Weekend at the SFS: Esa-Pekka Salonen & Leila Josefowicz [Preview]

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

This weekend at Davies Hall, famed Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will be leading the San Francisco Symphony in two evenings of Nordic-influenced classical music. Salonen is a conductor and composer whose Violin Concerto will be performed in addition to works by Richard Wagner and Jean Sibelius, who is considered by many to be Finland’s greatest composer.

The evening begins with a performance of Jean Sibelius’ tone poem Pohjola’s Daughter, Op. 49. The tone poem is based upon a character from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, which is considered to be one of the most significant examples of Finnish literature. Sibelius had originally wanted to name the tone poem after the epic’s shamanistic hero Väinämöinen (pronounced VI-na-MER-nen), but his publisher insisted upon naming the work after the beautiful maiden from the northern land of Pohjola, whom Väinämöinen wishes to marry. In addition to perfectly capturing the essence of the narrative, Sibelius musically evokes the chilled, wintery beauty of the northern lands and its mythology. As a matter of fact, the word pohjola is now used in the modern Finnish language to refer to the Nordic countries.

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The Hump Day Pick Me Up – 5 Things to Do This Weekend 9/23/11-9/25/11

Wednesday is often the dreaded hump day that we wish would end but just seems to drag on forever. To combat that feeling, we’ve decided to start the Hump Day Pick Me Up series, where we’ll list some of our favorite events for the coming weekend. Hopefully, it’ll help you fight the urge to slap your current project in the throat and bury it under the mound of growing work on your desk.

Photo credit: °Florian, CC BY-SA 2.0

In addition to the events we’ve already posted (Hong Kong Cinema Festival, Junior Boys @ Mezzanine, Other Lives-Bon Iver @ The Greek Theatre, LovEvolution), there are some gems we couldn’t write up in full, but wouldn’t feel right not telling you about.

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