Monday, February 19, 2007

Sibelius, 5th Symphony, Finale

One of my most rewarding studies as an undergraduate was an analysis of Sibelius's Fifth Symphony. The hard-drinking, ruggedly unique composer, pictured here, is unjustly tarred (and, in the minds of many, feathered) with Finlandia. There really is more to Sibelius than that, as this remarkable movement can show you.

The surface gleams and rushes on,
Uncaring that beneath
There looms the brute leviathan
Or even death.

Its gorgeous hues outstripe the lines—
A massive anthem grows
Until it hides the poison spines
Of that below.

The revel races out of breath,
And wryly mid it all
The devil shows his charming teeth,
Yet brings no fall.

Both winding up and winding down,
Its final flourish pressed
To five brief chords, and round each one
Ages of rest—

Those forward-urging bursts leak through
The eons in between;
Yet in those voids more forests grow
Than eye has seen.

No comments: