Hannu Lintu conducts Sibelius's Symphony No. 6

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

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Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Hannu Lintu — Conductor

Program notes

Finnish maestro Hannu Lintu presents and conducts the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in all seven bold and unique symphonies by their celebrated compatriot Jean Sibelius!

"Whereas most other modern composers are engaged in manufacturing cocktails of every hue and description," said Sibelius of his Sixth Symphony, "I offer the public pure spring water." Following the more dissonant Fourth and the Fifth's more tonal bent, the Sixth—several years in the making—shows the irrepressible creativity of Sibelius, this time in terms of tone and mode. Two vast modal soundscapes (D Dorian and C major, which use the same pitches but to remarkably different effect) meet and disband, weaving their threads around one another and creating a deliciously ambivalent atmosphere. At points, the work's singular use of melody almost recalls the ancient music of Palestrina and Monteverdi that Sibelius studied in his youth.

In the course of its composition, this score may have been shaped by several important events in the composer's life: the end of World War I; Finland's declaration of independence from Russia and a subsequent civil war; Sibelius’s deepening nationalist stance and involvement in the debate over Finland's national language; his relapse into alcoholism; the shaved head that radically altered his appearance; his growing reputation as a musical intellectual with strong ideas and a certain eccentricity—he once conducted the Sixth, totally drunk, in Göteborg—as well as financial and marital problems. If any or all of these factors heightened the drama of the work, it is evident that none of them prevented it from achieving monumental cohesion.

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