Sibelius - Night Ride and Sunrise, Op 55 - (1/2) - New Zealand Symphony Orchestra





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Published on Aug 7, 2009

***This is the COMPLETE composition, not an excerpt***

Pietari Inkinen, a lesser known but up and coming (he's only 29 years old after all) Finnish conductor, leads the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in one of Sibelius' lesser performed but most glorious tone poems, "Nightride and Sunrise", Op. 55, which was completed in 1908.

This piece, if ever one of Sibelius' pieces (other than the ubiquitous but always marvelous 'Finlandia') better painted a portrait of his native Finland, is an excercise in Finnish minimalism (perhaps I am biased in this assertion, but being a Debussy fanatic before only Sibelius, I can't help but wonder if the meeting of these 2 great minds may have produced the minimalism in this monstrously magical piece).
The piece, per Sibelius, was intended to express the subjective, spiritual view of nature by, as he put it, "an ordinary man". He wrote the symphonic poem for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns (only 4 horns is hard to believe at times when I listen), 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, triangle and strings.

The piece, misleading as the title may be, is more of a 3 movement work; 'Nightride' is seemngly split in to 2 seperate miniatures, opening with a "gallop", then settling to a more sedate "canter". At the 9:00 minute mark "Sunrise" is announced with soft woodwinds and building horns. I have split this piece at the 9:00 minute mark for this reason. Please see the 2nd half of the piece as Sibelius "painting" of a sunrise is just as glorious as was Ravel's "Lever du jour".

I have included pictures of Jean Sibelius at different stages in his life as well as some paintings of night riding and some scenes from the night skies of Finland.



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