Thursday 27 November 2008

At home with the Sixth

Jean and Aino Sibelius would, I hope, have been happy to invite you to listen in to Saturday morning's Building a Library on Radio 3, when I'm comparing all available versions of the Sixth Symphony (further details here - and don't forget the 'Listen Again' facility is also accessible for a week afterwards). I hope I captured a little of its essence a couple of entries earlier. And if that fanfare sounds like arrogance or outrageous self-advertising, for me (unless I'm deceiving myself) the pure yet paradoxically ambiguous masterpiece that is the Sixth comes first.

It's still too early to give any details of front-runners, but I'll hint that quite a few of the supposed classic versions should sound rather dreadful in the examples I've chosen, and that if certain contenders like Petri Sakari on Naxos and Lorin Maazel on Decca don't get a mention in the end product, it's not because I didn't listen to them nor start out with an example or two (I had 35 snippets before I began the painful whittling process).

Anyway, producer Kevin Bee said that the programme fulfils its essential brief - it makes you want to hear the work. I hope you love it as much as I still do.

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