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Sticking up for the early chamber music

 
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:12 am    Post subject: Sticking up for the early chamber music Reply with quote

I'm keen to encourage people to listen to Sibelius's early chamber works. Now that virtually all of them are recorded and released, there can be no excuse for avoiding such a large body of - generally - well crafted and melodious music.

Is there any more infectious melody in all early Sibelius than the invigorating finale of the 'Korpo' Trio, for instance? And who could deny that the formal experimentation in that work - especially its second movement - was an essential early step on the way that led to the Seventh Symphony and Tapiola?

Especially in melodic and rhythmic terms, the early chamber music bears most of Sibelius's fingerprints and combines them with a joie de vivre that utterly refutes the notion of Sibelius as a composer who lacked humour or humanity.

I would be most interested to hear which of these works have made an impression on everybody - good or bad - and why.
Finally I find it little short of astonishing that there are still 'experts' out there who write off the works as inferior and inept, sometimes without even having once listened to them!

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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am ashamed but honest enough to say that I know not a single piece of chamber music by Sibelius. So I will now heed Andrew B's advice and look up a score of the Korpo Trio and try to absorb it as best as I can.

As far as the general ignorance towards Sibelius' chamber repertoire is concerned, I feel that it is the responsibility of Chamber musicians to make us aware of it. If major and minor ensembles alike performed this music more often, perhaps the public would begin "demanding" it as well. Would there be a "need" for recordings of Sibelius' symphonies if they were not championed by conductors and their orchestras? Of course not.

Therefore while it is important that people like Andrew B should make Sibelius enthusiasts aware of what is out there, the real responsibility lies in the efforts of chamber ensembles to present these works to a broader public.

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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Sticking up for the early chamber music Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
I'm keen to encourage people to listen to Sibelius's early chamber works. Now that virtually all of them are recorded and released, there can be no excuse for avoiding such a large body of - generally - well crafted and melodious music.



I've always been a staunch admirer of the early String Quartet in E flat major from 1885.

To echo the remarks of Andrew B, it is simple but indeed well crafted and melodious. Writing off music like this because it is not as deep or complex as, say, the 7th Symphony is just pure snobbery.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about the Voces Intimae Quartett? The last movement is particularly vivacious and memorable. (Oh, but it's not early...)

Have you heard a small piece of his, the Rondino for Violin and Piano (Op.81?) ? Very short and very charming.

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voces intimae is in a class of its own, to be sure, as Sibb's only mature quartet (even if some sketches do date back to the turn of the century). And moreover, as it is one of the main works from his introspective period, it is something that even the musical snobs can accept.

Not so the Rondino, more's the pity. It is indeed a splendid miniature, one of the most concise and memorable of the violin/piano pieces from this era. Is it a soul-searching, epoch-defining masterpiece? No. Do I care? Not a bit. Let's listen and enjoy!

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david johnson
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'experts' out there who write off the works as inferior and inept...

regardless of the musical style, from sacred harp to dixieland to orchestral, i've found such experts are mostly good for a laugh! definitely never to be taken seriously.

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Andrew B regarding the early chamber works and I have found the Korpo trio wonderful. But once again up pops Mr. P Quantrill, Gramophone magazine reviewer. [ I lambasted him in my very first post 'Kullervo' [Symphonies]16th July 2007. Original post is
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Mr. Quantrill in reviewing Sibelius chamber music with Tempera Qt. writes of the Korpo trio, 'After a ruminative Fantasia, the Korpo trio closes with an orgy of modulations around a cheap little tune that makes Bjorn and Benny sound like models of restraint'.
This so called Sibelius specialist then goes on to produce a number of blatantly inaccurate gaffes. Apparently Sibelius failed an audition with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Third Symphonies first movement coda is enriched by late Wagnerian allusion and then Quantrill tells us that 'Wagner really comes to the fore in the Fourth Symphony'. But it does not stop there, after some snipes at the balance of movements in the Sixth, Mr. Quantril informs us that the silence from Ainola began in 1923!
And to think that this reviewers comments will go out world wide.--kullervopete.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly think very few take these reviews seriously. Maybe some people that just recently got into classical music and are confused by the massive amount of music available. But still, I think anyone can sense the vast amount of oversimplification that Quantrill fails to hide with his „wit“ and „sense of humor“.
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I know what you mean, but the UK Sibelius Society has worked hard in recent years to promulgate Sibelius's early chamber works and Mr. Quantrill does the music no favours. Of course he is entitled to his viewpoint, but if as it seems, Mr. Quantrill is clearly not a commited Sibelian then he should not have the Sibelius brief in this leading classical music mag.
Knockabout comedy is one thing, but he should at the very least get his facts right.--kullervopete.

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... 'an orgy of modulations around a cheap little tune that makes Björn and Benny sound like models of restraint'... tut tut

Well I have heard the piece in concert quite often now - at a guess ten times in various countries (I'm a sort of 'Korpo' Trio groupie) and it has never failed to be a massive hit with the audiences. I missed its Swedish première but am told that it was a huge success there too. Must have been that Björn and Benny association, I imagine.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kullervopete wrote:
Mr. Quantrill does the music no favours. Of course he is entitled to his viewpoint, but if as it seems, Mr. Quantrill is clearly not a commited Sibelian then he should not have the Sibelius brief in this leading classical music mag.

Agreed, the great influence a commited Sibelian could have in Quantrill's position... it is sad to think about it.

Andrew B wrote:
I missed its Swedish première but am told that it was a huge success there too. Must have been that Björn and Benny association, I imagine.

Laughing
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will all be pleased to know that I wrote to the editor of 'Gramophone' following Mr. Quantrill's attack on Sibelius's 'Korpo' Trio. I took him to task regarding this and other inaccuracy's.

The good news is that my letter has been published in the Feb. 08 issue, and includes a photo of Sibelius with the caption 'Young Sibelius's chamber works 'Gems or cheap tunes?.

So perhaps I have managed to redress the balance.--kullervopete.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on that!

We don't get Gramophone here in Cz... if you would like to post your article here, that would be great.
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to oblige Kurki.

In defence of Korpo

I write regarding the review of various
Sibelius releases, 'Summing up Sibelius'
[December, page 84]. Peter Quantrill
was scathing about Sibelius's early Korpo
trio: 'After a ruminative Fantasia, the Korpo
trio closes with an orgy of modulations around
a cheap little tune that make Bjorn and Benny
sound like models of restraint.' Mr. Quantrill
seems to be undermining much that we in the
UK Sibelius society have been doing in recent
years in trying to promulgate Sibelius's youthful
chamber works to the widest possible audience.
These pieces which are uneven, do contain
some gems-including the Korpo trio!
But it does not stop there.
Mr. Quantrill's assertion that Wagner looms
large in the Fourth Symphony is frankly ludicrous
and I must correct a number of inaccurata claims.
It was for the Vienna Philharmonic that Sibelius
auditioned on January 9, 1891, and the silence
from Ainola did not begin in 1923, with two more
symphonies and Tapiola yet to come. In fact,
probably Sibelius's greatest labours were expended
on the Eighth Symphony, which he worked on from
the late 1920's through to the 40's and which
tragically resulted in the big bonfire at Ainola.

kullervopete.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh man, this stuff is brilliant! I haven't even gotten to the piano trios yet, but I'm captivated by the string quartet music, particularly the C-sharp minor theme and variations, 33 small pieces, Adagio in d minor JS 12, and B-flat quartet.

One part of the B-flat quartet in particular piques my curiosity... in the second movement, there's a passage at about the 4:00 mark or shortly thereafter in which there's a melody with a lot of pizzicato going on, and I'm rather curious to know just how that's all written out. Really fascinating passage for me anyway.

I'm really looking forward to hearing the piano trios!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the early chamber music I'm only familiar with the "Korpo" and "Loviisa" piano trios, and I'm anxious to know where I could get sheet music for the "Korpo" trio, as I'm quite a fan of the idea of dedicating myself to the performance of the nearly-forgotten great works of great composers, and while both trios are gorgeous, sheet music for the "Loviisa" is much easier to find than for "Korpo".
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David Revilla
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Violin Sonata in F major is wonderful!

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