Whatever happened to good old C major, anyway?

In the comments for my previous blog post on the Real Top 20 C Major Symphonies of All Time“, I assembled a list of the greatest “C minor symphonies that end in C major.” The first four pieces I thought of were   Beethoven 5 Brahms 1 Bruckner 8 and Shostakovich 8 When I saw […]

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Guest Blog- Foster Beyers on the 5 Essential Sibelius 7 recordings

Conductor Foster Beyers is the newly appointed Director of Orchestras at Concodia College in Minnesota. He is currently completing his Doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota, where his dissertation is on the recorded history of Sibelius’ Symphony no. 7. He’s also along time Vftp reader and frequent, and valued, commenter. With Sibelius 7 very […]

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Did Brahms Kill Sibelius? (Brahms 1 meets Sibelius 7)

    Many knowledgeable musicians consider Schoenberg to be the musical successor of Brahms. Schoenberg himself thought so too. (You’ve got to hand it to Schoenberg- he managed to position himself pretty convincingly as the heir to both Brahms and Mahler, grabbing a chunk of Wagner’s legacy for good measure). Of course the comparison is […]

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2008 KW Repertoire Report- Discussion

You can view the 2008 KW Repertoire report here, which lists every piece of music  I’ve performed in the 2008 calendar year. I thought I would take advantage of the painstaking efforts of my research assistant, former Lehman Brothers Executive VP Flurp Van Doogle and make some comparisons between this year and 2007, as well […]

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Bloch’s original language

This week, having Sibelius 2 and Schelomo on my desk at the same time has been a fascinating contrast. Although his music sounds like no one else’s, Sibelius’ technique is a logical outgrowth of the method of working with motivic cells perfected by Beethoven and Brahms. It takes to an extreme the ideal of everything […]

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Ormandy on Sibelius

Eugene Ormandy talks about Sibelius Meeting Sibelius for the first time, I had the impression of being in the presence of someone almost superhuman.  Here was a being I had admired and looked up to all my life — and suddenly I was in his presence.  He was a towering man, a towering personality, with […]

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Sibelius 3- Taking it apart

When we think of rehearsals, we tend to think in terms of two main goals- improving our technical standards, and developing our shared vision of the music. There’s another less obvious process that can take place in  rehearsals, which, when it happens, can be more illuminating and helpful than either of the others. Rehearsals can […]

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Sibelius Symphony no. 5- first movement

It is well known that Sibelius’ approach to symphonic composition was intensely organic- in his mature music everything in a given piece grows from the same little bit of musical DNA. Perhaps only Brahms is equally rigorous in his constant development of motivic cells. However, where Brahms’ motivic development is always carefully ensconced in classical […]

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Sibelius and Mahler

Being a one himself, Mahler knew better than to trust conductors to know his intentions. Sibelius, on the other hand, famously said that if a performer needed to ask too many questions, they probably shouldn’t play his music. Think for a moment of Mahler’s “versions” or “orchestrations” of the Beethoven and Schumann symphonies. Mahler did […]

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