Other Matters: Those Sibelius Harmonies

I’ve been listening—over and over—to Jean Sibelius’s “Voces Intimae,” his String Quartet in D-minor. The great Finnish composer (1865-1957) wrote it in 1909 when he was 44 years old. He had completed his Third Symphony and was well on his way out of the romanticism that characterized his earlier symphonies. A number of analysts have called the D-minor austere, but it is difficult to accept that conclusion about a piece whose inner harmonies progress with such warmth. Jazz listeners may be taken with Sibelius’s “changes” in the allegro, the final movement of the quartet’s five. The performance is by the young Aeolus Quartet, Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violins; 
Zak Collins, viola;
 Alan Richardson, cello.

If I had found video of the Aelous playing the whole piece, I’d have posted it. No such luck. You can hear the Julliard String Quartet play it on this CD.

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  1. says

    If the aim of a writer about music is to illuminate and elucidate, you are doing one heck of a job. Getting us to sit and just listen – neither easy to do nor to throw away the desire to criticize or put music into simplistic categories. As always, thanks!