Illustration: Jenny Svenberg Bunnel
Sakari Oramo takes us on a journey through Jean Sibelius’ output. The festival concerts from May 2021 are still possible to view on Konserthuset Play.
Grande Finale pays tribute to Jean Sibelius and Sakari Oramo, who is bidding farewell after 13 years and 284 concerts as Chief Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The four festival concerts are still available to watch on Konserthuset Play.
Sakari Oramo on the festival programme
“It’s a Sibelius cycle. It is also orderly: the symphonies in chronological order. And Lisa Batiashvili performs the violin concerto. I have known her since she took part in the Sibelius Competition in 1995, when she played the concerto for the first time with an orchestra. I was the conductor, and it was also right at the beginning of my conducting career.
This will be an immersive journey through Sibelius’ creative process. The chronology is mostly repeated in his other works as well: Luonnotar (Nature’s Daughter) comes between the third and fourth symphonies, where the music was composed. Two pieces for cello and orchestra (Op. 77) lies between the sixth and seventh symphonies. Only the violin concerto is placed a little differently, it should be between the second and third symphonies, but it’s played with the fifth, because the programme as a whole is better that way.
This is a great journey through Sibelius’ active symphonic output. In his case specifically, I believe the order matters. He worked on several symphonies simultaneously, and there are always elements in one symphony that can be detected in the symphony preceding it. The tritone interval that starts the fourth was already in the third. Then in the fourth you hear this ‘space’-like string tremolo, which comes through in a big way in the fifth. And so on. It’s a chain.”