Pick the Scandinavian Piece that Gives You Chills

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The weather warmed up a bit earlier this week in New York, but our Showdown brings back the chill of winter with three Scandinavian masterpieces by Grieg, Sibelius and Nielsen.

Nearly 50% of you selected Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 42. At noon we played the piece performed by the recently Grammy-nominated  Minnesota Orchestra, under the direction of Osmo Vanska. 


Comments [29]

Carrie from NYC

The Sibelius is my choice. It gives me the feeling of sailing on a beautiful day on the ocean - not a care in the world. Love it!

Dec. 12 2012 12:46 PM

Well, I hate to be pedantic, but... Finland is NOT part of Scandinavia. It is next door. Finns are not Scandinavian; they are a Baltic people Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language, not Indo-European. Of course, a case cold be made for Sibelius, because he wasn't a Finn -- he was a Finlander (an ethnic Swede living in Finland).

So, that said, where was the Swedish representation here? There are Alfven,Berwald, Wiren, and Johan Helmich Roman, and others.

OK, so I'm mostly Swedish, but I'm about 3/8 Danish, too...

Dec. 12 2012 12:03 PM
cathy from California

I love all 3 composers but since I have recordings of Greig's Peer Gynt and Sibelius' #2 and I can't recall if I've heard Nielsen's 4 Temperaments I'd like to hear it.

Dec. 12 2012 11:58 AM
Marlaina Member from Manhattan from nyc

Something enchanting and mysterious about this piece brings back the wonder of being alive, in tune with the rhythms of the earth and nature itself.

Dec. 12 2012 11:54 AM
Helen Mallon

This piece reminds me of a winter visit to Sibelius' home in 1978. It evokes the place, the Nordic charm of Finland and the beauty of the countryside.

Dec. 12 2012 11:53 AM
Geraldine from Brooklyn

I love Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt. I imagine myself walking through a quiet park in a beautiful sunny morning with the birds chirping. It brings a smile on my face.

Dec. 12 2012 11:53 AM
Graciela from NYC

Love that man!

Dec. 12 2012 11:52 AM
Monty from Brooklyn, NY

We hear the Grieg and Sibelius ALL THE TIME! Give us NEILSEN!!

Dec. 12 2012 11:50 AM
Miles from Montclair, NJ

My vote goes to the Sibelius 2nd Symphony. It is quintessential Sibelius, invoking powerful images of a cold and barren landscape -- the bleak beauty of northern Finland. And who better to conduct this piece than Osmo Vanska, himself a Finn, with a natural affinity for the works of his countryman.

Dec. 12 2012 11:42 AM
Jean McCarroll from Manhattan

Sibelius's 2nd Symphony is one of my absolute favorites--dramatic and thrilling.

Dec. 12 2012 11:40 AM
NYMike from Manhattan

I've chosen the Sibelius because this may be one of few chances left to hear the Minnesota Orchestra at its best thanks to their current lockout over draconian contract offers from their management while it spends $50 million on Orchestra Hall's lobby! The recording is Grammy nominated.

Dec. 12 2012 11:39 AM
Raymond Banacki from Brooklyn, New York

Please, Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, it is such a majestic piece of music and I had to include it in my CD library of classical greats.

Dec. 12 2012 11:34 AM
Steve from Bronx

The points made by Sisko24 and Matt Jayes are important. WQXR should be offering listeners greater opportunities to hear less frequently played works. So let's hear the Nielsen, A case in point is on the air at this moment. Dvorak, the greatest writer of string quartets in the 19th century this side of Beethoven, wrote several that are at least equal or superior to the "American." Yet it seems QXR plays the latter as many times as the others put together.

Dec. 12 2012 11:25 AM
Lee Lieberman from Fort Lee, NJ

The Nielsen gets my vote.I often prefer to investigate the less known--there are many hidden masterpieces that need to be listened to to be experienced.
You play the Four Temperaments from time to time; Please play Bernstein's performances of the Nielsen's Third or Fifth Symphony; they were very well regarded during the Nielsen revival in the 60s and 70s.

Dec. 12 2012 11:18 AM
Louis Gerbino from Easton,CT

This was one of the first "classical" recordings I ever owned.It was a Columbia LP with Ormandy & the Philadelphia that my mother brought me when I was a child.I still have it,& it still sounds clear & crisp.

Dec. 12 2012 11:12 AM

I voted for Nielsen because it is the least likely of the three to be performed. Also, I attended one of the concerts where the NY Philharmonic played and recorded the symphony with Mr. Gilbert conducting.

Dec. 12 2012 11:09 AM
Julia de Bary from Verona

My vote go for Sibellius # 2. Since I heard this piece for the 1st time with the NYPhil it has been one of my favorites.
Thank you!

Dec. 12 2012 11:07 AM
Arthur Black from Manhattan

Jean Sibelius and I share the same birthdate (but not the same year, of course),
so I feel a special affinity with him. But even if I were born on some other date,
I would choose his Second Symphony because of its melodic nobility. It always
makes me happy to hear it.

Dec. 12 2012 11:05 AM
Matt Jayes from Chelsea

I am very familiar with so much work by Sibelius & Grieg but would like to learn more about Neilsen. Nevertheless, I'll be very pleased when you play any of these works.

Dec. 12 2012 10:57 AM
grace from hartsdale

Sibelius symphony #2 is perfect for this time of year for it gives us an accompaniment to our reflections and meditation of the past and invokes the future more more inspirationally. thank you. grace

Dec. 12 2012 10:57 AM

I would vote for my favorite, as is my custom, but this time I voted for the piece I'm least familiar with: Nielsen.

Dec. 12 2012 10:56 AM
Lynn Morgan from West Village

"Peer Gynt" may entice you to "procrastinate" but never fails to
get you moving...

Dec. 12 2012 10:51 AM
David Gravitz from Westchester County, NY

No contest! The Sibelius 2nd is one of my top 3 favorite pieces of classical music of all time. I first heard it in 1949 as a teenager on my first trip to Tanglewood (along with Ravel's Bolero) conducted by Serge Koussevitsky and the BSO and it was magnificent. In the ensuing years I have heard it many times, some at significant events of my life, and it never fails to thrill and chill me. But the Koussevitsky tops them all.

Dec. 12 2012 10:27 AM
Lifesart from NY

Sibelius, in memory of my father, who could not carry a tune but loved music, and Sibelius above all others. And I love this symphony, having first played it in high school.

Dec. 12 2012 10:12 AM
Steve Barcan from Westfield, New Jersey

I voted for the Sibelius 2nd Symphony which I feel is an iconic work, on the order of the Schubert "Great" Symphony

Dec. 12 2012 10:11 AM
Frank from UWS

My vote goes with the Sibelius because the Minnesota Orchestra. The album is a reminder of what's at stake in their whole labor dispute. Before we know it, there may not be a Minnesota Orchestra.

Dec. 12 2012 10:09 AM
Marisa from New York, NY

Grieg's "Peer Gynt" always give me a chill. The music is haunting,sounding like danceing on a pin with a sense of urgency-- almost like it is slowly unraveling the mysteries of Winter.

Dec. 12 2012 10:03 AM

I have voted on Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite because it includes the Morning theme which is appropriate after a very good morning.

Dec. 12 2012 09:56 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Of the three works, the end of the Sibelius Second Symphony always gives me chills with that inevitable passacaglia building and building as it does. By contrast, "Peer Gynt" and "The Four Temperments" always give me pleasure.

Dec. 12 2012 06:54 AM

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