Paavo Berglund conducts Sibelius's Symphony No. 7 — With the Chamber Orchestra of Europe
The legendary 1998 cycle of Sibelius's symphonies
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After six compelling and dramatically diverse contributions to the genre, Sibelius closed his symphonic cycle with perhaps his most original work of all. Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony defies structure, tonality, and tempo conventions—featuring one movement instead of four, alternating the luminous C major with the somber C minor, and soaring through 11 different tempo indications. The composer once stated: “The framework of a symphony must be so strong that it forces you to follow it, regardless of the environment and circumstances,” words that couldn’t be more suited to this exquisite composition. Originally labeled by the composer as a “Symphonic Fantasy”, the Seventh Symphony is a musical whirlwind of intricate ideas and overflowing emotion, culminating in a cathartic finale that concludes the piece with overwhelming beauty.
A moment to listen for in… Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony: An idyllic image painted by lyrical violins and oboes (13:45) gently floats over to the cellos (14:18) to introduce a new folk-inspired melody (14:22), exultant and lively, which gives way to a different “jeux d’eaux” (14:32) that sparkles and fades before recollecting melodic fragments of our playful, country-like “idyll” (16:36).