June 20, 2018

Sibelius, Symphony No. 5, Third Movement Finale (1915)

Although Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony seemingly has three movements, the first movement contains an allegro and a scherzo, providing the feeling of four movements for the symphony. In its entirety, the symphony can be heard as a “struggle” leading to the “victory” heard in the beautiful “Swan Theme” at 1:24 in the video below. The theme was said to be inspired by the swan calls Sibelius heard after watching sixteen swans taking flight at once. 

Note the unusual ending for the symphony. 

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

June 10, 2018

Canteloube, "Baïlèro" (1930)

If you have never heard Baïlèro ("The Shepherd's Song") by Joseph Canteloube, I recommend taking six minutes and give it a listen. It is, quite simply, is one of the most beautiful songs ever composed.

Baïlèro is sung in Auvergnat, which is a dialect of the Occitan language from southern France. Occitan is rarely heard today, and the French government grants it no official recognition or status, claiming it is merely a dialect of the French language. Some claim Occitan is actually a Romance language that is much older than French.

Between 1923 and 1930, Canteloube wrote a collection of songs in the Auvergnat dialect. Baïlèro is the most famous of those songs.


Anna Caterina Antonacci, soprano
François-Xavier Roth conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales