Race to the Finnish

Jean Sibelius was a thoroughly modern composer who operated within a paradox: He often felt estranged from the fevered dissonance and atonality that characterized the modernism that prevailed during the span of his productive years. An always forward-thinking artist, Sibelius never renounced his love for the symphonic tradition, in particular its German variant. As a result he usually found himself trapped between the lines of two warring camps: the entrenched, rigid conservatives and the wild-eyed avant-garde. Maybe that's the high price of artistic integrity and originality, but nevertheless it tends to ensure longevity; and here we find ourselves, roughly a century later in the great American Midwest, enjoying the Finnish composer's canon. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 as part of a program that includes works by Mozart, Wagner and John Adams' Doctor Atomic Symphony. As usual the venue is opulent-yet-relaxed Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.stlsymphony.org). Tickets are $35 to $100.
Tue., June 18, 2013