Our program introduces three different manifestations of the 20th century expressionism. Jean Sibelius, Alban Berg and Alexander Scriabin combine personal and subjective to the spirit of their time in a most fascinating way. The musical journey brings us from misery and death to ecstasy, light and triumph. It’s like presenting Edvard Munch, Gustav Klimt and Marc Chagall in a same exhibition.
Sibelius’ fascinating symphony No. 4 explores the boundaries of tonality and reveals the dark thoughts of a great creative mind. I’m charmed by his unique and inimitable musical language. He built something entirely new and revolutionary based on the European symphonic tradition. His development of motives and themes are related to that of Beethoven’s although the result is very different. There’s also always an underlying presence of Finnish folk music which inspired him so much in the beginning of his career.
I don’t think there’s ever been a Finnish tradition of conducting Sibelius, although I have to admit that the Finns have a certain affection to his endless amount of details.
I would say that "Poème de l’extase" is the most tonal, the most harmonically traditional of the three works presented in this program. This fact is hidden behind his opulent, expressionistic and imaginative orchestration.
I recommend to concentrate on the moods so cleverly created by the composer. The piece is based on a very limited number of themes and motives and they become familiar quite fast. Following those might be interesting. The piece will be a tremendous journey towards light if the listener just gives it a chance.