The new season started well last night with a presentation by Ed Tinline of the
music of Sibelius. His music is familiar enough of course and it got a good hearing at this year’s proms concerts in honour of his 150th anniversary. He is Finland’s most famous composer although curiously, he spoke Swedish – a reflection of that country’s complex history.
Ed had just returned from Lahti in Finland where he attended the anniversary festival there. He selected for the Society music played at that festival which mixed familiar works with several less well known. It is often a curious fact that even top flight composers have a body of work which may seldom if ever be heard. This might be because it received a poor review when it was first performed or because the composer was unhappy with it and it was ‘withdrawn’.
The evening started with a performance of the Wood Nymph from 1894 performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Otto Vänskä in a world premier recording made in 1996, that is a century after it was composed. At 21 minutes it was quite long but contained much interesting and delightful music. It is a mystery why Sibelius never arranged for its publication but it might be because he was unsure of its merit.
After the second movement of Symphony No 3 we heard two songs sung by Lilli Paassikivi: Since then I have questioned no further and Astray from a set of songs opus 17.
Another rarely heard piece was Oceanides a ‘Rondo of the Waves’ by the same orchestra and conductor, recorded in 2003. Originally written in D Flat major, Sibelius transcribed it into D major for its first performance in the States because of the difficulty for the strings in playing it in the original key. It was favourably received.
We also heard the fourth movement from the familiar Symphony No 6 under Otto Kamu recorded last year and the evening finished with Andante Festivo op 34 performed by Tempera String Quartet.
The next evening is on October 5th.