if you’re happy and you know it – part II

having an affinity for schmaltz, i’ve always loved that scene in garden state where natalie portman offers her headphones to zach braff, promising with a coquettish smile: it’ll change your life, i swear.  when the beav gets around to directing the flick’s remake, however, it’s gonna swap out the shins for some sibelius… specifically his seventh symphony… even more specifically, his seventh symphony performed by p-town’s most brilliant indie band on monday night.  whoa.  clocking in at a mere 22 minutes, the final symphony published by this finnish composer is quite modest in length and instrumentation (even though its tempo markings are decidedly not) ~ the life-changing quality of the music somehow emanates from a single, intriguingly ambivalent movement played slowly, then a little bit less slowly, then very fast and lively, then slowly, then moderately very quick (?), then lively and fast, then very fast, then finally, slowly.  sheesh!  with maestro carlos back on the podium, the band offered a gorgeously meditative wash of orchestral watercolors, occasionally punctuated by aaron lavere’s bright and luminous trombone.  as we dreamily wound our way towards intermission, it was clear the schnitzer crowd would have to wait until the program’s second half to stock up on triumph and unabashed joviality.  in the meantime, we would have to make due with our lives being mysteriously transformed by jean sibelius.  i swear.

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1 Response to “if you’re happy and you know it – part II”


  1. 1 Christa Wessel May 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

    To the Saturday night performance I brought a friend who had never heard Sibelius 7. After the final chord he turned to look at me, wide-eyed and transformed. I went back Monday with a different friend who professed to be a bit ambivalent about Sibelius. I believe “wow!” was his reaction at the conclusion.

    It’s a work that merits several listens in order to delve into the layers of what Carlos described as an incredibly “dense rich chocolate cake”


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