Sibelius Symphony 5. Aspen, July-01. Score Hansen, 1921
Julia A. Burt

My own thoughts: Woodwinds swaying not in a rigid tempo but in a pastoral atmosphere as a free duet.


1st MOVEMENT Bar 1. Horns 1+2 should not bang but swim in at different times. 1st horn rises like the sun, let the light spread, long fermata so the dim can be heard. Exact beat so the swinging of bsn + hrn can pulsate.

From A, 2 bars moving freely. Bar 3 oboe back to p. Here horns are usually too loud. SUGGESTION: subito pp and 4 after A mp not mf.

3 bars before B, clarinets freely. Show only harmonic change.

Same at B: tempo can be taken back and then forward! cresc. to letter C.

2nd after B grace note for flute I and cl.1 is missing. (f-sharp for flute and a-flat for clar.)3 after B:Horns, bsn 2 and timp, quick dim, (probably forgotten). With a small string section (Sibelius time) the violins and violas dive into  'duck-pond' can't be heard.

2 before C: Sibelius writes sempre dolce and rfz.

3 after C: he writes rffz. This can sound too angry.

3 after C: Sibelius uses the solo horn but omits the first note, probably due to uncertain player then. (The same after letters G and H).

1  before D. note meno forte! and then at D hold tenuto on second beat so that dim. to p can be heard, otherwise the cresc. has no effect.

D: strings lots of flautato.

The echo effect in the wind and string rhythms cannot be heard unless you beat 8th's (on the left or right). The orchestra cannot get the syncopations immediately into place. (They don't know the score on first playing -practise it!)

3 after D: trumpets first note is usually not heard, do something!

4 after D: rhythm in winds and violins cannot be heard clearly in a hall with an echo. Those on the stage find this difficult to believe. SO: the first 16th note is inaudible as well as the 16th note at the end of the slur. It sounds like a dog barking. In Ottawa, excellent strings (ZUKERMAN) we separated the 16th at the end of the slur from the dotted 8th.The hall acoustic turned this into legato and the 16th could be heard. On stage it sounds wrong ofcourse, but... !!!

3 before E: notice poco a poco dim. For vla and vlc poco a poco continues right up to the double bar 2 bars before F.

3rd bar after F: strings really pp. also background winds, then oboe pp is exquisite. It anyway reads grazioso.

3 before G: strings have a dangerous cresc. pp is missing on the 4th beat, as oboe.

Half bar before G: strings must write pp and flautando so the clarinets can be heard.

2 bars after G: 1st basses tritonus must be heard.

Letter I the same as letter D.

Letter J begins poco forte but is followed by 3 bars dim molto.This has to be rehearsed because the different rhythms are not distinguishable. The players concentrate on playing the right notes, which reduces quality and dynamics.

Especially 1 bar before K is always too loud -too much bow.. If ppp doesn't work, reduce the number of strings.

Letter M: dynamic is missing- mp.

5 after M second half: horns mp.

From 6 before N lots to correct so themes can be heard.

6 before N, theme in fl+ob+cl can be reinforced by trumpet last 8th note.

4-1 bars before N same thing. First note in winds with accent and show trumpets cresc.

Two bars later trombone has theme.

At letter N, rhythms in the horns and trombones are not distinguishable.

2 bars before the new letter A the violins often play off the string but it should be on, as Sibelius wanted. What do you think about the articulation at ALLEGRO MODERATO? We often hear the end of the slur over the first bar as dotted (short). Long would be Finnish. Notice the violins cresc before B.

At C: two bar phrases.

8 after C: oboe, write mp marc. because the previous phrase is marked dim. Compare this with the 3rd bar after C and the following flute entry.

9+10 after C are perhaps missing a syncopated slur which happens 2 bars later in the flutes?

10 before F: Missing in fl+bsn dim? Compare this with 2 bars before F.

4 bars before G is thick. Bsn+hrns+timp cover the A major if too loud. There may be wrong notes in parts (2001 Aarhus 1972!)

Letter J: 1st violins first note is in the background and barely audible (ppp). It could be written as an 8th note. The theme starts on the2nd quarter note. Same for the 2nd violins, 4 bars later.

2 before letter K, dim and even accel. as K is marked vivace molto.

7 before M has to be well balanced. Basses and then horns 3+4 are usually too loud.

1 after M, viola accents for 3 bars. The last accent is missing in old editions. Make sure it is marked in the parts. The same thing 10 after M.

7 after M: How is it possible for cl+bsn to play dim from ppp? Same problem for fl+ob 10 before N. I suspect a printing error. Play the same as the violins.

8 before O: meno f rarely happens.

8 after O in the basses. The last note should be d, not c.

from 5 after P: 3rd trombone 8 va basso, down to B-flat. This is possible.

7 + 8 after P trump. 2 doubles 1, so the theme can be heard.

9 after P: 1st trump to play only a quarter note so that the 2nd trump can be heard. Messy.

1 before Q: horns last bar, only mezzo forte- pedal note. Sibelius scores are full of places like this. They must be corrected as I have already mentioned in Memo February 10-87.

Più Presto. Brass and timp cover the violins completely if dynamic markings are followed.

A classical place that needs changing: ff- mf. 4 bars before S. Trumpets? I doubt ff.

Letter S is one hell of a noise unless the theme is brought out: e-flat - f - b-flat, ie. 2 bars timp (not too much horn) 1 bar trump, 1 bar horns, repeated. Then, 1 bar timp (note) -2 trump-1 horns- timp accent on e-flat and 3 last bars 1st trump + 1st tromb in unison.! THIS CREATES A CLEAR MELODY.







Andante mosso, quasi allegretto.

This should be like a pastoral polska. The violins first pizzicato notes are not usually heard. On stage it is thought that they are heard but in the hall the echo confuses as in the 1th movement after D. Change mp - mf and when the pizz can be heard make a small dim. This is the same problem for singers who know the text but the audience does not.

7 before B mp missing in flutes.

7 befopre B accent missing in hrn

4 bars before B. bsn, dim - pp. Also for other winds, always to the next dynamic.

B: detaché à la BACH,or?!

2nd bar after B: Is the 3rd note as short as the next? Let's go back to the beginning of the movement. Bar 6, violas. Some tails are up and some are down. Does this mean a change of string? First note open string - long note. The second note should have a dot (vla under and vlc above), but no, it's not like that! Is this Sibelius carelessness or what? Interpretation. If the markings are followed, quasi allegretto, the second note should be short. Marked with a dot. Then the theme becomes a dance= allegretto. The same is true at B.

11 before C: vla+vlc, mp marc, can be played off the string= half spicc. The last note must be short, so mark it with a dot.

5 before C violins detaché. Dynamic is missing - mp.

C: change vlc dynamic to mp. 2nd bar mf

4th bar after C: 2nd note in vlI, vlII, vla with a dot on top, so that the articulation of the theme is the same. Careless markings and/or playing.

7 after C: a small detail. If vla in bar 3 is to be heard then mark it f. Attention is then drawn to the theme of the finale which can be heard - (not visually, as few conductors will have noticed it or even dare to bring it out) - here. Be brave and mark legato pizzicato - like jazz bass players, for 3 bars and the following g.

D: violas have dots marked, meaning off the string; but for how long and should the violins continue in the same way? Let it be a polska = detaché + stretto.

3 before letter E: Basses last note should be g.

1 before E: vla+vlc, mp - cresc - mf

E: 2nd bar. Strings as printed if enough players. If not, take slur out.

3 after E: Last quarternote in vlI, vlII down bow (a) can give the right emphasis with vlc+cb rhythm underneath.

10 after E: Light spicc, dynamic, mp. In some old parts this may still be marked f.

13 after E: Arpeggios should sound like a big harp on the forte. Viola notes can be re-arranged with help from vlc, as the bottom is missing. There are many places in Sibelius where pizzicato has no ring to it. Even though he played the violin himself. Example: 3rd symphony, 1st movement. Do something!

5 after F: Basses, legato pizz with accents until mp (whole of finale theme).

12, 13, 14 after F: chords don't ring even though they are perfect chords. Except vla in bar 3. Old editions are still marked b-natural (otherwise a-minor). 14th bar is empty without e-minor 5ths and b-minor; or is it to be translated as D-major? Yes, of course, because the horns A-a octave resolves it.

16 after F: is again stacc. A player asks :2 before G, 'detache or spicc?!'

11 after G: 4 horns is quite an effect. They will play too loud, no matter how many times you warn them.

7 before H: The poor old 2nd flute tries to make himself heard without any success. What the hell is that c-sharp doing there anyway? If you want it to be heard then you will have to do something. 2nd violins are meant for these kinds of places. The 1st flute e' can be heard. Many composers have written similar places including MOZART, BEETHOVEN to STRAVINSKY.

4, 5, 6 before H: One trumpet is enough, or not, as the case may be.

F1+pizz play against each other and take out the 'molto' in the horns.

Poco largamente after I can be bowed in many different ways. The printed version will work for professionals but remember the printed down bow -think diminuendo. Why not try an up bow?

Flutes, last 3 bars, one long slur. It could be attacca!


FINALE Allegro molto.

If the theme in the violas needs to move then it can be marked half-spicc, otherwise on the string.

A, violas under the 1st violins.

3 bars before B, 2nd violins spicc, ending 3 bars after B.

12 before C flutes also p.

22 before F: Basses can never be heard. Add bassoons to make it sharper.

2 bars before F. 4 horns marked forte. In some old parts there is a repeat that isn't at all similar. This is due to some confusion over a wrong note.

8, 7, 6 before G: 1st bassoon must play accents otherwise the theme is not noticed. The same goes for 3 bars before letter H.

2 before J: 2nd violins divisi. First two bars cresc. Then from J dim. It can't be heard otherwise.

M: Bring out vlc, cresc. The dim is wrong.

From 9 after N to the end, change 3rd trombone part. Mark everything down.

2 bars before letter O: 3rd horn rhythm is strange. It is normally played so quietly that it can't be heard!

4 after P: Brass diminuendo to p.

3 before Q crescendo only to mp. They are normally too loud here.

Now that we have 5-string basses, many places in Sibelius and Brahms can be marked down. Not yet from page 130, but from pages 134-135.

R brings with it the problem of balance in the brass:

2, 3 after R: trumpets 2+3 are not usually heard and the 1st trumpet cresc. can be erased.

4 after R: add a sounding g1 to the 1st trumpet part. Same as the oboe.

7 after R: add a sounding g2 to the 1st trumpet part. Same as the flute.

UN POCHETTINO STRETTO. Not many conductors take this new tempo. It goes right to the end? There are 4 (four) dynamic markings missing from this page, if you want the trumpets and trombones to interchange. Have a look for yourself!!

Trombones, first bar cresc. On last half note,2nd bar, dim. on last half note.

3rd bar, trumpets, dim. on last half note. 4th bar, trombones, dim. on last half note.

5th bar, 1st, 2nd trumpet can mark accents also on the f, but not on the B-flat: the theme changes to the 2nd trombone. Remember the stretto continues to the very end, otherwise the tension is lost! Good symphony!