Sibelius and Beethoven – Chuck Lirette

In 1899, fror a patriotic celebration in
Finland, Sibelius wrote a series of “Tableaux of the Past.” Of the
numbers comprised in the Tableaux, the last, the tone poem Finlandia
went beyond the borders of his home country to become on of the world’s
popular favorites. It is a landmark in Findland’s fight for
independence. Those of us onstage don’t think about things like this as
we play … instead it’s intonation, rhythm, and fitting your part into
the fabric of the piece. I try not to think of frozen tundra and dried

studied composition with Haydn, Albrechtsberger and Salieri. He was
just 30 when the first symptoms of deafness appeared, and despite
doctoring, grew gradually worse. He spent a great deal of time in the
suburbs of Vienna, and as he roamed alone, dropping in for beer and
sausages at some cozy village inn, he jotted down musical ideas in his
notebooks (these have been preserved).

They record the working habits
of a genius who reviewed his inspiration for months, sometimes years,
before giving it finished form. We are playing his 3rd symphony this week and I think the 2nd
movement is the highlight of the concert. It makes you feel as if
you’re flying. The orchestra has been to Germany and Austria many times
and it’s true … these people line up for beer and sausages at eight in
the morning!

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