Sibelius is so under rated I think he is a master of the first order. Do anyone else agree.
Yes I do (as most members here, I trust). He is not "so underrated", but he is, in some works of his vast opus, uneven.
I don't think Sibelius is under-rated by those who know him. In my view, he is one of the greats of the early 20th century.
As far as uneven-ness is concerned, which composer hasn't produced a few works below their highest standard?
Agreed. The view that Sibelius, more than most composers, filled his time between masterpieces writing potboilers, has been around since I was a lad. I'm still waiting for hard evidence.
I wonder if it arose from the success of Valse Triste, his signature card for the generation before mine? Even my mum, who knew nothing of Sibelius, knew this piece. Personally I think Valse Triste, if not exactly the 4th symphony, is a lovely miniature. Of course there's top-notch Sibelius and lots of lighter music but hardly a total dud and certainly no more in the second tier than most composers.
It's a pity that Sibelius didn't explore more the opera field: he loves the drama. I guess we would have great works, much better than his only (finished) opera The Maiden in the Tower.
Phlogiston, we don't speak about "few works below their highest standards". I have the Sibelius Edition of BIS, consisting of 69 CDs (in 13 Volumes). I can hardly listen with great intrest and excitement to half or even one third of them.
With the exception of the Vol. 1 (Tone Poems-5 CDs), the Vol. 8 (Orchestral Works-6 CDs) and the Vol.13 (Symphonies-5CDs), which still contain uneven works (even his Symphonies are somehow uneven), check the rest and let me know how many works you may recall as of Sibelius "highest standards":
Vol.2 & 9 (Chamber Music-11 CDs) : Except for his marvelous "Voces Intimae" and the much less important Piano Quintet, what is left to mention?
Vol.3 (Complete Music for Voice and Orchestra-6 CDs): Apart from "Kullervo", what's next? "The Maiden in the Tower"?
Vol.4 & 10 (Piano Music-10 CDs): I wonder if you may mention any substantive memorable work here. Plenty of transcriptions though.
Vol.5 (Orchestral Music for the Theatre-6 CDs): Maybe "Pelleas et Melisande" and "The Tempest". Anything else?
Vol.6 (Violin & Piano-5 CDs): Anything to mention (at the high standards of the composer)?
Vol.7 (Songs-5 CDs): There are quite a few beautiful songs, but I doubt one can really find all of them as gems.
Vol.11 (Choral Music-6 CDs): It contains the complete works for male, mixed, female and children's choir a cappella and with piano/organ accompaniment. Anything memorable?
Vol.13 (Miscellaneous works-4 CDs): Masonic Ritual Music - The complete works for solo organ and fragments/miniatures/various etc. Anything special here?
As for "Valse Triste", compared to the above volume of dubious works, it is a miniature masterpiece.
So, I leave it to you to judge whether Sibelius is or is not a good case of an uneven composer. Of course, one can claim that his masterworks can redeem anything else he wrote. I can agree with that, but, still, if he has to be considered for his opus, one cannot ignore a vast output of minor, indifferent works.
There is a claim that Karajan felt that the most "tragic" endings in music belong to that of Mahler 6 and Sibelius 4. May be a rephrase of Osborne's comments:
K would frequently list those works which left him emotionally drained for days to come: Elektra, Sibelius 4, Mahler 6, 3 Pieces of Berg, and Honegger 3. (p. 277)
Few pieces of music meant more to K than Sibelius 4. He used to cite it - along with Strauss's Elektra, Mahler 6, and Berg's 3 Pieces - as one of those works that left him emotionally exhausted for days afterwards. Other music he could - and indeed did - immediately clear from his mind with a scorchingly hot bath, a vodka, and a light supper with a chosen colleague: but not the 4th Sibelius. (p. 386)
Sounds just about the equivalent of Mozart and Beethoven - 200 for Wolfgang, 100 for Ludwig that you don't care to hear more than once.
"Just about the equivalent of Mozart and Beethoven", Tagalie? I (and definitely not only) can listen, as many times as possible with full excitement and interest, the 90-95% of the Piano, Chamber, Orchestral and Choral Music of these two Great Classics. As for the rest, still there is great interest in listening even the Woo of Beethoven and the miniatures of Mozart.
Based on the analysis of each volume of the entire opus of Sibelius (mentioned in my post #5 of June 6), can you detect some difference?
Sorry, Parla, can't make head or tail of what you're trying to say, as usual.
Surely it all depends on why you want to listen to music and what you want to get out of it? Fair enough if you want the "highlights" (i.e. Sibelius 2, Tachaikovsky 4,5,6; Mozart 39.,40,41 etc) but if you really want to understand a composer you need to go deeper and hear as much as possible of his/her output.
This can certainly be a bit of a strain sometimes (even with Beethoven, Mozart & Sibelius) but well worthwhile and rewarding.
chacun à son goût!!
Happy listening, whatever your choice
O.K., Tagalie, if you cannot get it, let' try once more:
In the cases of Mozart and Beethoven, their Piano Music, Chamber Music, Orchestral and Vocal/Choral Works are from superb to quite notable and memorable. Besides, quite a few of their unpublished words (in Beethoven's case the Werke ohne opus (Woo) are wonderful, memorable and often performed: Variations for Piano, Cello and Piano etc.) or minatures, lighter or less well-known works by Mozart, like the Adagio in b minor (for Piano) or the Adagio and Fugue in c minor, are masterful works, always great to perform or listen to.
In the case of Sibelius, the whole Piano music, Chamber works (with the bright exception of the "Voces Intimae" and, to a lesser degree, the Piano Quintet), some orchestral works, a good number of the songs, and a great deal of the choral works do not have the same qualities, appeal and reputation as his Symphonies, most of his Tone Poems and his Violin Concerto. Consequently, they are not performed but on special occasions or simply rarely.
By the way, I wonder, when you say 100 works of Beethoven are of less interest to listen to, you mean 100 opus works out of the 137 of the total output of the composer.
.....great interest in listening even the Woo of Beethoven....
Woo of Beethoven?
Woo, conventional way of indicating:
"Work Without Opus"
Some, though not all, of it is top-notch and there are various reasons why they never got the final blessing........The famous (and somewhat irritating) Fur Elise doesn't haven't one, for instance.
I think the standard designation is "WoO" to differentiate from the "woo" of "Woo hoo!"
I already mentioned that WoO is the abbreviation in German of the Werke ohne Opus, (in English Works without opus number, as Jane indicated). Some of the most important ones are the two sets of Variations for Piano and Cello, WoO 45 (on a theme from Hanendel's Oratorio "Judas Maccabeus" and 46 (on the "Ein Madchen oder Weibchen" from Mozart's Zauberflote"), equally important and beautiful with the third set, which has the op.66 (on the "Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen" from Mozart's Zauberflote).
Fur Elise (irritating for some !) is also another well-known case of a WoO by Beethoven, as very correctly Jane mentioned.
Is it clear now JKH?