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Donald Macleod presents the only existing recording of Sibelius conducting - the Funeral Music for organ, as well as two of the rarest works in his repertoire.

In today's episode, Donald Macleod introduces the only existing recording of Sibelius conducting - a colourful rendition of his own Andante Festivo on New Year's Day, 1939.

We'll also hear the extraordinary Funeral Music for organ, written after the death of one of his greatest friends, the painter Akseli Gallén-Kallela in 1931 - and usually considered his last work. Sibelius, by now wracked by writer's block over the Eighth Symphony, tried his hardest to wriggle out of his commitment to mark his friend's passing in music. But, unable to escape, he produced a bizarre, otherworldly soundworld.like nothing he'd ever written before.

So then: his last original work? Not quite. Donald explores the extraordinary story of Sibelius' music for the Freemasons.and we'll hear two brief pieces, apparently written in a single, fevered night in 1946 - the first new pieces for some 15 years, and the last Sibelius was to ever let see light of day.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Jean Sibelius

    Andante Festivo for strings and timpani (ad lib) (1922 / arr. 1938)

    Performers: Jean Sibelius (conductor), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

    • FINLANDIA FACD003.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Suruisotto ("Funeral Music") for organ, Op.111 no.2 (1931)

    Performer: Matti Vainio (organ)

  • Jean Sibelius

    Lemminkainen in Tuonela (1895, withheld till 1935)

    Performers: Philadelphia Orchestra / Eugene Ormandy

    • EMI CD5651762.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Karjalan Osa ("Karelia's Fate") for male voice(s) and piano (1930)

    Performers: Hannu Jurmu (tenor), Jouni Somero (piano)

    • World Premiere Recording.
    • NAXOS 8570020.
  • Jean Sibelius

    The Rapids-Rider's Bride (arr. for male voice choir and orchestra) (1897 / arr. 1945)

    Performers: YL Male Voice Choir, Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä

    • BISCD190608.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Masonic Funeral Music, Op.113 [excerpts] (1927, rev and extended 1948)

    Performers: Kalevi Kiviniemi (organ)

    • World Premiere Recording.
    • FUGA-9182.

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