Allegro Molto (from Symphony #5) by Jean Sibelius, arranged for Flute Orchestra by Shaul Ben-Meir
Scored for 6 C Flutes, 2 Alto Flutes, 2 Bass Flutes and Contrabass Flute
For the last 53 years of his life, Sibelius lived in a house he called “Ainola” (for his wife, Aino), in a lakeside forest setting in Jarvenpaa, about an hour's drive from Helsinki. The house is preserved and is visited year after year by musicians and tourists. In one of the larger rooms hangs a painting of a flight of swans; it is said to have been the composer's favorite, and to be related to his Fifth Symphony. According to his biographer, Sibelius noted in his diary on April 21, 1915, that he had seen a flight of 16 swans, “one of the greatest impressions of my life” and responded with a “swan theme” that was to provide a sort of a high point for this work. This Allegro Molto opens with a figure that is suggestive of a fluttering of wings, evolving into the grandiose, chorale-like “swan theme.” At the very end are five oddly spaced chords, with conspicuous pauses. It has been theorized that these “mysterious” chords were derived from the overtones of the “swan theme” itself.