Listening Club

Listening Club returns in the autumn of 2021

After three series early in 2021 exploring the Classical style, Bach’s Matthew Passion and the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius, Listening Club is taking a summer break before returning in the autumn with some exciting new projects. All dates and theme are still TBC, but thoughts are the Bartok String Quartets, a Wagner opera and (for the festive season) an in-depth look at Handel’s Messiah. Do check back on this page nearer the time, or sign up for the Listening Club mailing list for regular updates using the form below.

The Sibelius Symphonies –  on Zoom during May/June 2021 :::

The Sibelius Symphonies series which ran live in May and June 2021 has now concluded, but if you missed out, would you still like to watch the recorded lectures? Drop me a line to register your interest, and you’ll receive a reply with full information. Read below for a flavour of what it’s all about:::

I’m delighted to announce a new Listening Club series for spring 2021: an online exploration of all seven symphonies by the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). The Listening Club Sibelius Symphonies series runs on Monday mornings at 11am UK time from 3rd May to 14th June. It’s a series of seven sessions on Zoom lasting up to sixty minutes – attendees can either join live or catch up with recordings of each session at their convenience over the following days.

Listening Club Sibelius Symphonies – how it works

What makes the music in this series so special is that Jean Sibelius is quite simply one of the stand-out symphonists of the twentieth century, and the way his musical style gradually evolves is fascinating: from the full-blooded passion and patriotism of symphonies one and two through to the austere mysticism of the remarkable Seventh. I’m lucky enough to have attended Sibelius symphony cycles in Finland on several occasions, and to have paid visits to Ainola, the composer’s remarkable home, to experience the special atmosphere there. So I’m really looking forward to sharing my experience of this remarkable music in our seven Listening Club sessions.

Logically enough, we’ll examine each of the symphonies in chronological order week by week, as well as placing the music in the context of Sibelius’s life and times.

session 1.) Symphony no. 1 (1898-99)

session 2.) Symphony no. 2 (1902)

session 3.) Symphony no. 3 (1907)

session 4.) Symphony no. 4 (1911)

session 5.) Symphony no. 5 (1915, revised 1919)

session 6.) Symphony no. 6 (1923)

session 7.) Symphony no. 7 (1924)

There will also be a chance to follow performances of an online Sibelius symphony cycle which runs in parallel with this course. In four concerts between Wednesday 19th May and Saturday 29th May 2021, Konserthuset Play are broadcasting all seven symphonies with Sakari Oramo conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra – this is the orchestra that gave the first performance of the Seventh Symphony in 1924, under the baton of the composer.

Listening Club Sibelius Symphonies – practicalities

The fee for the seven-week course is £70 or €80 ​– register your interest here, and you’ll receive a reply with full information. If money is tight, and you’d still like to attend, please do still get in touch. Each talk is recorded and attendees will have access to a YouTube playlist where all of the sessions will be available for a time-limited period. Those attending live have the opportunity to discuss the music and join in the Q&A.

Listening Club mailing list

if you’re not already a subscriber, do consider joining the Listening Club mailing list, which brings with it some added benefits such as email reminders for attendees before each session and a few other useful nuggets.

Subscribe to the Listening Club mailing list

What people have said about Listening Club sessions:

As someone totally unfamiliar with the Monteverdi Vespers I found your broadcast today thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable … 

Thanks for opening eyes this morning into another world … 

I knew I would enjoy this morning’s session! I knew the music a bit, but there was so much more to learn/listen to/think about. thank you!