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Spring Awakening

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Someone’s kinda gloomy in Scandinavia

Jean Sibelius loved nature, and the landscape of his native Finland often served as inspirational material for his music. Perhaps the calming atmosphere in springtime around his home had a big influence on his overall compositional style. Sibelius preferred to create smooth, lyrical music in comparison to the angular, highly tempestuous style of his lifetime musical rival, Gustav Mahler. Sibelius is particularly remembered for his vast output of tone poems for orchestra, including the Spring Song that you just listened to. A much less ambitious piece than some of his larger-scale tone poems like Finlandia or Luonnotar, Sibelius originally composed the Spring Song in 1894 under the title of Improvisation for Orchestra. The following year, he changed the orchestration of the work, changed the key, and gave it the subtitle “The Sadness of Spring.”

Music Heard On This Episode

Jean Sibelius: Spring Song, Op. 16
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; Neeme Järvi, conductor — Sibelius: Tone Poems (Deutsche Grammophon, 2005)
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