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Jean Sibelius – Scaramouche, Op. 71 – Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Jean Sibelius – Scaramouche, Op. 71 – Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:11:00 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: | Digital booklet | © Naxos Rights US
Recorded: Turku Concert Hall, Turku, Finland, from 8th to 12th September, 2014

The eloquent power of Jean Sibelius’s symphonies and other core orchestral works has overshadowed his prolific output in other genres, including significant scores for the theatre. The commission to compose music for the tragic pantomime Scaramouche caused Sibelius much stress and frustration, but on its première the composer was able to note “great success in Copenhagen” in his diary. With the exception of his one opera, Scaramouche is Sibelius’s only continuous dramatic score, the story of the sinister hunchbacked dwarf’s bewitching musicianship and evil intent taking us from innocent charm to a nightmarish conclusion.

The beautifully played Sibelius recordings by conductor Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra have often been revelatory, not least in the much-neglected area of the composer’s theater music. Segerstam found much of interest in the composer’s incidental music, the forerunner of the soundtracks Sibelius might well have written if he had lived in our time. But Scaramouche, Op. 71, composed in 1913, is something else again: it is music for a pantomime, a genre not much in evidence for today (although it certainly has affinities with the music video). The action of the mostly wordless play (there were a few spoken passages, excised in this performance) was continuous, and so, thus, was Sibelius’ music. It is thus a genuine piece of dramatic music, of which there is very little in the Sibelius catalog, and for the most part it has more to do with the developmental thinking of the symphonies than it does with the incidental music scores. Consider the clear adumbrations of the Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105, not written until some years later (sample the little “Andantino” theme from Act II, Scene 3, track 13). The music is closely tied to the action of the pantomime, which is summarized in the booklet notes, but it can also stand on its own. Highly recommended to those who have been collecting Segerstam’s whole series, for it shows a face of Sibelius that the other entries have not shown. Scaramouche has rarely, if ever, been recorded in its complete form, and it’s something of a lost masterwork. –AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Scaramouche, Op. 71

Act I
1. Scene 1: Lento assai 00:57
2. Scene 2: [Lento assai] 02:10
3. Scene 3: [Lento assai] – Andante con moto 03:34
4. Scene 4: Tempo di bolero 02:52
5. Scene 5: Lento – Tempo di bolero – Lento assai 07:44
6. Scene 6: Tempo di valse 03:11
7. Scene 7: Poco moderato 00:49
8. Scene 8: [Poco moderato] 02:20
9. Scene 9: Tempo di valse 00:41
10. Scene 10: Adagio – Allegro – Adagio … 06:43

Act II
11. Scene 1: Meno tranquillo 00:23
12. Scene 2: Allegretto 00:28
13. Scene 3: Andantino 01:27
14. Scene 4: Allegretto 00:25
15. Scene 5: [Allegretto] – Andantino 03:26
16. Scene 6: Tranquillo assai 02:31
17. Scene 7: [Andantino] – Meno tranquillo – Lento – Moderato… 07:47
18. Scene 8: Allegretto – Allegro 03:30
19. Scene 9: [Allegro] 04:00
20. Scene 10: Andante – Lento assai – Andantino … 15:32
21. Scene 11: [Grave assai] 00:30

Bendik Goldstein, viola
Roi Ruottinen, cello
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam, conductor


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