 5.30 earliest, so it looks like the on demand iPlayer will have to suffice, at least for the early stages.
Having had a health scare like that, you wouldn't think it a wise move to go back on the smokes. Yet the b***er lived another 46 years!
Originally Posted by french frank
A great symphony, nonetheless.
Thanks for the heads up on this - hope to be away weather permitting but must record this
The blurb says "Sibelius felt profoundly challenged by Schoenberg's opening up of a world of atonality" and the thing I like about the 4th is a sort of 'strangeness' (technical term). I'll be interested to see if what I hear is what SJ explains.
Tks FF for that info - For me Sibelius 4 is wonderous for its fantastic atmosphere - i suppose knowing he had health scare at the time of composing must be in the music - i always marvel at his trick of ending each movement with an anti climax and the end of the symphony must be the biggest anti climax in the whole symphonic repatoire !!
My favourite Sibelius symphony. Whatever did trigger Sibelius to compose this work as he did (cancer or Schönberg or both), we should keep in mind that the fifth symphony in its original version was basically an extension of this fourth, not the rather bright work as we know it now (btw: was object of Discovering Music some time ago). As 5 was composed after the all clear, it is Schönberg to which one should look here as the cause of this sparely orchestrated, harmonically rather labyrinthine and concise work.
[Btw: Only let's hope it is better, i.e. more informative, than the IMO rather disappointing Mahler 2; Such a great work, and only 50 minutes to let 3 knowledgeable people utter some banalities and just a few really interesting points, and a missed chance to compare Todtenfeier's development section with the end product one's ]
Is this a new Sibelious 4 or the repeat from 2002? I have the 2002 on cassette, its one of the best Discovering Musics I've heard.
It is a new programme, although according to the archive, they do examine pieces a second time sometimes. The earlier recording ought in theory to be still available, but the Sibelius 4 erroneously links to a broadcast of Sib 7 (the Sib 7 links to Sib 7 too!).
I heard both Sibelous 7s- but next to the detailed programme of no.4 both programmes for no.7 felt like more of an overview IMO.
Still, I will be hearing no.4 this Sunday!
P.S. What about no.8 for Discovering Music?