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Sibelius, Jean

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and Scandinavia's most famous symphonic composer. Sibelius attended the Finnish Normal School, the first Finnish-language school in Russian-controlled Finland. He became acquainted with Finnish literature, especially the Kalevala, Finland's mythological epic, which served as a constant inspiration for him. Despite his intentions to pursue a legal profession, he dropped out of law school in Helsinki and focused solely on music. He wanted to be a violinist at first. He wrote a lot of chambers and instrumental music under the direction of Martin Wegelius. In preference to his baptismal titles, he adopted Jean's name, which he used during his legal career. He left Finland in his mid-twenties to pursue his studies in Berlin and Vienna, where he studied with composers Robert Fuchs and Karl Goldmark.

A presentation of his first large-scale orchestral piece, the Kullervo Symphony (1892), caused quite a stir upon his return to Finland. En Saga (1892), the Karelia music, and the Four Legends cemented his reputation as Finland's foremost composer. The Swan of Tuonela, the third of Four Legends' four symphonic poems, is a well-known piece (1893). The Finnish Senate awarded Sibelius a small life pension in 1897, only before the release of his Symphony No. 1 in E Minor (1899), in honor of his brilliance. Finlandia, his tone poem, was published in 1899 and updated in 1900. Sibelius' 1890s works are that of a Romantic nationalist musician employed in the Romantic tradition. Sibelius' popularity spread through Europe in the first decade of the twentieth century. Ferruccio Busoni, a pianist-composer with whom he had established a relationship as a student in Helsinki, conducted his Symphony No. 2 in D Major (1901) in Berlin, and Granville Bantock, a British composer, commissioned his Symphony No. 3 in C Major (1907). Sibelius stepped away from the national romanticism of the second symphony and the Violin Concerto in D Minor (1903) with this piece, opting for a more searching and uncompromising style of expression in En Saga and the Symphony No. 4 in A Minor (1911). He wrote his best works during World War I, the last three symphonies (No. 5 in E-flat Major, No. 6 in D Minor, and No. 7 in C Major) and Tapiola (1925), but then became silent for the rest of his life. Rumors of a ninth symphony and even an eighth symphony (promised for performance in the early 1930s) were baseless. He died without leaving any manuscripts behind. Cecil Gray and Constant Lambert in England, and Olin Downes in the United States, sparked a craze for Sibelius in the 1930s. Despite a backlash from the following century, Sibelius maintained his dominance of the artistic public. While his inspiration was deeply rooted in the Scandinavian scenery, he is not well known for his work as a nature poet. The key to his success in both the symphonic poetry and the seven symphonies is his exceptional style control. The third symphony's first movement has the clarity of constructing a Haydn or Mozart first movement, but its organic harmony and architecture surpass both. The secret to his brilliance lay in his ability to evolve organically.

Violin Compositions of Jean Sibelius | Animato Strings


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