Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony: An Expression of Nature’s Divine Logic

Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major begins with the breadth and majesty of a vast, unfolding Nordic landscape. A mystical horn call rises and falls in an expansive arc, which opens the door to all that follows. Picked up by the woodwinds, the motif begins to fragment, spin, and develop with a sense of self-organizing inevitability. In his famous meeting with Gustav Mahler, Sibelius expressed admiration for the symphony’s “style and …

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Sibelius’ Sixth: "The Scent of the First Snow"

Beethoven’s great symphonic arc is a study in moderation. Beginning with the Third Symphony (the Eroica), Beethoven’s odd numbered symphonies can be described as heroic, monumental and groundbreaking. By contrast, the even numbered symphonies take a step back into a more intimate world of classical charm. Listen to Jean Sibelius’ Fifth and Sixth Symphonies back to back, and you’ll hear a similar dichotomy. Sibelius began sketching both works around the same time in the …

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