Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Celebrate 150th Anniversary of Jean Sibelius with the Orchestra of Southern Utah

(8 December 1865 – 20 September 1957)
Born into the Russian Empire and nurtured Finnish independence through his great music.

Finlandia is an example of nationalistic music for Finland.
Video includes scenery from Finland including northern lights and wildlife:

(poster design by Rollan Fell)

“Rhythm of Sibelius” Concert Celebrates 150 Anniversary
By Kristin Beauchamp-Butt
The Orchestra of Southern Utah will celebrate the music and life of Jean Sibelius with their November 12th concert, “The Rhythm of Sibelius.”  Three Sibelius pieces (Finlandia, Waltz Triste, and Symphony No. 6) will be played in observation of his 150th birthday in December.  Additionally, this concert will provide a unique opportunity to hear live music played on the pipa, an instrument that originated in China over 1500 years ago.
            Perhaps Sibelius’s most well-known work, Finlandia was written in 1899 for a clandestine political protest.  Living in an uncertain time in Finland’s history, Sibelius wrote the piece to depict the struggles of the Finnish people.  The piece contains the Finlandia Hymn, a segment that was later taken as a stand-alone song with lyrics added in 1941.  It has become one of the most important national songs in the country, and the melody has also been included in alma maters, national anthems, and Christian hymns.
            Waltz Triste, the sad waltz, was written by Sibelius for one of his brother-in-law’s plays.  Though originally part of the incidental music for the play, it quickly earned a place as a concert piece.  The waltz was popular with audiences when it debuted in 1903, and continues to be popular today.
            Symphony No. 6 has been described by Sibelius as offering “cold spring water” in reference to the relative simplicity that stood in contrast to some of the more elaborate pieces of his time.  The piece had sentimental value to Sibelius, and always reminded him “of the scent of the first snow.” 
            The Concerto for String Orchestra and Pipa, written by Chinese composers Liu Dehai and Wu Zuqiang, will bring an uncommon element into our local concert hall.  Xinwen Fu will solo on the pipa, using her talent to display the historical instrument’s range and emotion.  This piece was written in 1973 tells of the heroics of two young children who endure a terrible snowstorm and save the family farm animals.  Their heroics are celebrated in the final portion with the "flowering of thousands of red blossoms".
            The concert will begin at 7:30 pm at the Heritage Theater.  Tickets are available at the Cedar City Heritage Theater Box Office by calling 435-865-2882 or online at http://www.heritagectr.org/.   Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $30 for groups up to 6.  Because evening concerts are recorded, it is requested that babies and children under the age of six not attend.  Children over the age of six are welcome at all OSU concerts with adult supervision.  More information: Emily Hepworth, OSU Manager, 435-233-8213 or osucedarcity@gmail.com.

Listening Links:
Symphony No. 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKhCHvaAc3o

Pipa Concerto  Composed by 刘德海 Liu Dehai and 吴祖强 Wu Zuqiang,
Part 1:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig7APkPtWbw
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RRSiWA8J-4
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfFOeESnHFk
Two young sisters are trapped in a terrible snowstorm and manage to save the family farm animals.  Their heroics are celebrated in the finale of the piece.
Xinwen Fu plays the solo pipa part for the OSU concert.
More of our favorites from Jean Sibelius:

Symphony No. 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g82t0AJ1FnY

Swan of Tuonela features the English horn:

To Hear an English Horn: http://www.dsokids.com/listen/by-instrument/english-horn/.aspx

Sibelius Violin Concerto: "There is something immoderate about this concerto that enormously appeals to me. Something vulnerable and unspeakably beautiful, right there along something dark and brooding. They illustrate that not only do darkness and beauty coexist, they enhance each other. How fitting that a Finnish composer should have so aptly illustrated the beauty of light amid so much wintery darkness," wrote .  Full article: http://www.violinist.com/blog/Terez/201510/17123/
Finale performed by OSU with Hillary Dalton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG_Jwi4jyrg

More links and info: http://www.classicfm.com/composers/sibelius/

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