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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: Violin Concerto / Pike, Davis, Bergen
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5134   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Finlandia, Karelia Suite, Etc / Sakari, Iceland So
Release Date: 09/28/1999   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554265   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Piano Music Vol 3 / Håvard Gimse
Release Date: 08/21/2001   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554814   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Piano Miniatures / Håvard Gimse
Release Date: 06/17/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555363   Number of Discs: 1
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Sibelius: Scènes Historiques 1 And 2, King Christian II / Inkinen, New Zealand SO
Release Date: 01/29/2008   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570068   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pohjola's daughter, Op. 49

Browse 1-25 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 & 5; Pohjola's Daughter / Sargent, Bbc Symphony
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2414 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Sibelius: The Essential Orchestral Favourites With Photo Album
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 12652 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Pekka Kuusisto
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Jean Sibelius
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  • 3.
    Sibelius: Symphonies 5-7, Orchestral Works / Collins, Jensen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002126502 Release Date: 10/14/2014   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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  • 4.
    Colin Davis Conducts Sibelius
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 431352 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Hillevi Martinpelto,  Karl Magnus Fredriksson
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 5.
    Sir Colin Davis - The Complete RCA Legacy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300607 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Barbara Fleckenstein,  Ben Heppner,  Heinrich Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
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  • 6.
    Sir Colin Davis - Anthology
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 766 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Michelle DeYoung,  Petra Lang,  Sara Mingardo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 7.
    The Great Recordings / Malcolm Sargent [18-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634121 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  James Milligan,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Huddersfield Choral Society,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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  • 8.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Orchestral Works / Barbirolli, Halle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 8470624 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 2, Oceanides / Elder, Halle
    Label: Hallé   Catalog: 7516 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Mark Elder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tone Poems / Sanderling, Sinaisky
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9439 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Maria Jogeva
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Vassili Sinaisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Colin Davis: The Philips Years [15-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001850302 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Claudio Arrau,  Jessye Norman,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $76.99
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  • 13.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vol 7: 2000-2010
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 12004 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Richard Strauss,  Alphons Diepenbrock,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Vesko Eschkenazy,  Godfried Hoogeveen,  Lars Vogt,  Jorgen Van Rijen  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Elder,  Lorin Maazel,  Claus Peter Flor,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    On sale! $246.98
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  • 14.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 15.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tone Poems / Colin Davis, Boston Symphony Orchestra [5-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001677102 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $31.99
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  • 16.
    Sibelius Symphonies 1-7, Finlandia, Karelia Suite / Oramo
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 662795 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 1-3 / Bernstein, New York
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47619 Release Date: 02/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Phyllis Curtin
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 18.
    Sibelius: Symphony No. 5; Lutoslawski: Concerto For Orchestra / Saraste, London Philharmonic
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Sibelius Edition Vol 13 - Miscellaneous Works
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1936/38 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Harri Viitanen
    Conductor:  Jean Sibelius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonic Poems / Sinaisky, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9212 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Maria Jogeva
    Conductor:  Vassili Sinaisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Arturo Toscanini - The XX Century
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 416 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ferde Grofé,  Zoltán Kodály,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 22.
    Sir Adrian Boult Conducts Sibelius
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 93 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Sir John Barbirolli - The Great EMI Recordings - 40th Anniversary
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57767 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giacomo Puccini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  André Navarra
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 5, Finlandio / Salonen
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66234 Release Date: 04/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 4 & 7 / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 38124 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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