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An opinion from Norway

 
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:46 am    Post subject: An opinion from Norway Reply with quote

‘I have often had to ask myself: Why is it that mother earth has generally given those people with a singing voice neither the intelligence nor the necessary emo­tions to be able to use their voices as a means of achieving a higher goal?’ (Edvard Grieg)

Any thoughts on how that applies to Sibelius singers/songs?

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that Sibelius's songs are as challenging to the performers as are the big orchestral works. Sibelius was fortunate during his creative years to be able to write songs for particuarly fine singers, including Aino Ackte and Ida Ekman who both inspired some of his finest songs. Sibelius also dedicated 'Solitude' a wonderful song to the American contralto, Marion Anderson.

Sibelius himself was no singer but he did compose some glorious songs, but as with his major works, Sibelius was probably never completely satisfied with any rendition of his songs by a mere mortal. But I think that the great Norwegan, Kirsten Flagstad came close.--kullervopete.

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Peter Frankland
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couldn't agree more - that Flagstad recording [Decca] is essential listening (even if some songs are third-party orchestrations).

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very true, early in 1946 Sibelius had forbidden the Finnish Broadcasting Company from performing his songs, other than in their original form,with piano accompaniment. 'I dont want them crchestrated,' he said, 'for they completely loose their character, one can't express little ideas by means of a large orchestra'. Yet from time to time when someone wished to orchestrate one of his songs, Sibelius gave his consent, probably out of the goodness of his heart. In earlier years of course, he orchestrated a number of songs himself, very often for Ida Ekman.--kullervopete.

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Peter Frankland
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Normally I shy away from third-party orchestrations but I must say that some of the songs have fared quite well. Hard to generalize of course, and I have heard some real clunkers, but by and large they seem to be effective.

I find it strange that concert promoters and record companies, with a few exceptions, have not bothered to name the orchestrator. Did/Do they just not realize that many songs are not Sibelius's own orchestrations?

By the way, has anybody got any favourite third-party orchestrations? (Or is it impossible to say, given the lack of information…?)

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