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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:24 pm 
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Years ago I was watching an edition of the programme and Patrick Moore mentioned that the most common question, from viewers, was about the the music at the beginning and end of the programme.
I was certain he said the composer was Rachmaninoff!
Today I found out the music is the first movement, called "At the Castle Gate", of a suite by Sibelius.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:53 am 
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And it's from Symphony No5 Finlandia :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:25 am 
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Sorry to contradict you Paul, but At the Castle Gate is actually the opening movement of Pelléas et Mélisande, the suite of incidental music written in 1905 by Jean Sibelius for Maurice Maeterlinck's 1892 drama Pelléas et Mélisande. Its atmospheric tones are perfect for conjuring up the atmosphere of the darkening night sky...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:50 am 
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Quite a while ago I could instantly recognise most of Sibelius.

However, I have forgotten which is which.

Perhaps someone can confirm, but is Finlandia part of Symphony No 2.?

Regards, David


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:21 am 
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I have been told that Finlandia is Opus 26 written when Sibelius was quite young. This is apparently a separate piece of music.
It was part of a larger piece.
It was based on the Kalevala. A Runo or poem
It was also part of Finland's attempts to become independent.
It is an orchestral piece which all Finns know.

I am also told that this morning there is a nice 20cm of snow, and yesterday was round one of Finland's quest for a new President. The previous lady President having completed her two terms.

Incidentally the famous Finnish Finlandia Vodka bottle I think was designed by Tapio Wirkkala, who designed fabulous jewellery also. He also I think designed pieces for Iittala glass along with Timo Sarpaneva.
I will check this.

The piece of music for the Sky and Night programme is also now more recognised even in Finland because of its long exposure due to this TV programme.

Regards, David

Finlandia Vodka was first sold in 1970.
The famous bottle was designed by Tapio Wirkkala and was produced from 1970 to 2000, when a new and to me not so good looking bottle was introduced.
Maybe the original was too expensive to make.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Apparently Sibelius had a great love of nature and mostly had binoculars to hand. Much of his work is inspired by the Finnish landscape.
The binoculars were mainly to look at geese and nature, I don't know if he used them to look at the night sky. But I would suppose he had a good knowledge of the sky.
I think Zeiss prismatic binoculars were introduced in the 1890s. So whether he used these or Galilean field glasses I don't know. He probably used both.
I have visited his home several times, which was bought by the Finnish state and is a museum.
This area was very dark even in the 1970s, so in the 1890s, 1900s the stars there were probably fabulous, easily a 7th. magnitude site.
Finlandia was composed in 1899 according to the internet and reworked for solo piano in 1900.
It was a direct approach to Russian censorship, and as my friend, a Sibelius Academy graduate, says part of the quest for Finnish independence.

Regards, David


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:17 am 
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Re Sky & Night music " At the castle gate" by Sibelius. Guy is correct of course........although I do not listen to much music these days, but I do enjoy some relaxing classical stuff and did buy a CHANDOS disc in which it is included. it always congures up the S&N and PM. maf


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:46 am 
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Mike,
Yes Guy is of course correct.
But the connection with the Sky at Night has also increased its awareness in Finland.
I was just commenting on the Finlandia piece mentioned above, which is better known.
The history of Finlandia is interesting as although Finland was not i think badly treated when part of Russia there was a strong desire for independence and Sibelius's Finlandia although not the official anthem was a big help in Finland eventually achieving independence.

Regards, David


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:17 pm 
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David
I also sometimes play "The Planets" by Holst despite being told that they are in this context more astrology than astronomy (I think PM said this in one of his books when discussing the choice of theme music for the programme. ). "Mars" always conjures up the serial of "Quatermass" ...."Jupiter" is well known as being part of a Hymn etc.......once when I visited Chichester we by chance found the commemorative stone where Holst is buried. maf


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Holst didn't compose for science. The "Planets" is pure pagan romanticism. Suits me.

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