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Sibelius – Belshazzar’s Feast

Video-masterclass with: Michael Cox – Principal BBC Symphony Orchestra

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Belshazzar’s Feast is incidental music by Jean Sibelius to a play of the same name by the journalist, poet and playwright Hjalmar Fredrik Eugen Procopé.



First Performance: 

The first performance of the play and its incidental music was at the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki on 7 November 1906, conducted by the composer. It had 21 performances through to January 1907.


Incidental music
1. Alla marcia (Act I)
2a. Nocturne (a prelude to Act II)
2b. The Jewish Girl’s Song (Act II)
3. Allegretto (Act III)
4. Dance of Life (Act III)
5. Dance of Death (Act III)
6. (Part of No. 4)
7. Tempo sostenuto (Act IV)
8. Allegro (Act IV)
9. (Repeat of No. 4)
10. (Repeat of No. 5)

The suite was scored for two flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, tambourine, triangle) and strings.

  1. Oriental March (originally Alla marcia)
  2. Solitude (originally The Jewish Girl’s Song)
  3. Nocturne (originally Prelude: Notturno)
  4. Khadra’s Dance (originally Dance of Life and Dance of Death)

Video lesson by:

Michael Cox

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