Nordic Adventures with Sibelius, Nielsen, and Thorvaldsdottir

Carl Nielsen - Helios Overture

Danish composer Carl Nielsen was inspired to to write the Helios Overture in 1903 during a trip with his wife to Athens, Greece. “Helios” is the personification of the sun in Greek mythology, and the overture depicts the sun rising and setting over the Aegean Sea.

Nielsen set the tone by writing the following on the overture’s score:

"Silence and darkness,

The sun rises with a joyous song of praise,

It wanders its golden way

and sinks quietly into the sea.”

Anna Thorvaldsdottir - Hrím

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (Þorvaldsdóttir) is an Icelandic composer whose music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions. Most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award in 2015, and Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award and 2018 Martin E. Segal Award. In April 2018, Esa-Pekka Salonen lead the New York Philharmonic in the premiere of Anna’s work Metacosmos, which was commissioned by the orchestra. Anna is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Hrím was written as a commission for the University of California in San Diego New Music Ensemble to serve as a companion piece to György Ligeti's Chamber Concerto. The piece is inspired by the notion of dispersion, represented as release and echoing in the sense that single elements in the music are released and spread through the ensemble in various ways throughout the process of the piece. Hrím was awarded composition of the year 2010 at the Icelandic Music Awards 2011, selected for the International Rostrum of Composers in Lisbon in 2010, awarded the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, and selected for performance at International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Days 2012.

Jean Sibelius - Symphony No.5

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and is often credited with helping Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia. Sibelius was commissioned to write Symphony No. 5 by the Finnish government in honor of his 50th birthday, which had been declared a national holiday.

Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony was originally composed in 1915, but was revised twice - first in 1916, and then again in 1919. The original version was premiered on his 50th birthday, December 8, 1915, by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Sibelius conducting. The second version (only part of which has survived) premiered exactly one year later by the Orchestra of Turun Soitannollinen Seura.

Sibelius premiered the final version of the Symphony, which is the most commonly performed today, with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra on November 24, 1919. Sibelius commented on his revision: "I wished to give my symphony another – more human – form. More down-to-earth, more vivid." The success of this revision is reflected in the Fifth Symphony's popularity to the present day.

Saturday, December 15, 2018 8pm
All Saints Parish
1773 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445