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2019.05.25 Severance Hall, Cleveland – Concert, Sibelius Songs

Keenlyside Sings Sibelius

Severance Hall, Cleveland

25 May 2019, 8.00 pm


Cleveland Orchestra

Simon Keenlyside, baritone

Franz Welser-Möst, conductor



Edvard GRIEG – Selections from Peer Gynt, Opus 23

Jean SIBELIUS – Songs

Kaiutar op. 72/4 (1915)  – “The Echo Nymph”

Illalle  op. 17/6 (1898) – “To Evening”

Aus banger Brust op. 50/4 (1907) – “From An Anxious Heart”

Svarta rosor  op. 36/1 (1899) – “Black Roses”

Kom nu hit, död op. 60/1 (1909) “Come Away, Death!”

Im Feld ein Mädchen singt op. 50/3 (1906) – “In the Field a Maiden Sings”

Die stille Stadt op. 50/5 (1906) -“The Silent City”

Var det en dröm?  op. 37/4 (1902) – “Was It a Dream?”


Richard STRAUSS – Aus Italien, Symphonic Fantasy, Opus 16


Video on Facebook of Simon rehearsing a Sibelius song

Short video on Facebook in which Simon explains why he loves to sing Sibelius

Radio interview with Simon discussing Sibelius songs and other topics

This concert was broadcast live on the Ideastream radio station. We have now been advised that there will be a repeat broadcast of the concert on Sunday 22 December at 4pm local time. There may also be subsequent broadcasts on Saturday 30 March 2020 at 8pm and Sunday 07 June 2020 at 4pm local time.


This concert is currently (24.12.19) available to listen to on demand on this link. 


Sound bites

Reviews of the concert on Thursday 23 May:

cleveland.com, 24.05.19, Mark Satola, The Plain Dealer

“…Thursday night at Severance Hall, baritone Sir Simon Keenlyside presented a bouquet of eight varied songs by Sibelius that were remarkable for their beauty, drama, and extraordinary orchestration.

Keenlyside’s operatic experience was on display Thursday night, as he brought vivid life to Sibelius’ music. His wide range and signature tone, at once commanding and exquisitely flexible, made a strong case for Sibelius’ songs to be more than just a concert hall rarity.

He was especially moving in “The Echo Nymph” and “To Evening,” in which he blended beautifully with the composer’s delicate and imaginative orchestral writing, which the orchestra played with keen sensitivity….”

bachtrack, 25.05.19, Timothy Robson

“…..Many fine solo instrumentalists and vocalists appear on the stage of Severance Hall with The Cleveland Orchestra, but occasionally there is one who stands above the usual excellence. Such was the case on Thursday when English baritone Sir Simon Keenlyside sang eight rarely performed songs by Jean Sibelius in orchestral arrangements – mostly by others – from the original voice and piano….

Keenlyside seemed comfortably fluent singing in the three languages. His voice was full and rich, with brilliant high notes above the staff, soaring effortlessly over sometimes dense orchestrations…..”

clevelandclassical.com, 29.05.19, Daniel Hathaway

“….Singing from a score, Keenlyside made the songs into little Romantic tableaux, matching poetic imagery with a variety of vocal colors. Original texts and translations were printed in the program book, though with the house lights dimmed so low, and two rarely encountered languages to deal with, it was nearly impossible to follow along. But Keenlyside put them across so vividly that basic comprehension of the subjects wasn’t much of a problem.

The audience rewarded the baritone with a huge ovation and several callbacks….”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue December 24, 2019 at 10:36 am

I’m so pleased to find that the radio broadcast of those splendid Sibelius songs are currently available on demand here:-


Repeat listening essential! A wonderful performance.

Gudrun June 5, 2019 at 6:51 pm

One more review of Winterreise and Sibelius songs in Cleveland:

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