November 2, 1996 |
Once heard, Sibelius' "Kullervo" Symphony is hard to forget. Heard many times, the same composer's "Tapiola" remains an enigma. Your heart beats strong during the one; your mind puzzles over the other. In a program that could have been titled "The Beginning and the End of Jean Sibelius," Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed these two works, and these only, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Thursday night.
September 30, 2007 |
It's a bit startling to realize that Jean Sibelius has been dead for only 50 years, for he is a figure who seems like part of a deeper past. To put it in stark perspective, he was born in the year (1865) the Civil War ended and "Tristan and Isolde" was first heard, and he survived well into the second year (1957) of Elvis Presley's heyday and just two weeks short of the launch of Sputnik.
August 24, 1986 |
Few composers have suffered a more complete decline in popularity than Jean Sibelius did after his death in 1954. At that time, in fact, many listeners did not know that his life hadn't ended in 1927, when he wrote his last works. During the early decades of this century, Sibelius was commonly ranked with Brahms as a symphonist.
May 19, 1996 |
After decades of neglect, the music of Jean Sibelius is again in favor in this country and Western Europe, thanks in no small part to its championing by such leading conductors of the younger generation as Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. And while the composer may never have been out of style in his native Finland, there has been a shift in the center of Sibelian gravity there, away from Helsinki, which has always had the putative major orchestras.
November 3, 1996
I have to correct certain statements by Mr. Christer Dahlsten (Letters, Oct. 27). He states, incorrectly, that the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland consists of 7% of the population. The correct number is 5.9%. He adds that this minority stands for 70% of the GNP of the country. This is also untrue. The correct number is the above-mentioned 5.9%. He speaks about "the Swedes of Finland." No such entity exists or has ever existed. You can only talk about a Swedish-speaking minority.
October 21, 1990
I don't understand a phenomenon in film soundtracks. At least two 1990 movies use classical music in just about all the major scenes, but the audience is led to believe that the man whose name is under the "music by" credit wrote it all. In "Die Hard II," I was hard pressed to hear any "music by" Michael Kamen (who wrote such an eloquent score for "The Bay Boy"). Though the credits could lead one to think Kamen wrote it, "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius predominates (and its stark, icy mood works quite well for the wintry film)