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Sibelius 150

The premiere of the sixth symphony on 19th February 1923, the overall mood of which was, according to Evert Katila in Helsingin Sanomat, “as serene and clear as a late summer’s day in Finland”, was seasoned with a motley collection of little pieces. The Valse chevaleresque is a stylisation of a Viennese waltz, “the composer further enhancing the impression of the composer-conductor model of Strauss with the foppish rhythms characteristic of a Viennese waltz”. And in Katila’s opinion, the fact that “not even shimmy and jazz have passed the master by without leaving a trace” was also apparent in the little orchestral suites. The Rococo pastiche Autrefois (Scène pastorale) premiered at the opening of an art gallery was the cherry on the concert programme’s stylistic cake.

Text: Timo Virtanen
Picture: The Sibelius Museum