2015-2016 – A Celebration of the Montgomery Philharmonic’s 10th Anniversary Season

Night Ride and Sunrise, Opus 55 (1908) – Jean Sibelius
The tone poem Night Ride and Sunrise is one of Sibelius’ most descriptive works. He gave several accounts of his inspiration for the music. One, told to Karl Ekman, was his first visit to the Colosseum in Rome in 1901. Another account, given in his later years to his secretary, Santeri Levas, was a sleigh ride from Helsinki to Kervo “sometime around the turn of the century,” during which he saw a striking sunrise. “All of heaven was a sea of colors, shifting, flowing, and producing a most inspiring sight until it all ended in a growing light.”
Sibelius completed the manuscript in November 1908 and sent the score to Alexander Siloti to conduct in St. Petersburg, Russia, where it was premiered in 1909. It did not receive favorable reviews, but it was believed that most of these unfavorable reviews stemmed from Siloti’s poor conducting of the work.
Sibelius marks the beginning of minimalistic music with the
Night Ride section of this work. The string section tosses a galloping musical cell around in unison that then splinters off into harmonies. The woodwinds join in, overlapping with one another, starting softly at first and then almost creating cacophony as things get louder and louder. The strings then take matters into their own hands in an attempt to stop the monotonous scales being played in the woodwinds.
The French horns and bassoons signal the northern sunrise’s first rays, with beautiful harmonies that slowly move in an upward motion. The morning sunrise is heard in an extraordinary way that combines both glory and reserve in expression.

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, strings
Instrumentation piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, strings