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西贝流士 Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) 芬兰近代音乐作曲家西贝流士1865年12月8日生於汉宁利纳（Hameenlinna)，1957年9月20日逝於赫尔辛基附近的耶芬帕，享年92岁。
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Say the name "Sibelius," and the answer you'll most likely get is "Finlandia," the name of the Finnish composer's rousing anthem of nationalistic reawakening. And yet, this is the only composition that will spring to mind for even most lovers of classical music.
Long before Frank Sinatra crooned those famous lyrics, the iconoclastic Finnish composer Jean Sibelius spoke of "my way" when describing his musical output. Of the great composers of symphonic music, it is easy to peg their musical styles: Beethoven is classical; Bach is Baroque; Rachmaninoff is Romantic; Debussy is an impressionist, and so on. But to which "school" does Jean Sibelius belong? Romantic? Neo-Romantic? Nationalist? Impressionist?
Sibelius was all of these, yet truly he was none of them. One listens to the striking originality of the master's themes and his innovative use of tonal colour, and one hears only "Sibelius."
It was not always thus: Having studied in Berlin, he was early on enamoured with the operas of Richard Wagner. Often, he would sit, captivated by the sheer sense of power and drama of Wagner's operas. An early project of Sibelius' (which didn't come to final fruition) written under Wagner's influence was the grand opera The Building of the Boat. Sibelius' First Symphony is an early, mature effort, yet major portions bear the stamp of Tchaikovsky and Borodin. Many years later, Sibelius would vehemently deny these influences, invoking his "way" as sole inspiration.
Coming off the heels of the late Romantics, Sibelius struck in his own direction with his Second Symphony (1901-2). Writing in impulsive themes, based on small motifs of just a couple of bars, Sibelius took music in a direction that would represent a break with the arbitrary categories of music. To him, music should be pure music. His method was organic - that music should have structural integrity and an internal consistency based upon sound. Although early on, he composed programmatic pieces, such as The Swan of Tuonela and the Karelia Suite (both based on the Finnish legend, Kalevala), he started composing music for its own sake. Commenting on his style, Sibelius stressed that "My symphonies are music - conceived and elaborated as an expression of music, without any literary basis. A symphony should be music first and last." He would often return to the Finnish runic legends as a source of inspiration for his tone poems, such as Luonnotar, Pohjola's Daughter and his final major score, Tapiola.
Yet, despite success in his native Scandinavia, Great Britain and the United States, Sibelius' early works drew little notice from the centers of European music, such as Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Moscow and Milan. All these cities had long, established traditions in music, and chauvinism reigned supreme. Most critics didn't know what to make of this anachronism from remote Finland. More, still, regarded him as an second-rate talent and misinterpreted his thematic innovations as "incompetent" orchestration.
Although a radical innovator in the structure of the symphony and tone-poem, Sibelius held a deep respect for the classical composers. Sibelius was a lifelong champion of Mozart, and admired his brilliantly structured themes and the simplicity of his orchestrations. Yet, unlike the Austrian master, Sibelius' method of composing was strikingly different: Whereas Mozart would write music straight out of his head, as if he were giving dictation, Sibelius would first write out his themes and - often - sibelius.jpgorchestrate them by experimenting with a full orchestra, during rehearsals. The results were aurally astonishing: Like Wagner, Sibelius was communicating in the new language of polytonality. Unlike Wagner, Sibelius' polytonalism was subtler, less expressive, but more intuitive. A perfect example of this is his valedictory tone-poem, Tapiola, Op. 112, in which Sibelius repeats the mocking call of the piece's sole theme on high-pitched flutes and clarinets, underpinned by bassoons and the rumbling tremolo of the low strings. On its face, this combination is terribly incongruous, found usually in more satirical pieces, such as Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel. But only Sibelius would write such an orchestration to fill the listener with unease and loneliness.
Sibelius' greatest achievement was his Seventh Symphony, Op. 105, composed in 1924. Early on Sibelius broke tradition with the standard four-movement symphonic form. In his Second Symphony, he segued the vivacissimo third movement into a majestic, powerful finale (this was not in itself an innovation; Beethoven had done the same in his Fifth Symphony). Some of Sibelius' other symphonies - most notably the Fifth - run only three movements. By the time he came to his final masterpiece in the symphonic form, Sibelius realised that the breaks of silence between movements were artifices in need of eradication. To him, silence was only important if the absence of sound could be used integrally to the rest of the music, such as a rest, to punctuate a score or the suspense of a fermata right before unleashing a crashing sforzando.
The Seventh Symphony in C-Major in One Movement is much more than meets the ears, for here - according to Sibelius' musical language - is the logical end to which all symphonies aspire, but somehow fail to fully attain. Sibelius' final symphony is a one-movement symphony in name only; The piece is actually a five movement symphony whose themes and motifs are so seamlessly interwoven that it takes repeated listenings to fully grasp where one movement ends and the other picks up.
From beginning to end, the Seventh is roughly 22 minutes, but in that short span of time, Sibelius has communicated the whole range of tonal emotions, through the subtle use of thematic strands overlapping one another, ad infinitum. Musical scholars like to contrast this approach to those of more "bombastic" composers, such as Gustav Mahler, who in 1907, met Sibelius in Helsinki. Mahler tried to persuade the Finn that "the symphony must be like the world - it must be all embracing." Sibelius countered "that a symphony must be distinguished, rather, by its style and severity of form and by the profound logic that creates an inner connection between its various motifs." To hear this put into sound, you will find that the 7th Symphony is the purest distillation of this philosophy of composition. Now, the critics declared Sibelius a musical genius. Some went so far as to put him in the same pantheon with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
After Sibelius completed Tapiola, he wrote little at all, save for a few incidental songs for the piano during the final thirty-two years of his life. There were rumours of an "Eighth" Symphony; Conductors such as Sir Thomas Beecham, Eugene Ormandy and Herbert von Karajan all vied to give the world premiere. Yet, the symphony never materialised. Perhaps Sibelius was so intimidated by the overwhelming success of the Seventh Symphony that he was afraid that his future compositions wouldn't measure up. Or, perhaps he had just said all he had to say, musically speaking.
In Sibelius' music, one reaches the heights of ecstasy and descends to the depths of fear. Sibelius speaks in a tonal language that is the voice of Finland itself: Aloof, solitary, and cold. Paradoxically, it also speaks for the aspirations of the Finnish people - proudly, triumphantly, rebelliously. It is impossible to enter the bleak, yet fascinating, landscape of Sibelius' music and then leave.
-- Robert L. Jones, San Antonio, Texas, 5 February 1998 & 14 September 1999
Disc 1 1/2
Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39
01. Andante, ma non troppo--Allegro energico
02. Andante (ma non troppo lento)
03. Scherzo (Allegro)
04. Finale (Quasi una fantasia)
Boston Symphony Orchestra; Sir Colin Davis, conductor
Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
05. Allegro moderato
06. Adagio di molto
07. Allegro, ma non tanto
Viktoria Mullova, violin; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Disc 2 2/2
01. Finlandia, Op. 26
02. The Swan of Tuonela, Op. 22, No. 2
03. Tapiola, Op. 112
Berlin Philharmonic; Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Symphony No. 5 in E Flat, Op. 82
04. Tempo molto moderato--Largamente
05. Allegro moderato--Presto
06. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto
07. Allegro molto--Misterioso--Un pochettino largamente--Largamente assai
Berlin Philharmonic; Herbert von Karajan, conductor