Program 95
"Trees"


MUSIC: clip from Sibelius Spruce, performed by Håvard Gimse [Naxos 8.555363, track 9]  [under the following]  

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

For the next hour we’ll be exploring tree music.  Now I’ll be the first to admit that if you tune in during any of these pieces, completely missing the announcement of its name, you won’t be able to identify the tree.  But this will all be music that was inspired by nature’s tallest creations.

We’ll have tree music by Ottorino Respighi, Jean Sibelius, Malcolm Arnold and Arnold Bax. That’s 53 minutes of heavy trees, leaving only five minutes for light talk. So let’s get started with perhaps the most famous tree music ever written: Respighi’s 1926 orchestral tour de force, The Pines of Rome. Its four movements are “The Pines of the Villa Borghese,” “Pines near a catacombe,” “Pines of the Gianicolo,” and “Pines of the Appian Way.” Charles Dutoit leads the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in this 1983 London compact disc recording.

MUSIC: fades out

MUSIC: Respighi: The Pines of Rome performed by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit [London 410 145-2, tracks 1-4]

Respighi’s The Pines of Rome performed by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit.

We are listening to “Trees” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

The Finish composer Jean Sibelius, who lived from 1865 until 1957, is best known for his symphonies and tone poems, but he often took time out to compose short piano pieces. They are really delightful and deserve to be better known. His suite of five piano pieces, Opus 75, which he titled The Trees, begins with a piece called “When the rowan blossoms.” The rowan is what many Americans call a mountain ash. I’ll give you the names of the other pieces as we come to them. The pianist is Håvard Gimse [HOH-vard GIM-seh].

MUSIC: Sibelius: När rönnen blommar, Håvard Gimse pianist [Naxos 8.555363, track 5]  [1:51]

The Lonely Fir.

MUSIC: Sibelius: Den ensamna furan, Håvard Gimse pianist [Naxos 8.555363, track 6]  [2:43]

Aspen.

MUSIC: Sibelius: Aspen, Håvard Gimse pianist [Naxos 8.555363, track 7]  [2:20]

The birch.

MUSIC: Sibelius: Björken, Håvard Gimse pianist [Naxos 8.555363, track 8]  [1:41]

And finally, my personal favorite piece from Sibelius’ Trees, The Spruce.

MUSIC: Sibelius: Granen, Håvard Gimse pianist [Naxos 8.555363, track 9]  [3:32]

Jean Sibelius’ suite of Five Piano Pieces, Opus 75, The Trees. The Norwegian pianist Håvard Gimse [HOH-vard GIM-seh], performed on a Naxos compact disc.

You are listening to “Trees” this hour on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional break not included in the 57:44 total timing of the program]

Next we turn to the British composer, Malcolm Arnold, and his Larch Trees, a tone poem for small orchestra dating from 1943. However the piece wasn’t publicly performed until 41 years later, in 1984, and it wasn’t published until 1985. Arnold was only 22 when he wrote it. I think it is his only work of nature-music, and the style reminds me of the impressionism of a more famous English composer, Frederick Delius.  The performance is by London Musici conducted by Mark Stephenson on a Conifer Classics CD.

MUSIC: Malcolm Arnold: Larch Trees performed by London Musici conducted by Mark Stephenson [Conifer Classics 75605-51211-2, track 4]  [11:15]

London Musici conducted by Mark Stephenson performed Larch Trees, Opus 3, by Malcolm Arnold.

From Malcolm Arnold we turn to Arnold Bax and our final work on this Compact Discoveries hour devoted to “Trees.”  It is a symphonic poem called The Happy Forest.  Bax, who lived from 1883 until 1953, was also an English composer. He wrote several pieces about trees and woods. This one is performed now by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones on a Naxos compact disc.

MUSIC: Bax: The Happy Forest performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones [Naxos 8.553608, track 4] [9:35]

The Happy Forest by Arnold Bax performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones.

MUSIC: clip from Sibelius Spruce, performed by Håvard Gimse [Naxos 8.555363, track 9]  [under the following]

You have been listening to “Trees” for the last hour on Compact Discoveries. This is Fred Flaxman hoping that you have enjoyed our selections and that you’ll let me know one way or the other. You can reach me in care of the Compact Discoveries website at www.compactdiscoveries.com. You can also use the website to view complete scripts for these programs, including information on every recording used.

Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. Production of this program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: ends at 57:44

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