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Scènes historiques: Scena

 
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Andrew B
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:11 am    Post subject: Scènes historiques: Scena Reply with quote

Let's have a go at splitting some hairs...

Browsing through the Breitkopf score for the Scena (No.2 of Scènes historiques I, Op.25) I am struck by a rather strange tempo marking.

The piece starts out at Tempo di menuetto (fine), then changes to Allegro moderato for the first set of fanfares (interspersed with various stretto/a tempo markings - also fine) but what comes next confuses me. Once the mysterious sul ponticello passage starts (letter C) the tempo is Allegro, poco a poco più, which ought to mean a gradual accelerando. That works throughout this passage, but Sibelius doesn't alter the marking for the concluding march section (Letter H). If we are to follow the letter of the score, therefore, the march should continue to speed up all the way to the final bars. Just before the march he changes from 4/4 to 2/2 which would suggest that the pulse at the beginning of the march ought to be roughly the same as the pulse at the beginning of the sul ponticello passage, but in doubled note values. I don't ever recall hearing a performance that speeds up during the march section (and musically I would find it hard to justify).

The 'original version' (i.e. the fourth tableau of the Press Celebrations Music) also starts at Tempo di menuetto, goes to Allegro moderato for the fanfares, which is maintained (a tempo) for the start of the equivalent of the sul ponticello passage, later speeding up (poco a poco più allegro), reaching a steady new tempo, Allegro molto, 8 bars before the march begins.

Might Sibelius simply have forgotten to mark the point at which the tempo stabilizes? Or is it an error in the published score? (It isn't yet a JSW critical edition, but Breitkopf's scores are pretty reliable on the whole.)

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Kurkikohtaus
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Joined: 01 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I confess my ignorance here... but with a funny little story.

In the mid-90's, the Toronto Symphony was preparing to play Scenes Historiques, so I photocopied a score from the University library with the intent of going to watch the rehearsals. I ended up not going and never actually got around to studying the score either.

The photocopied score ended up among a pile of piano music that I didn't take with me upon moving to Europe. My parents later donated the music to a local orchesta, and my "Scenes Historiques" was history. Hopefully I'll get around to it someday.

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kullervopete
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Joined: 08 Jun 2007
Posts: 1909
Location: Bury Lancs UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just played Barbirolli's recording of excerpts from Scenes historiques with the Halle coupled with Pohjola's Daughter and Nielsen's fourth. I was trying to follow Andrew B's interesting disection of the 'Scena' opus 25.
I'm afraid that I got completly caught up with this superb score, after some of Sibs most radical sounds, the march with drums and superb brass is still ringing in my ears. Maybe their is an anomaly in the score as Andrew outlined, but the music sounded pretty darned good to me!--kp Laughing

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