Saturday, March 10, 2007

Performance directions

In one of my previous posts, My attempt to revise for music theory, I have included a glossary of the performance directions from the 3rd movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. Now I shall attempt to write a glossary of the performance directions from the 4th movement of the very same symphony.

Allegro moderato: Moderately quick

fz: (forzando) forcing, strongly accenting

poco stringendo: gradually getting slightly faster

pesante: heavy

riten: (ritenuto) held back

a tempo: in time, indicating a return to the original speed

un poco con moto: a little with movement

a tempo ma tranquillo: in time, but calm

Moderato assai: At an extremely moderate speed

dim. poco a poco: gradually getting softer, a little by little

allargando: broading, i.e. getting a little slower and probably also a little louder.

marcato: emphatic, accented

largamente e pesante: broadly and heavy

poco largamente: a little broadly

molto largament: Very broadly

ten.: tenuto held

tremolo: trembling, a direction for the rapid reiterations of a single note

Question: Does anyone know what Meno moderato e poco a poco ravvivando means?
I have no clue what ravvivando refers to.

I looked back to the time when I had first started out rehearsing Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, I think it is pleasant to know that I now can better relate to Sibelius musical ideas. I used to be clueless on what his music was trying to convey.

According to the programme notes by Marc Rochester which I had came across some time ago, Sibelius wrote this symphony outside his homeland, Finland. He was setting off wth his family in 1901 to Italy when he decided to write the second symphony. "Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 is the most unambiguously nationalist of all his seven symphonies." Perhaps the act of having to work on this symphony in a country so very different from his homeland could have fired Sibelius' nationalist sentiments.

I suppose I did not know how to relate to this symphony at the very beginning because I don't live in Finland nor have I been to Finland!

Anyway, here's a suggested recording to listen to:

Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor: Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1901-1902; Finland
Release Date: 11/20/2001
Label: Emi Classics
Catalog #: 74485
Spars Code: n/a


Or you can listen to the 3rd and 4th movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 live in Singapore, on 16 Mar 2007 (Fri).

Please click the following URL for more details:

  • Eric Taylor's The AB Guide to Music Theory.
  • Programme notes by Marc Rochester, found on Singapore Symphony Orchestra's programme booklet for SSO 28th Anniversary Concert held 6 Jan 2007.

Related posts:
My attempt to revise for music theory
Hindemith's Trauermusik

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