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Beyond the Score

Beyond the Score: Sibelius Symphony No. 5

Release November 10, 2010

© Chicago Symphony Orchestra 2010
All rights reserved

Length: 58:00



Sibelius’ richly romantic Fifth Symphony was written by Finland’s greatest composer just before his country finally achieved independence and nationhood in 1917. Sibelius claimed the best-loved tune from this work was inspired by seeing a flight of wild swans over the countryside near his home in Finland. He was haunted by this connection. This program reveals how Sibelius developed these ideas into his original version of the Fifth Symphony—before he decided to withdraw the work and recompose it into something very different. We’ll explore the creative musical processes—in this case how a composer finds the material for a symphony and then builds upon it, from his initial sketches into a full-blown masterpiece for orchestra.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä conductor
Gerard McBurney narrator
Kevin Gudahl voice of Sibelius

Designed not only for classical music aficionados, but also for newcomers looking to delve deeper into the world of classical music, the first half of each Beyond the Score® program offers a multimedia examination of the selected score-its context in history, how it fits into the composer's output of works, the details of a composer's life that influenced its creation-sharing the illuminating stories found "inside" the music.

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Additional Details

"With Beyond the Score®, the CSO has created common ground on which newbies and seasoned concertgoers can meet, learn and be entertained."
Chicago Tribune

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Additional Information

More about Beyond the Score

Written and created by the CSO's creative director, Gerard McBurney, live musical examples are called upon to illustrate the structure of each composition. After an intermission, concertgoers return to the hall with newly discovered knowledge to hear a performance of the work played in its entirety.

Read more and download free high-quality video files at