February 1-2, 2013

Hannu Lintu, conductor Markus Groh, piano

SIBELIUS Finlandia, op. 26 (1900)

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op. 26 (1917-21)
(1891-1953) Andante; Allegro Tema (Andantino) con variazioni Allegro ma non troppo Markus Groh, piano

SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, op. 82 (1915-16, rev. 1919)
Tempo molto moderato; Allegro moderato Andante mosso, quasi allegretto Allegro molto


Markus Groh is the Ruth and Ed Trusheim Guest Artist. The concert of Friday, February 1, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Norman L. Eaker. The concert of Saturday, February 2, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jan K. Ver Hagen. Pre-Concert Conversations are presented by Washington University Physicians. These concerts are part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Series. Large print program notes are available through the generosity of Mosby Building Arts and are located at the Customer Service table in the foyer.


Felicia Foland, bassoon, on Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5: “Sibelius liberated the orchestra from conventional service to symphonic form and function to celebrate its own voice through this sonic soundscape. Put in motion, the Fifth Symphony takes you right to the edge of the pine forest lake. Overhead, swans soar. “For a long time Sibelius was considered both the most underrated and the most overrated composer. He is neither. He is exceptional. His voice and his vision are maturing well as time unfolds. Discussions of Sibelius always turned toward his work sounding Finnish, or that it was nationalistic. Now, with audiences having listened collectively over time, we are hearing more of the direct impact of the music itself. “The music certainly takes you to a certain place, and it does this through tones, shapes, colors, shadings, temperatures, ideas. There is a true visionary element to Sibelius’s music—he makes us feel, through music, as if we are feeling something about the natural world. “He lived in a cabin made all of wood. He didn’t want the sound of rain hitting tin gutters. He wanted the softer sound of rain on wood. “He writes a warm voice for the woodwinds, very low, very grounded. Not bright colors, say as in Rite of Spring, but wooden, hollow—not shrill. It’s a color palette that is marvelous for the woodwinds. He really was a masterful painter.”

Ainola, Sibelius’s home in the woods


JEAN SIBELIUS Finlandia, op. 26

1900 SIBELIUS Finlandia, op. 26 Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche dies in Weimar, Germany 1915-21 SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, op. 82 PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op. 26 October Revolution, Bolsheviks seize power in Russia

FINLAND’S FOLK ANTHEM The importance of Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia to the Finnish people cannot be overstated. If it is not the most famous protest song of all time, that’s only because Finland is a relatively small and young nation, and few nonFinns know much about its cultural history. Since its first performance, in November 1899 (in an earlier version), this eight-or-so-minute tone poem was a huge hit. The following decades brought arrangements for military bands, choruses, even marimba orchestras. Think of it as Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” except with many more instruments, many more notes, and, at least in its original incarnation, no words at all. Once people started writing lyrics for its irresistibly singable hymn passage, Finland had a new folk anthem. It annoyed the notoriously grumpy composer that this piece, which he considered “relatively insignificant,” had eclipsed his more substantial work and, worse, that he was hearing it sung constantly. “It is not intended to be sung,” he groused. “It is written for an orchestra. But if the world wants to sing it, it can’t be helped.” CULTURAL IDENTITY AND SELF-INVENTION Although Finlandia represents for many listeners the apex of Romantic Nationalism and the essence of Finnishness, its own cultural identity is unstable. Like many Finns of his social class, the educated élite, Sibelius was ethnically Swedish, grew up speaking Swedish, and studied music in Berlin and Vienna. Whereas most works of Romantic Nationalism incorporate native dances and songs, the melodies of Finlandia are largely invented. Sibelius had surely heard traditional Finnish folk tunes, but he seldom quoted them in his compositions. Instead, he was inspired by nature and the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, to create his own deeply personal form

of folk music. Finlandia is part of Finland’s folk tradition because it captured the imagination of the Finnish people; it was highly original, even idiosyncratic, but it felt like their birthright. FINLAND AWAKES TO FREEDOM Finlandia was written during a time of political unrest. After a century of Russian rule, many Finns were angry that they were being drafted into the Russian military and their press was being censored. The “February Manifesto” of Tsar Nicholas II, in 1899, gave the Russian government complete control over Finland, stripping all but symbolic power from the Finnish Senate. In November a group of Helsinki artists and activists organized several events in support of censored journalists. The earliest iteration of Finlandia, then titled Finland Awakes, was the rousing finale for a series of patriotic historical tableaux that Sibelius wrote for one such pageant. The following year Sibelius revised Finland Awakes to create the version we know today, and his friend and compatriot Robert Kajanus conducted the premiere on July 2, 1900, with the Helsinki Philharmonic Society. In its final form Finlandia begins with an ominous brass crescendo, introduces its hymnlike theme with woodwinds and strings, and concludes with thundering percussion and a blazing fanfare. This “relatively insignificant” work may not have met the composer’s own exacting standards, but it helped forge a nation. When Finland declared its independence from Russia, in December 1917, more than a few happy citizens must have been singing Sibelius’s most popular melody. It had always been theirs anyway.

Born December 8, 1865, Hämeenlinna, Finland Died September 20, 1957, Järvenpää, Finland First performance July 2, 1900, Robert Kajanus conducted the Philharmonic Society in Helsinki STL Symphony Premiere March 17, 1911, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance September 19, 2012, Ward Stare conducting at Forest Park Scoring 2 flutes 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 3 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 8 minutes


SERGEY PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op. 26 THE THORNY, THRILLING THIRD Simply to watch a pianist’s hands playing Sergey Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is exhausting and nervewracking. In this showpiece of showpieces, virtuosic fast passages bristle with chromatic runs and glissandos. Just as the soloist’s fingers fly from one end of the keyboard to another, the composition is all over the place; it leaps from Paris to Pavlovsk, from the 19th century to the 20th and beyond. It is too sly to be Romantic and too showy, too flagrantly accessible to be Modern. Prokofiev completed the concerto in 1921, but parts of it date from as early as 1911, and much of the second movement was written in 1913, the same year his Second Piano Concerto created a minor scandal at its premiere. According to one account, some departing concertgoers cried out, “To hell with this futuristic music! The cats on the roof make better music!” The Third might be understood as a belated response to this criticism: It aims to please but stops short of pandering. Although it coheres perfectly, it was cobbled together from abandoned projects and sketch-book scraps. “I already had all the thematic material I needed,” he wrote later in his autobiography, “except for the third theme of the finale and the subordinate theme of the first movement.” It is widely considered to be Prokofiev’s greatest concerto, as well as the most enduringly popular, of the five that he composed for piano. CONVENTION AND CONTRAST Consisting of three movements roughly equal in length, the Third Piano Concerto more or less conforms to the conventions of classical concerto structure. Themes are introduced, developed, and recapitulated; the tempo goes from slow to fast and back again; various timbral and harmonic possibilities are explored. Exquisitely balanced, it shows off not only the pianist’s fleet fingers and general stamina but also the prowess of the entire orchestra, with especially memorable turns by various members of the woodwind section. The first movement begins with a languid, lyrical solo

Born April 23, 1891, Sontsovka, Ukraine Died March 5, 1953, Moscow First Performance December 16, 1921, in Chicago; the composer played the solo part, and Frederick Stock conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra STL Symphony Premiere January 29, 1937, the composer was soloist, with Vladimir Golschmann conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance April 21, 2007, Simon Trpčeski was soloist, with Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting Scoring solo piano 2 flutes piccolo 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 2 trumpets 3 trombones timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 27 minutes

clarinet melody, which the strings pick up briefly before they shift to Allegro and introduce the statement of the principal subject by the piano. The middle movement comprises five sharply contrasting variations on a mincing marchlike theme initially carried by the orchestra at an Andantino tempo. The finale opens with bassoons and pizzicato strings announcing the main theme, which is soon interrupted by a dissonant second theme on the piano; this movement contains many of the work’s most challenging piano passages, including lightning-quick double-note scales. A CAUSTIC HUMOR In his own detailed analysis of the work, Prokofiev speaks of its “caustic humor” and describes one of the piano variations in the second movement as “quasi-sentimental.” In emphasizing the ironic distance between his composition and its stylistic sources, he seems determined to persuade the reader (and, no doubt, future music historians) that his score is more Modern, or at least not as sappily Romantic, than it might seem at certain points. He reveals his own slightly mocking sense of humor when he writes of the finale: “The orchestra holds its own with the opening theme, however, and there is a good deal of argument, with frequent differences of opinion as regards key.”


JEAN SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, op. 82 THE FIFTH AT FIFTY Jean Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony began with a deadline nightmare. The Finnish government commissioned it in honor of the composer’s 50th birthday, December 8, 1915, which had been declared a national holiday, and Sibelius was expected to conduct its premiere on that date. Meanwhile, he was deeply in debt and unable to work on the project full time. Because of World War I, he could no longer travel abroad to conduct, collect royalty checks, and do business with his German publisher. As his debts increased, he resorted to writing for local publishers, who were reluctant to buy anything that seemed unlikely to turn a profit. Sibelius was feeling particularly dismal on August 15, 1914, when he wrote in his diary, “Now I shall be 50. How miserable it is that I must compose miniatures.” With his golden deadline looming, he was desperate to crank out the Fifth, but he kept getting stuck. A month later, in a letter to his close friend Axel Carpelan, he wrote, “God opens his door, and His orchestra plays the Fifth Symphony.” Unfortunately, God kept slamming the door. 16 SWANS When he wasn’t working, Sibelius went for long walks in the woods. He was particularly moved by a sighting of 16 swans in flight, which he described in his diary as “one of the greatest experiences in my life.” It inspired what Carpelan called “the incomparable swan hymn” voiced by the horns in the Fifth’s ecstatic finale. Somehow Sibelius managed to finish the symphony in time for his big birthday gala, and it was met with overwhelming acclaim—the audience reportedly shrieked with joy—but he remained unsatisfied. For the next four years, while he worked on the Sixth and Seventh symphonies and other projects, he returned obsessively to his Fifth, deleting sections, combining movements, and radically re-imagining the score. In 1916 there was a second premiere for this revised version, but he still could not leave it alone. Despite numerous health crises, the death of Carpelan, and chronic

First Performance December 8, 1915, first version, in the Finnish capital, with Robert Kajanus conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; November 24, 1919, final version, with Sibelius conducting in Helsinki STL Symphony Premiere January 25, 1935, Vladimir Golschmann conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance April 4, 2009, with David Robertson conducting the Symphony at Carnegie Hall Scoring 2 flutes 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 3 trumpets 3 trombones timpani strings Performance Time Approximately 30 minutes

financial trouble, he kept worrying away at the Fifth. In 1917 his beloved homeland gained its independence and he barely mentioned it in his diary, but lengthy discussions of the Fifth abound. At long last, on November 24, 1919, the definitive version premiered. Kaarlo Ståhlberg, Finland’s first president, was among those who attended the first of three sold-out concerts. Almost four years after its debut, Sibelius finally thought his Fifth was good enough. SONG OF ITSELF Musicologists have quarreled for decades about this symphony—its structure, whether its first movement meets the criteria for sonata form, where various sections begin and end—but none of those details matter once the Fifth has the listener in its mighty grip. From its radiant opening horn call to its weird and stunning conclusion—six silence-punctuated staggered chords—the Fifth showcases nearly every stylistic characteristic that makes Sibelius so Sibelian. The strings buzz and thrum and swarm. The woodwinds burble and sing. The timpani portend. The brass radiates, hovers, takes flight. The changes in meter and tempo, both wrenching and subtle; the persistent variations and deconstructions of its central theme; the way the whole thing keeps breaking apart and reassembling itself: The Fifth tells its own story. It is a story of starting over and over again until somehow, despite yourself, you find the end.

Program notes © 2013 by René Spencer Saller


HANNU LINTU Currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannu Lintu was appointed Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. His tenure begins from the start of the 201314 season, following a year as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor in the current season. Lintu is also Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin. Highlights of Lintu’s 2012-13 season include appearances with the London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony, plus debuts with the Minnesota and Baltimore Symphony orchestras. In the U.S. he returns to the Houston Symphony and the Oregon Symphony. Recent engagements elsewhere have included the Cincinnati Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras; the Orquesta Sinfonica de Radio Televisión Española, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine; as well as the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Seoul Philharmonic orchestras. Last season Lintu conducted a cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Recent operatic projects have included Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Tampere Opera in spring 2012. Regularly appearing with Finnish National Opera, Lintu has conducted several productions including Wagner’s Parsifal, directed by Harry Kupfer, Bizet’s Carmen, and Aulis Sallinen’s King Lear. Lintu studied cello, piano, and then conducting with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. He participated in masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994. Hannu Lintu most recently conducted the St. Louis Symphony in November 2010.

Kaapo Kamu

Hannu Lintu studied cello and piano before he moved to conducting.



In the upcoming season, Markus Groh will appear with the Tucson Symphony and Wichita Symphony, as well as in recital at the Kennedy Center on June 1. He has previously appeared with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Colorado, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, National (Washington, D.C.), New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, among others. Worldwide engagements include the Beijing Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, London Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Osaka Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, SWR Orchestra (Stuttgart), and the Warsaw Philharmonic. A frequent guest at international festivals such as Grant Park and Schubertiade (Austria), Groh is the founder and artistic director of the Bebersee Festival near Berlin. He also appears frequently on radio and television in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan. A prize-winning documentary, featuring Groh and a replica of Steinway’s first piano (built in 1836) on a recital tour traveling by horse and carriage, was broadcast nationwide by ARD in Germany on three separate occasions in 2011. Groh was born on January 5, 1970 in southern Germany. He was a student of Konrad Richter in Stuttgart and Hans Leygraf in Berlin and Salzburg. He gained immediate world attention after winning the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels in 1995, the first German to do so. Other awards include First Prize at the 1990 Artur Schnabel Competition in Berlin. Markus Groh divides his time between Berlin and New York. He makes his St. Louis Symphony debut this week.

Markus Groh played a recital tour on a replica of Steinway’s first piano.


You don’t need to know what “andante” means or what a glockenspiel is to enjoy a St. Louis Symphony concert, but it’s always fun to know stuff. How about “andantino” and “pizzicato”? Andantino: if “andante” means “moderately slow,” andantino, the diminutive of andante, is a little less slow than andante Pizzicato: Program notes author René Spencer Saller mentions the “pizzicato strings” in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. So what are the strings doing? Pizzicato = plucked. The strings are made to vibrate with the fingers of the right hand; they are plucked rather than bowed.

“Most of your time learning violin you are learning to play with the bow. When pizzicato is added, it’s very, very challenging. “I remember preparing a virtuosic piece by Sarasate, and I really didn’t pay attention to how much the pizzicato should be practiced. When I played before an audience I completely messed it up. My teacher told me afterward, ‘Eva, you’ve got to work on your pizzicato.’ “It is still hard for me to find the right spot on the string; you need to angle your finger in the right way. You can’t do it with your fingernail; it doesn’t sound right. You need to make the string vibrate. If you get enough of the skin area of your finger on the string it will have a warmer sound. “There is a Hungarian violinist who has written a whole book on pizzicato in Bartók. In the music of Ravel and Debussy you frequently alternate between pizzicato and bow. It’s hard to keep up with your hands, most of the time you’re plucking with one finger. “You need to build up special callouses for pizzicato. It takes at least two to three hours of practicing to get the fingers ready.”
Eva Kozma


If these concerts have inspired you to learn more, here are suggested source materials with which to continue your explorations. Andrew Barnett, Sibelius Yale University Press An illuminating and perceptive survey of a troubled life Alex Ross, “Apparition from the Woods” The Sibelius chapter from Ross’s monumental The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century Sergey Prokofiev, translated and edited by Anthony Phillips, Diaries 1915-1923: Behind the Mask Faber & Faber Learn, among other things, about the composer’s pride in being proclaimed the best-dressed man in Chicago David Nice, Prokofiev: A Biography, From Russia to the West, 1891-1935 Yale University Press Nice draws fresh insights on Prokofiev’s years in the West

Read the program notes online at Keep up with the backstage life of the St. Louis Symphony, as chronicled by Symphony staffer Eddie Silva, via The St. Louis Symphony is on



Dan Dreyfus


Get a stage-eye view of Powell Hall at the Town Hall Meeting.

The St. Louis Symphony unveils its 2013-14 season during a Town Hall Meeting at Powell Hall on Thursday, February 7 at 6:30pm. Music Director David Robertson and President and CEO Fred Bronstein give their insights into the new season and take questions from the audience. HEC-TV will broadcast the Town Hall Meeting live and in its entirety. It will also stream live at This is a free event. Reservations are requested but not required. For reservations, e-mail


Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm; Weekday and Saturday concert evenings through intermission; Sunday concert days 12:30pm through intermission.

You may store your personal belongings in lockers located on the Orchestra and Grand Tier Levels at a cost of 25 cents. Infrared listening headsets are available at Customer Service. Cameras and recording devices are distracting for the performers and audience members. Audio and video recording and photography are strictly prohibited during the concert. Patrons are welcome to take photos before the concert, during intermission, and after the concert. Please turn off all watch alarms, cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices before the start of the concert. All those arriving after the start of the concert will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager. Age for admission to STL Symphony and Live at Powell Hall concerts vary, however, for most events the recommended age is five or older. All patrons, regardless of age, must have their own tickets and be seated for all concerts. All children must be seated with an adult. Admission to concerts is at the discretion of the House Manager. Outside food and drink are not permitted in Powell Hall. No food or drink is allowed inside the auditorium, except for select concerts.

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