Symphony in 60: Join Courtney for Sibelius Performance!

March 28, 2016 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

What could be better than relaxing after a hectic day at the office with the Symphony and then meeting the talented and interesting people that perform the work? There’s a change in the Thursday after-work culture of downtown Jacksonville with the addition of Symphony in 60. The 60 minute concert begins at 6pm and provides patrons with the excitement of live symphonic music along with commentary from Music Director Courtney Lewis. Afterwards, mingle at a social hour on stage with the musicians and conductor! More details after the jump

This Thursday, Courtney Lewis will be leading the Symphony in a performance of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op 43.  The music is grand and elegant, soft and warm and promises to fill the Concert Hall with emotion in the late spring evening.

Join Courtney Lewis and the musicians of the Symphony for the 60 minute concert. Your ticket includes a pre-concert Happy Hour at 5PM with FREE drinks and hors d'oeuvres. After the concert join Courtney and the musicians for a post-concert party with more food and drinks!

If you haven't checked out Courtney Lewis' video program notes on this season, you are missing the hottest living conductor explaining beautiful music.  Beautifully.
Skip ahead to 3:54 for his explanation of the Sibelius Symphony No. 2.

Symphony in 60  
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 6pm
Courtney Lewis, Conductor

Jean Sibelius   Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
      Tempo Andante, ma rubato
      Finale: Allegro moderato

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Symphony No. 2 (1902)

Conductor Robert Kajanus viewed the Second Symphony as a nationalistic work, stating that, “the Andante strikes one as the most broken-hearted protest against all the injustice that threatens at the present time to deprive the sun of its light and our flowers of their scent.” Ever since Finlandia (1899) Sibelius was inextricably linked to the Finnish nationalist movement, so a nationalist reading seems sensible. Things are more complicated, however, since Sibelius did not offer any kind of program, and a look at the evolution of the work tells a completely different story. He had actually written much of the work far away from Finland—in sunny Italy. A diary entry alongside a theme of the second movement reads, “Don Juan. I was sitting in the dark in my castle when a stranger entered. I asked who he could be again and again—but there was no answer. I tried to make him laugh but he remained silent. At last the stranger began to sing—the Don Juan knew who it was. It was death.” The Don Juan he refers to is Mozart’s title character from Don Giovanni. Another source of inspiration for his symphony was Dante’s Divine Comedy.

It would be a mistake, however, to listen for Don Juan, Dante, or even Finnish nationalism in this symphony. While the composer might have been inspired by Don Juan and Dante, and while its outward expression might have given rise to nationalistic feeling to Finnish audiences, the work is self-contained and does not need programmatic clues for its enjoyment. Sibelius wanted his symphonies to have “profound logic that creates an inner connection between all the motives,” which are “pieces of a mosaic for heaven’s floor” to be put together. And so this Second Symphony, the composer’s bold attempt to move the symphony into the 20th century, assembles itself, beginning with a first movement that seems fragmented at first. Both inner movements continue the assemblage of a narrative accentuated by turmoil and strife. Everything comes together in the slowly unfolding, majestic finale, revealing the completed mosaic in all its grandeur.