Saturday, November 19, 2016

Jean Sibelius: The "Karelia Suite" could suddenly have international political importance now (with Trump president)

I dug out a single piece, the “Karelia Suite” by Jan Sibelius, an early work.  Here’ s performance by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Karelia is an area spanning eastern Finland and a little piece in adjoining Russia, near Lake Lagoda. Some of it was ceded to Russia (then the Soviet Union) at the end of WWI.  The area is the setting of the Russian film “The Return” (Movies, Dec. 28, 2011).  An important incident in my novel Manuscript “Angel’s Brother” occurs in an early chapter, involving bringing an item related to Russian nuclear waste back across the border into Finland, and an attempt by Russians to follow, which could cause a grave incident were it to ever happen.

The 17-minute suite has 3 movements:  a brief Intermezzo in E-flat, a slow Ballade in A Minor (a tritone away) and a March in A.

I got to know this piece when I was a senior in high school.  I also got to know the first two symphonies.  I remember the big tune at the end of the Symphony #1 in E Minor, which is in the dominant B Major, as the work reverts back to E Minor for a tragic ending – playing through my head as we climbed Rattlesnake Peak near Bear Camp Pond in New Hampshire Memorial Day weekend on a Science Honor Society trip.  I also recall the brooding D Minor slow movement of the Symphony #2 during the snowy winter of my senior year of High School, when I was initiated into the Science Honor Society in my own basement.

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