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Andante Festivo
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an exceedingly difficult question to answer and I doubt that I am even qualifyed to hazard a guess. What I do know is that when Sibelius was listening to his music on the radio, he would turn up the volume to such a level that the house would start to shake! He was clearly trying to hear every little nuance and semiquaver. I would seriously doubt that Sibelius might modify the score to take into account a radio transmission.--kp

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We can only guess. This part was of course one of the later additions, as the original was for string quartet. I've temporarily misplaced my score (how dumb is that?) but I don't recall the basses having anything all that dramatic to play anyhow. I can only recommend that you go for a balance that sounds right with your orchestra and hall.

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World Violist
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember hearing an interview Bruno Walter made (on the Sony recording of Mahler's 9th symphony) in which he recalled some of his earlier recording experiences. He said that the double basses could not be heard at all unless they were backed up by tubas or something. Since the technology was obviously better by the time of Sibelius' recording, I wonder whether or not the basses add a more solid foundation to the sound; after all, radio broadcasts were never really as great as a professional, studio recording.
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arenan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this piece.. Doublebasses FFF with good legato, sound and taste. All I know from the tradition. I suspect mp markings are after markings. The foundation of all Sibelius pieces, The bass line, when needed are really strong. This is what I know.
The common mistake here is to hide the natural sound of the doublebass section. That should be the loudest. Down-upwards pianochords, anyone. So, ala natura.

my two cents here Smile
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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

arenan wrote:
I suspect mp markings are after markings. The foundation of all Sibelius pieces, The bass line, when needed are really strong.

I have to agree with arenan. I have rehearsed this piece for 2 days now and I have no reason to believe that Sibelius really wanted the contrabasses several dynamics softer than the rest of the orchestra.

Going back to my question a few posts up, I think this lower dynamic is some sort of compensation for what Sibelius felt to be some sort of inherent shortcoming in the radio technology of the day, but that he wanted a balanced string sound top to bottom.

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Ainola
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be clear, is the definitive score we have today of Andante Festivo the 'altered for broadcast' version or not?
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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, to answer Ainola's question, I'm pretty sure the basic score that is available is the "broadcast" score.

Well, it's done.

For the direct YouTube link, click
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I have mixed feelings about this performance.

First of all, type "Andante Festivo" into YouTube's search engine. There are many, many performances there, ranging from school orchestra's through chamber ensembles to major recordings. So I have a feeling that our performance is "just another one" in long, long series.

Secondly, it took me 3 days of rehearsal to "find" this tempo. The tempo at which I "naturally" felt the music led to a performance time of about 4'20", which is just too fast. Vänskä's is about 5'00" and even that is fast compared to Sibelius' own spatial rendition. While ours clocks in at about 5'30", it was a tempo that I really had to strive for, always making sure that I don't allow the line to rush forward meaninglessly.

Lastly, because the piece is not technically difficult for the strings, the conductor must do something other than just keep time, because honestly any reasonable string orchestra can play this without a conductor. So the conductor is there to give it a certain intensity of expression and unity of interpretation. Honestly, I'm not quite sure that I did that to the level that I would have liked to. I'm not fishing for compliments here, folks, this is an honest artistic self-evaluation. But now this piece is in our repertoire and I plan to use it for non-subscription concerts quite often this year and through the summer. So perhaps in a half-year's time there will be another, better version available for comparison.

Thanks to all for watching and for your ongoing encouragement.

__________________________________________

Note 1 - I purposely reduced the image quality of the file to allow it to load faster.

Note 2 - Sibelius writes Tympani ad lib, I purposely chose to omit them, just my personal preference.

Note 3 - Using this software I recompressed Kurkikohtaus, it now allows the proper undistorted ratio. Click

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to watch it on the Forum or
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to watch it on YouTube.

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Last edited by Kurkikohtaus on Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:17 am; edited 3 times in total
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hearty congrats on the performance! Smile The tempo certainly works for me.
Despite the limitations of YouTube sound, it sounds as though they played with some considerable vigour (and it's good to hear the accents too, 2nd vln 4 before C and 4 before E [strange bit of scoring, cf. violas and cellos/cb here!]). Listeners easily forget (or never bother to notice) that despite its relative brevity this is such an intense, unremitting piece that it's actually very tiring for the orchestral players, so it's good that they gave it plenty of weight.

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Moldyoldie
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice, Kurki! Smile (You, and everyone else, can call me Moldy if you like. )

I compared your performance with that of Jansons/Olso, also on YouTube. His was seemingly at the faster tempo which you eschewed in favor of what I'd describe as a more dynamically uniform and noble musical statement. The players were exemplary -- very, very nice!

I'm trying to "hear" the tympani as it might sound at the tempo you took, with the "size" of your strings, and in your venue. I'm thinking you probably made a wise choice in opting against them.
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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record, our concert hall seats 360-380, our standard string seating is 8-6-5-4-3 = 26 players.
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Ainola
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice. Now seeing as you probably have every note memorized, what score did you really have in front of you?
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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schumann Cello Concerto, it was next up on the program.
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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I was VERY impressed by the performance! Tempo was great, stings sounded great...everything sounded great. You should be commended, Kurki, for 1) chooshing to include the piece in your concert season and 2) playing the piece so darm well with great emotion. I will return to this performance often.

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World Violist
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice! I personally much prefer the slower tempo to the faster ones. It's so much more satisfying that way.
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the performance, it certainly evinced the poetry that Sibelius asked for, what particularly impressed me was the rich body of sound produced from a relatively small string section. Bravo!--kp

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, people. My quartet has been performing the Andante festivo lately, which has been a really great experience for me in particular, getting to revisit this with significantly more flexibility and control than in a string orchestra setting.

We've been trying a lot of different tempi. Usually it winds up being a bit more flowing and lilting, because it's really difficult to sustain a slower tempo as a quartet (Sibelius' tempo is not going to happen, I think).

A couple of days ago, though, we were playing Christmas music at a small historical house, and the acoustics were magnificent for us, so we ended the program with the Sibelius, at a little slower than Tempera Quartet's tempo, and it was really nice. We're thinking of recording it there.


I'd love it if we could do more for Sibelius 150, but we don't feel up to the B-flat quartet, let alone Voces intimae. We're doing what we can, though. Smile
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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Violist wrote:
Hey, people. My quartet has been performing the Andante festivo lately, which has been a really great experience for me in particular, getting to revisit this with significantly more flexibility and control than in a string orchestra setting.

We've been trying a lot of different tempi. Usually it winds up being a bit more flowing and lilting, because it's really difficult to sustain a slower tempo as a quartet (Sibelius' tempo is not going to happen, I think).

A couple of days ago, though, we were playing Christmas music at a small historical house, and the acoustics were magnificent for us, so we ended the program with the Sibelius, at a little slower than Tempera Quartet's tempo, and it was really nice. We're thinking of recording it there.


I'd love it if we could do more for Sibelius 150, but we don't feel up to the B-flat quartet, let alone Voces intimae. We're doing what we can, though. Smile


Sounds nice. It's always a boon when the acoustics help out. I'd love to hear your version some time.

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