We open the 22-23 Season with two rarely heard, but engaging symphonies. Sibelius’s 7th is his final symphony, a study in compact form, almost as if the entire Romantic period has collapsed on itself like a dying star. Lasting merely 20 minutes, this symphony nonetheless has 4 encapsulated movements and enough emotional sweep to take the audience on a memorable journey through the Finnish imagination. When the work was written in 1924, it was a surprise to audiences both in its brevity and depth. Similarly, Shostakovich’s 9th Symphony, written in 1945, was expected to be a grand testament of victory. What Shostakovich gave us, however, was one of his shortest symphonies, albeit a 5-movement work that expresses the happiness of a great weight being lifted, the end of WWII. It is indeed joyous, but also contains the touch of sardonic wit expected from this master’s works. Offsetting these two brief masterpieces, principal oboist Hilary Coon moves to the front of the stage to play Marcello’s endearing oboe concerto, with one of the most beautiful melodies in all the Baroque repertoire.