Jean Sibelius

Biography

Born: Dec 8, 1865; Finland   Died: Sep 20, 1957; Finland   Period: 20th Century
Finland's Jean Sibelius is perhaps the most important composer associated with nationalism in music and one of the most influential in the development of the symphony and symphonic poem. Sibelius was born in southern Finland, the second of three children. His physician father left the family bankrupt, owing to his financial extravagance, a trait that, along with heavy drinking, he would pass on to Jean. Jean showed talent on the violin and at age Read more nine composed his first work for it, Rain Drops. In 1885 Sibelius entered the University of Helsinki to study law, but after only a year found himself drawn back to music. He took up composition studies with Martin Wegelius and violin with Mitrofan Wasiliev, then Hermann Csillag. During this time he also became a close friend of Busoni. Though Sibelius auditioned for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he would come to realize he was not suited to a career as a violinist.

In 1889 Sibelius traveled to Berlin to study counterpoint with Albert Becker, where he also was exposed to new music, particularly that of Richard Strauss. In Vienna he studied with Karl Goldmark and then Robert Fuchs, the latter said to be his most effective teacher. Now Sibelius began pondering the composition of the Kullervo Symphony, based on the Kalevala legends. Sibelius returned to Finland, taught music, and in June 1892, married Aino Järnefelt, daughter of General Alexander Järnefelt, head of one of the most influential families in Finland. The premiere of Kullervo in April 1893 created a veritable sensation, Sibelius thereafter being looked upon as the foremost Finnish composer. The Lemminkäinen suite, begun in 1895 and premiered on April 13, 1896, has come to be regarded as the most important music by Sibelius up to that time.

In 1897 the Finnish Senate voted to pay Sibelius a short-term pension, which some years later became a lifetime conferral. The honor was in lieu of his loss of an important professorship in composition at the music school, the position going to Robert Kajanus. The year 1899 saw the premiere of Sibelius' First Symphony, which was a tremendous success, to be sure, but not quite of the magnitude of that of Finlandia (1899; rev. 1900).

In the next decade Sibelius would become an international figure in the concert world. Kajanus introduced several of the composer's works abroad; Sibelius himself was invited to Heidelberg and Berlin to conduct his music. In March 1901, the Second Symphony was received as a statement of independence for Finland, although Sibelius always discouraged attaching programmatic ideas to his music. His only concerto, for violin, came in 1903. The next year Sibelius built a villa outside of Helsinki, named "Ainola" after his wife, where he would live for his remaining 53 years. After a 1908 operation to remove a throat tumor, Sibelius was implored to abstain from alcohol and tobacco, a sanction he followed until 1915. It is generally believed that the darkening of mood in his music during these years owes something to the health crisis.

Sibelius made frequent trips to England, having visited first in 1905 at the urging of Granville Bantock. In 1914 he traveled to Norfolk, CT, where he conducted his newest work The Oceanides. Sibelius spent the war years in Finland working on his Fifth Symphony. Sibelius traveled to England for the last time in 1921. Three years later he completed his Seventh Symphony, and his last work was the incidental music for The Tempest (1925). For his last 30 years Sibelius lived a mostly quiet life, working only on revisions and being generally regarded as the greatest living composer of symphonies. In 1955 his 90th birthday was widely celebrated throughout the world with many performances of his music. Sibelius died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1957. Read less

Sibelius: Symphony No 2, Karelia Suite, Finlandia / Mackerras
Release Date: 09/13/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28920   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Symphony No 5, En Saga, Swan of Tuonela, Valse Triste / Schmidt, RPO
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28910   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Violin Concerto / Jennifer Pike, Andrew Davis, Bergen Philharmonic
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5134   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius, Ades: Violin Concertos / Hadelich, Lintu
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2276   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Symphonies No 1-7, Kullervo / Davis, London SO
Release Date: 10/13/2009   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 191   Number of Discs: 4
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Work: Swan of Tuonela

Browse 26-50 of 96 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    19th Century Masterpieces
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 98317 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Paul Dukas,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Ormandy,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Icon - Leopold Stokowski - The Maverick Conductor
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 98555 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Pietro Antonio Cesti,  Ernest Bloch,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 28.
    Everybody's  Sibelius / Yoel Levi, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80760 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 29.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 2, Swan Of Tuonela, Finlandia (with chorus) / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38056 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra Chorus
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  • 30.
    Grieg: Holberg Suite;  Sibelius: Karelia / Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412727 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 31.
    Yevgeny Mravinsky - 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1000755 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Claude Debussy,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Elena Sinitsina,  Boris Trizno
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $68.99
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  • 32.
    4 Elements - Classical Music Of Fire, Water, Air And Earth
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184592 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Performer:  Andreas Pistorius,  Jutta Zoff,  Peter Rösel,  Ute Priew  ... 
    Conductor:  Hartmut Haenchen,  Carl von Garaguly,  Václav Neumann,  Kurt Sanderling  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    Just Classics
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4766418 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Frederick Delius,  Alexander Borodin,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  David Stanhope
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  • 34.
    After Work Hour - Classical Music Selection 1
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182712 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Oskar Michallik,  Gerhard Erber,  Jutta Zoff,  Joachim Ulbricht  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Günther Herbig,  Otmar Suitner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Chamber Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 35.
    Sibelius: Finlandi; En Saga; Valse Triste; Tapiola; The Swan Of Tuonela
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 786626 Release Date: 07/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 36.
    Herbert Von Karajan 2008 - The Great Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 16091 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Ulrich Koch,  Sviatoslav Richter,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    Sibelius: Symphonic Poems / Sanderling, Berlin Symphony
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 4915 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Paavo Berglund,  Kurt Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Sibelius: Tone Poems, Symphonies / Sargent, Hannikainen
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69134 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Tauno Hannikainen,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia of London,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Grieg: Holberg Suite, Sibelius: Finlandia, Etc / Boskovsky
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411933 Release Date: 01/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Willi Boskovsky,  Walter Weller,  Kazimierz Kord,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    Moods - Unfold Your Mind - Bach, Satie, Etc / Koch, Erber
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1279 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Oskar Michallik,  Gerhard Erber,  Jutta Zoff,  Joachim Ulbricht  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Günther Herbig,  Otmar Suitner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Chamber Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Sibelius: Incidental Music & Tone Poems / Berglund, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 97689 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Taru Valjakka,  Jeffrey Brown
    Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Landmarks Of A Distinguished Career / Leopold Stokowski
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65614 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Vincent Persichetti,  Jean Sibelius,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Bloom,  Julius Baker
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 2, Swan Of Tuonela / Barbirolli
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 2157 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Simply Classical Chillout
    Label: Union Square   Catalog: 1206045 Release Date: 09/04/2007  
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Ferdinand Leitner
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  • 45.
    Sibelius: Finlandia, Etc / Suitner, Berglund, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8571 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Berwald,  Jean Sibelius,  Christian Sinding,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Adele Stolte,  Egon Morbitzer
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Paavo Berglund,  Robert Hanell,  Václav Neumann  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Octet,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    The Very Best Of Sibelius
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552135 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Håvard Gimse,  Hannu Jurmu,  Jouni Somero,  Dong-Suk Kang  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Gallois,  Petri Sakari,  Adrian Leaper,  Jorma Panula
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Finlandia,  Iceland Symphony Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 47.
    Peaceful Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000703002 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Pascal Rogé,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Sir Colin Davis,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Sileo - Music For Contemplation
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8289 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Fordham,  Helmut Nicolai,  Anja Lechner,  Andreas Reiner  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Paavo Berglund,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Hartmut Haenchen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rosamunde Quartet,  Beethoven Trio Vienna,  Suske String Quartet  ... 
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  • 49.
    The Very Best Of Adagio / Karajan
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000583002 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner,  Georges Bizet,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 50.
    A Concert Tour / Alexander Gibson
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 11/23/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Jean Sibelius,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Orchestra
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