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< Pinot with your Pergolesi? Or...spliff? | Main | Playing with Yo-Yo, and Cleveland memories >



Swans, crossing over

Posted at 6:10 PM on December 9, 2008 by Fred Child (1 Comments)

On Wednesday's show, we have a brilliant performance of the Symphony No. 5 by Jean Sibelius. (Semyon Bychkov conducting the West German Radio Symphony in concert in Cologne.) In the last movement, the horns play a drop-dead gorgeous theme, inspired by 16 swans that circled over Sibelius on an April day in 1915, on their way north. That moment is at 1:25 on this video.

(Doesn't Salonen look like a teenager on the podium?)

Check out that moment at 1:25, and then try...this.



Yeah, they syncopate the rhythm. (And change one note...so much tastier with that slight dissonance Sibelius wrote!) But still, nice to hear Sibelius anytime, anywhere.

Like...on the myspace page of the UK band Play People.

The song "oh what a life" starts with what sounds like a student orchestra playing that same Swan Song from Sibelius 5, which then melts into electo-pop. (And dangit, Play People...you change that same note on the sub-dominant, that great Sibelius dissonance.)

One more? How about this classic from 1974, at 3:06.


Comments ( 1 )


I live in northern New York State, about 70 miles south of Montreal. I have a subscription to the "OSM". One evening, they played Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius. After the concert, I drove back, weary eyed and crossed the border where an equally weary-eyed Border Patrol Officer asked me where I had been. I told him that I had seen Nagano conduct Sibileus with the OSM. He immediately became animated. "Was it the 5th?" he asked. When I told him that it was indeed the 5th, he told me of his love for the "Swan Theme" from the last movement. The Border Patrol Officer and I chatted for some 20 mins. about Sibelius, the OSM, Nagano, etc. The line behind my car must have thought I was a terrorist with all the time the Officer was talking to me...

Fred, you do a wonderful job. Sounds like you had a cold...

Best Regards,

Joe Nichols

Posted by Joe Nichols | December 10, 2008 2:41 PM

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