[Daily article] June 4: The Oceanides

The Oceanides (Aallottaret), Op. 73, is a single-movement tone poem for
orchestra by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (pictured). The piece,
which refers to the nymphs in Greek mythology who inhabited the
Mediterranean Sea, premiered on 4 June 1914 at the Norfolk Music
Festival in Connecticut with Sibelius conducting. Praised upon its
premiere as “the finest evocation of the sea … ever … produced in
music”, the tone poem, in D major, consists of two subjects, said to
represent the playful activity of the nymphs and the majesty of the
ocean. Sibelius gradually develops this material over three informal
stages: a placid ocean, then a gathering storm, and finally a thunderous
wave-crash. As the tempest subsides, a final chord sounds, symbolizing
the mighty power and limitless expanse of the sea. Stylistically, many
commentators have described The Oceanides as impressionistic. It is one
of Sibelius’s most revised works. A derived suite and an early version
of the piece were performed for the first time in 2002, by Osmo Vänskä
and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1561 –The spire of Old St Paul’s Cathedral in London was destroyed by
fire, probably caused by lightning.


Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound in the
Pacific Northwest for Great Britain.


The Battle of Midway (Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers
pictured), a major battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, began
with a massive Imperial Japanese strike on Midway Atoll.


The Humboldt Park riot began in Chicago, resulting in three
deaths, three cars in the Humboldt Park lagoon, and increased tension
between the Chicago Police Department and the Puerto Rican community.


The People’s Liberation Army violently cracked down on the
Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, leaving at least 241 dead and
7,000 wounded, and causing widespread international condemnation of the
Chinese government.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

1. A drug mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey (c. 8th century B.C.E.) as
bringing relief from anxiety or grief; hence, any drug or substance seen
as bringing welcome forgetfulness or relief.
2. A Southeast Asian carnivorous plant of the genus Nepenthes; a monkey cup
or tropical pitcher plant.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  There’s another thing not everyone figures out right away:
It’s almost impossible to go through life all alone. We need to find
our support group — family, friends, companion, therapy gatherings,
team, church or whatever. The kindergarten admonition applies as long as
we live: “When you go out into the world, hold hands and stick
together.” It’s dangerous out there — lonely, too. Everyone needs
someone. Some assembly is always required.  
–Robert Fulghum

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