Music in the Making

Music In The Making: December Birthday Bash

It’s time to celebrate our December birthdays!


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On this week’s episode, we celebrate some composers born this month. We’ll hear a symphony by Sibelius, a sonata by Scriabin, and music by Martinu.

Martinu, 1945
Martinu, 1945

Martinu: Sonata for Two Violins and Piano
Kyung Sun Lee (violin), Andrezj Grabiec (violin), and Brian Suits (piano)
Moores Opera House

Martinu, a Czech composer of the early 20th century, was incredibly prolific, particularly in the realm of chamber music. In 1923, he moved from his homeland to Paris, where he was heavily influenced by his exposure to jazz, and the neoclassical style that was made so popular by Stravinsky. Yet another influence is audible in Martinu’s work, however: inflections of his native Moravian folk music appear throughout.


Scriabin: Sonata no. 5, op. 53
Timothy Hester (piano)
Moores Opera House

Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5 was written immediately following his orchestral work “Poem of Ecstasy.” The sonata emerged despite the composer’s exhaustian; the preceeding orchestral work sapped Scriabin of energy, and he described the completion of the sonata as a miracle. The poem that inspired the symphonic work also plays an integral role here; Scriabin included it as an epigraph. The text reads:
I call you to life, mysterious forces!
Drowned in the obscure depths
of the creative spirit, timid
Embryos of life, to you I bring audacity!

Sibelius, 1913
Sibelius, 1913

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E-flat, op. 82
Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra
Stude Concert Hall

Our final work was, in fact, written to celebrate the composer’s 50th birthday. Jean Sibelius had rapidly established himself as one of Finland’s most important composers, with works based on Finish folk tales and his stirring patriotic piece, Finlandia. The Finnish government thus commissioned Sibelius to write a work in his own honor, as his birthday celebration became something of a national holiday.


This episode originally aired Sunday, December 17th, 2017. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical.