Jean Sibelius: Symphony No.5

April 28, 2007

Jean Sibelius and Eugene Ormandy
I’m up in Lake Arrowhead this weekend — one of the gorgeous mountains that overlooks LA — at a UCLA retreat. Sitting in the lodge, over the speakers I am revisiting an old friend: Jean Sibelius’s “Symphony No.5.” I’m sure most of my classical readers know the piece, but for the rest who are eager to learn new music, may I highly recommend this work. This is, in my opinion, one of the best spring pieces there is. It is so invigorating, I can see a Disney Fantasia-like movie of roots coursing their way deeper into the earth, I smell the earth thawing, I see buds popping out of branches. I know, maybe I’m hypersensitive in this way, but I am covered with goose bumps. Emotions somewhere between shouting for joy and crying well up.As much as I have little patience for muzak, hearing random pieces on the radio can reintroduce us to forgotten pieces. When I get home, I’m going to put this old friend on and listen to it again. Sibelius: what a giant!

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