Andante festivo – New Year Greetings 2015

This has been a long time coming. I have always wanted to create a video of Sibelius’s Andante festivo, a piece so dear to my heart and I’m sure to many a Sibelian. For many years I’ve sat on the idea and done several other videos but this one I’ve put off because I want it to be really good. I also have a dilemma about whether to use the recording that first introduced me to the work, or to use Sibelius’s historic 1939 recording. The decision I made this morning – playing both versions loudly on my hifi after breakfast at home – is that ultimately I’ll do both. For now though, it will be the former – Neeme Järvi’s 1982 recording on BIS with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, a very beautiful and powerful account that still sounds fantastic to this day. The CD is 30 years old.

The photos used are from my 2014 trip to Finland, mostly of Suomenlinna and a few of Karelia. I plan to make a couple of videos this coming year for Karelia. In the meantime, Happy New Year to all! Happy 2015! Happy 150th Anniversary, Jean Sibelius!


The Origin of Fire – Works for Male Chorus & Orchestra

Sibelius in 1920

Alongside Sibelius’ a capella choral output are the choral-orchestral works, both which still suffer much undeserved neglect. I mean, if you like Kullervo – you ought to try these as well. The most obvious thing to do for Sibelius was to incorporate the choral hymn of Finlandia into the orchestral tone poem – and yet, I only know of two recordings, one with a mixed choir on Ondine (Sibelius Cantatas ODE 754-2) and this committed performance with the Laulun Ystävät Male Choir, under Järvi’s very experienced Sibelian conducting. But more on that later… Continue reading The Origin of Fire – Works for Male Chorus & Orchestra