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david johnson
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:07 am    Post subject: documentary Reply with quote

i copied this from another site. forgive if this product is old news to you all. it's new to me.

dj
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This is my review at Amazon.com at
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A Riveting Two-Part Documentary about Sibelius and His Music

Christopher Nupen is one of the most creative and talented of the video documentarians of the classical music world. It all began many years ago when he made the wonderful film about du Pré, Barenboim, Perlman, Zukerman and Mehta -- the so-called 'Israeli Mafia.' That film has never gone out of style and was brought out on DVD a few years ago, made available for a new generation of viewers. This film, also originally on VHS, was made in the 1980s and is just now coming out on DVD. The transfer, I must say, is simply magnificent; I certainly would not have known it was originally on VHS if I hadn't seen it in its original form. The visuals are crisp, the sound excellent.

The subject is the life and, more important, the music of Jean Sibelius and the two sections are 'The Early Years' and 'Maturity and Silence.' Nupen, who wrote, directed and narrates the film, takes us through the important biographical details of the composer's life, including his struggle in his thirties with alcoholism on which he conquered only after he had a growth removed from his throat and was told that drinking and smoking would aggravate it and possibly hasten its return, and of the thirty year silence during which he strove to complete an Eighth Symphony but which he finally consigned to flames.

The visuals comprise many gorgeous views of the fields, forests and lakes of Sibelius's Finland, as well as a fascinating black-and-white silent film of the elderly Sibelius. There are also many views of photographs and paintings of the composer and his wife, as well as visits to Ainola, the country home where he and wife Aino lived for over fifty years.

There are some marvelously played and photographed excerpts from all but one of his symphonies -- the Sixth, for whatever reason, is mentioned but none of its music played -- all done by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Vladimir Ashkenazy, a real Sibelian, conducting. There is also excerpts from Finlandia, Kullervo, the Karelia Suite and Tapiola by the same artists as well as a sizable excerpt from the Violin Concerto with Boris Belkin, violin. There are a couple of songs (in Swedish, as most of Sibelius's songs were) sung by Elisabeth Söderström. The first, with orchestral accompaniment, is 'Since then I have questioned no further', and the second, with Ashkenazy playing the piano accompaniment, the intensely dramatic 'Jubal.'

There is a clip of Sibelius's first composition, 'Water Drops', for two violins, written at age 11. The film begins and ends with an excerpt from a recording, made in 1939, of Sibelius conducting his 'Andante festivo.'

This is a brilliant and riveting account, aided by Nupen's beautifully written narration, of the artistic life of one of the twentieth century's great composers and one hopes that it will again be seen widely, as it was originally when shown on television.

Although Amazon doesn't indicate it, this DVD is in a format that can be played worldwide. Sound is LPCM Stereo, narration is in English, subtitles are in German, Spanish, French and Italian. Total time (which includes a couple of clips about other Nupen films) is 151 minutes; the Sibelius films run just over 100 mins.

Strongly recommended.

Scott Morrison
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Nupen film is a noble effort and you won't need me to point out that there are very few such films about Sibelius.

By all means get it and enjoy it, but beware of a few points:

* It was made in the mid-1980s and therefore the scholarship is at least twenty years out of date now. The principal sources are Robert Layton's book and the first two Tawaststjerna volumes (in Layton's English translation; the third hadn't appeared when the film was made). These are excellent sources but the film relies very heavily upon them, often quoting not only facts but also opinions more or less verbatim.

* In his quest for objectivity and his desire to emphasize Sibelius’s stature as a composer of symphonies Christopher Nupen has been forced to omit some areas of Sibelius’s output and to gloss over certain periods of the composer’s life. When this film was made, most of the early chamber music was either unavailable or completely unknown, so that is a forgivable omission. One might, however, have expected something about the theatre music.

* Although it is by no means bad, the playing of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is not ideally secure: one of the last chords of the Fifth Symphony is so obviously not together that even Ashkenazy permit himself a momentary chuckle. There is also a technical issue: many of the musical extracts suffer from intrusive wow (slow pitch fluctuation, noticeable especially in long notes). Sometimes this is bad enough to make some of the playing sound quite out of tune.

* The Andante festivo extract forms a framework for the whole film. How unfortunate, then, that the recording in question is the one that has been shown not to have been conducted by Sibelius at all! (As I think we have discussed in another thread, it was a rehearsal tape; the genuine Sibelius performance was first released on CD a decade after this film was first released).

But I don't want to be too negative - even if Christopher Nupen’s film is no longer at the cutting edge of Sibelius scholarship, it is nevertheless a distinguished and respectful attempt to acknowledge his unique gifts.

I suppose everybody knows about Timo Koivusalo's film drama 'Sibelius' from 2003, starring Martti Suosalo (mostly in Finnish with English subtitles - available on DVD)? A very subjective production that has divided critical opinion, but every Sibelian should see it. For more info, try this link:
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A few years ago there was a short series of documentaries on Finnish TV - one each on Finlandia, the Seventh Symphony and Pohjola's Daughter, with music extracts played by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra under Tuomas Ollila. I've only seen the one on Finlandia but would be keen to find out more about them all. Maybe Harri M has more information?

And do try the video clips available at

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- some classic stuff there!

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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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MARTTI SUOSALO and MIINA TURUNEN as Jean and Aino, HEIKKI NOUSIAINEN as Old Sibelius.


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The Official Poster - notice who is credited for the music at the bottom of the poster - Rolling Eyes

And finally, click

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for the Sibelius-as-Conductor-Andante-Festivo thread that Andrew B mentions.

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Harri M
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe these programs can be found from finnish tv, yle.fi. That was the case when I got my first idea to`S-motif´.
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ashkenazy bits in the movie are just excerpts. But he has actual CDs he did with Stockholm.

But the CD is Symphonies 4 & 5
Sibelius (Artist), Royal Stockholm Po (Artist), Ashkenazy (Artist) | Format: Audio CD

Runs some 20 dollars.

The Finnish movie is a drinking movie. All famous Finns are alcoholics except Halonen and Koivisto.
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree. Esa -Pekka Salonen. Jukka -pekka Saraste. Pekka Kuusisto. Mannerheim. Hannu Lintu. Lasse Viren.etc
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you go destroying my myth. It does not impress so much when half the famous Finns are alcoholics.

My son is in Tampere to the end of the month, by the way. I think he didn't even go see rock bands this time. He is getting me Suomi Pop 1 and 2 by Karelia when he comes back. Record store X had to special order, it's a new release on CD
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He took an advanced Finnish class, with all kinds of agenttipartisiippi and other verb constructions. We are excited if he passed the exam, he can use the language credit in college. His college does not actually have any Scandinavian department. Mine did, Madison, WI. It has a Finnish-Sami professor.
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But the other half are sober:)

Have your son been in our concerts? Tomorrow


Pe 14.12. klo 19 Tampere-talo



Hannu Lintu, kapellimestari
Martin Fröst, klarinetti
Tšaikovski: Francesca da Rimini
Bent Sørensen: Klarinettikonsertto (Tampere Filharmonian tilausteos, Suomen ensiesitys)
Prokofjev: Sinfonia nro 5

Kriitikoiden superlatiivivarastot ovat huvenneet nopeaa vauhtia, kun he ovat kuvailleet ruotsalaisen klarinetistin Martin Fröstin musisointia. Tampereella hän soittaa Suomen ensiesityksenä tanskalaisen Bent Sørensenin klarinettikonserton, jonka tilaajiin Tampere Filharmonia kuuluu; kantaesityksen Fröst soittaa aiemmin Amsterdamissa Alankomaiden radion filharmonisen orkesterin solistina. Sørensenin uutuutta kehystää kaksi venäläistä suosikkiteosta: Tšaikovskin kuohuvan dramaattinen sinfoninen fantasia Francesca da Rimini, joka perustuu Danten Jumalaisen näytelmän aiheeseen, sekä Prokofjevin melodisesti yltäkylläinen ja uhkean tunnevoimainen viides sinfonia.
- Liput alk. 22/16/10 € •, yksittäislippujen myynti alkaa 15.8.
- Konsertti päättyy noin klo 21.15
- Ennen konserttia klo 18 Hannu Lintu ja Jouni Kaipainen esittelevät Sørensenin konserton lämpiöravintola Duurissa (3. krs), vapaa pääsy.
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go! I think my son is off to Tallinn with a friend (friend-girl..not girl friend) till Monday. The friend has some friends they can stay with for free.

But thanks.
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe another time... tickets are not expensive.
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the two Tampere recordings of SIbelius, last one I found in Stockmann, Turku a year ago. I was at a funeral.
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there seemed to be no stores other than Stockmann that carried classical.
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Stockman has no music department any more.
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really_? In Helsinki it is in the basement, other cities it is usually dtached from main store. Electronics and CDs are there. I bought a Finnish keyboard in Tampere 2010 Dec and the CDs were right there.
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it was a Aamulehti new recently.
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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The third floor of the store has musiikki pelit ym listed
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but as it is inside the regular store, the classical selection may be one small section. You can get the Nutcracker and such for Christmas.
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