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5. Sibelius: 2nd Symphony

 

[…] some Sibelius on the radio and
in the apartment house on the corner
a woman screams as a man beats her.
there’s nothing on tv. 
it’s moments like this that the madhouses are better understood.
[…]
the woman screams again as the man beats her. 
he calls her a whore.
what is he doing
living with a whore?”

Excerpt from Sibelius And Etc. by Charles Bukowski

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish national hero who survived cancer at an early age. At age 4o he received an annual grant from the Finnish government, so he could focus on composing.

Sibelius did what any sane man would do. He became a recluse and started drinking like a madman. He died age 92 while walking in a forrest, which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that excessive drinking is less dangerous than a stroll in the woods. Pastoral my arse.

Throughout his career Sibelius wrote eight symphonies, but he threw his last one in the fire. His 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th are all amazing, but this 2nd Symphony is widely considered his best one.

Recommended recording:
Leonard Bernstein & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

With Sibelius it’s always hard to choose between Sir Alexander Gibson, Sir Colin Davis and Leonard “blowtorch” Bernstein. A highly sophisticated ranking system that involves a coin decided we’ll go with Lenny.

▶︎ PLAY IN SPOTIFY

 

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