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: Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82

Browse 51-75 of 98 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 4 & 5 / Herbert Von Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09027 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 / Levine, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445865 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 1-7, Etc / Simon Rattle
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 753 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Sibelius: Symphonies 5-7, Orchestral Works / Collins, Jensen
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4429493 Release Date: 09/08/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Anthony Collins,  Thomas Jensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    The Essential Sibelius
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1697 Release Date: 11/28/2006   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Laura Vikman,  Silva Koskela,  Tiila Kangas,  Ulla Lampela  ... 
    Conductor:  Jorma Panula,  Astrid Riska,  Osmo Vänskä,  Robert Sund  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempera String Quartet,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Jubilate Choir  ... 
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  • 57.
    Sibelius: Violin Concerto, Symphony No 5 / Gonley, Leaper
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 516290 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Stephanie Gonley
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Sibelius: Symphonies / Blomstedt, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000689202 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Etc / Segerstam, Et Al
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 03/21/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Pekka Kuusisto
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra,  Polytech Male Choir
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  • 60.
    Gemini - Sibelius: Symphonies No 5-7, Etc / Paavo Berglund
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76951 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 61.
    The Karajan Collection - Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 5
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76882 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Sibelius - Historic Recordings / Kajanus, Et Al
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 27801 Release Date: 07/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Robert Kajanus,  Georg Schnéevoigt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Finnish National Radio Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 3 & 5 / Segerstam, Helsinki Po
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1035 Release Date: 11/23/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Bernstein Collectors Edition - Sibelius, Etc
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000218302 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Sibelius: The Symphonies, Etc / Vladimir Ashkenazy, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000121902 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Elisabeth Söderström,  Boris Belkin
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Trio - Sibelius: Complete Symphonies / Karajan, Kamu, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000048302 Release Date: 07/01/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Okko Kamu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 1 & 5 / Levi, Atlanta SO
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80246 Release Date: 11/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Sibelius: Symphonies, Violin Concerto, Etc / Maazel, Rachlin
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 87882 Release Date: 11/19/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Julian Rachlin
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 / Rattle, City Of Birmingham
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 64122 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 2 & 5 / Saraste, Finnish Radio So
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 388434 Release Date: 02/19/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 1, 4, 5 & 6, Karelia / Karajan
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 74858 Release Date: 02/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Original Jacket Collection - Leonard Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89750 Release Date: 12/04/2001   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Jean Sibelius,  Gustav Mahler,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Raymond Sabinsky,  Leonard Bernstein
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies / Vänskä, Lahti So
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1286/8 Release Date: 09/25/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lahti Symphony Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 5, Karelia Suite / Gibson, Lso
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 468488 Release Date: 07/11/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Franz Liszt,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 5;  Nielsen: Symphony No 4 / Rattle
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 64737 Release Date: 05/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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