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Sibelius: Romance in C major, Op.42
by Capella Istropolitana
Jean Sibelius wrote this miniature (five-minute) composition in 1903, between two versions of a work on a much grander scale - the popular "Violin Concerto". Unlike the concerto however (or indeed most of his popular large-scale works), the charm of the "Romance" comes from a simple setting of a characteristic melody, with effective and straightforward use of the string orchestra.

The composer was going through a turbulent period of financial difficulty while writing this work, an experience which was common during the first half of his life (the introduction of certain copyright laws later would go some way to alleviating this problem). He would look back on this period, however, as a time of happiness. He was still composing in the Romantic style of his early works, partly derived from Tchaikovsky and Grieg, and it was observed at the first performance of this piece that it owed something to Tchaikovsky.

In the decade following the composition of "Romance", his works became more austere, a trend especially audible from the "Fourth Symphony" onwards. It has, oddly enough, been suggested that this austerity resulted from the composer having to give up cigars and alcohol due to his health, but deeper musical and spiritual forces were no doubt at work too.
Conductor: Adrian Leaper.
Posted: 9th September 2019
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