Notes & Reviews:
In the autumn of 1912 Jean Sibelius was commissioned to compose music for Poul Knudsen's surreal pantomime, Scaramouche, an experience that Sibelius soon regretted taking due to reservations about the production. Rarely performed today, Scaramouche is a curiosity within the Sibelius' discography. With the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lief Segerstam featuring soloists Bendik Goldstein (viola) and Roi Ruottinen (cello).Notes & Reviews:
Recording information: Turku Concert Hall, Turku, Finland (09/08/2014-09/12/2014).
Submitted on 02/05/16 by Allen Cohen
This series has helped me gain greater insight into Sibelius' masterpieces -- and introduced me to some terrific music besides.
This installment features Sibelius' score for "Scaramouche," a full-length pantomime completed in 1913. Sometimes large ballet scores can be enjoyed equally as a complete work and as excerpted movements. After all, you don't need to know much about what's gone on before in "The Nutcracker" to enjoy the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies. "Scaramouche" is different, though.
The story is one of supernatural seduction, moving towards its inevitable tragic outcome. The score starts in a light-hearted mood, with charming folk-like melodies. But as the story progresses, the mood changes -- but gradually. To my ears, Sibelius' score (at least in mood) resembled his En Saga. There's an undercurrent of things not being quite right that moves closer to the forefront as the work progresses.
To me, that gradual building of unease is what makes this score so compelling. To hear just the opening scene or even something from the last part loses that context, and blunts the emotional impact of the music.
My recommendation is to listen to this work straight through -- and do so more than once. Only then, I think, can the subtle drama of Sibelius' score become apparent.
As always, Lief Segerstam delivers a straightforward interpretation of the music. It gives me the impression that Segerstam is trying to keep out of the way and let the music speak for itself. And that music is well-served by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, which plays -- as they have throughout the series -- with commitment and expressiveness.
Submitted on 08/17/16 by RGraves321
Sibelius: Jedermann; Two Serious Melodies; In memorium / Pia Pajala, soprano; Tuomas Katajala, tenor; Nicholas Soderland, bass; Milaela Palmu, violin. Turku PO, Segerstam
Sibelius: 'Swanwhite' Complete incidental music etc. / Turku PO; Leif Segerstam
Sibelius: Belshazzar's Feast; Overture in E; Scène de Ballet; Wedding March; Cortège; Menuetto; Processional / Pia Pajala, soprano; Segerstam, Turku PO
Florent Schmitt (1870-1958): Antoine et Cleopatre - six episodes for orchestra in two suites; Le Palais hanté, Op. 49 / Buffalo PO, JoAnn Falletta
Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978): Symphony No. 2 "The Bello; Lermontov Suite / Russian PO, Dmitry Yablonsky
Carl Czerny (1791-1857): Grand Concerto in A minor; Grand Nocturne Brillant / Rosemary Tuck, piano; English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge
Francis Chagrin (1905-1972): Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 / BBC SO, Martyn Brabbins
Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev (1856-1915): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 4 - String Quartets Nos. 6 and 9 / Carpe Diem Quartet
Sibelius: Pelléas et Mélisande; Musik zu einer Szene; Two Waltzes (1921) / Turku PO, Leif Segerstam
Works DetailsSibelius, Jean : Scaramouche, incidental music for a tragic pantomime for piano & orchestra, Op. 71
- Performers: Roi Ruottinen (Cello); Bendik Goldstein (Viola)
- Conductor: Leif Segerstam
- Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
- Notes: Turku Concert Hall, Turku, Finland (09/08/2014-09/12/2014); Turku Concert Hall, Turku, Finland (09/12/2014)
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Written: 1913