Sibelius: Theatre Music - Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
Linn Records CKD 220
Classical - Orchestral
Sibelius: Pelleas and Melisande, Kuolema Valse Triste, Belshazzars Feast, The Tempest Suite No. 2, Andante Festivo
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Joseph Swensen (conductor)
The foundations of Sibeliuss reputation are his symphonies, tone poems and increasingly his songs but the music he wrote for the stage throughout his creative life includes some of his finest scores.
This CD presents his theatre music from 2 distinct periods – the 1900s (contemporary with his Violin Concerto, and the Second and Third Symphonies) and the 1920s, including some of the last works of his to survive.
At the time when Sibelius was emerging as a major creative figure, drama was pivotal to the development of cultural and social attitudes in Scandinavia. One need only mention 3 of his contemporaries: Ibsen, Strindberg and Bjornson. Sibelius was attracted to theatre as early as 1893, when he started work on an opera, The Building of the Boat. It was a visit to Bayreuth that caused him to abandon work on this, but the prelude survived as one of his most perfect pieces: The Swan of Tuonela. Its striking economy of expression and intensity are characteristics shared by much of his incidental music for the stage. In his stage music, Sibelius tends not so much to accompany dramatic action but to set scenes, create atmosphere or provide a prelude or intermezzo to the action for what were predominantly exotic or mystical dramas.