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 2 in D major, Op. 43

Browse 1-25 of 110 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Sir Colin davis - The Complete Rca Legacy [51-CD Set]
    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
    CD: $112.49
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  • 2.
    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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    On sale! $99.98
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  • 3.
    Lorin Maazel Conducts Sibelius
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7808332 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Julian Rachlin
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 4.
    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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    CD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
    CD: $148.49
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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    CD: $34.99
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  • 8.
    Sir Colin Davis - Staatskapelle Dresden
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13032 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Hector Berlioz,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Ikaia-Purdy,  Ute Selbig
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden Singakademie,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
    CD: $78.99
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  • 9.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
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  • 10.
    Schubert: Symphony No 4; Britten, Sibelius / Barbirolli, English, Baumann
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5096 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Benjamin Britten,  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Gerald English,  Hermann Baumann
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Colin Davis Conducts Sibelius
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 5431352 Release Date: 03/12/2013   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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  • 12.
    Wiener Philharmoniker Symphony Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001797302 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Karl Böhm,  Leonard Bernstein,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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  • 13.
    Icon - Arturo Toscanini [6-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 233342 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Claude Debussy,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies / Berglund, Bournemouth SO
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 736002 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4806568 Release Date: 11/20/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Yuri Ahronovitch Edition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 12042 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  César Franck,  Ottorino Respighi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Ahronovitch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 17.
    Sibelius: The Symphonies / Rozhdestvensky, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001669 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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  • 18.
    Sibelius: Symphony No. 2; Finlandia; Valse Triste
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001702202 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Okko Kamu
    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 5 / Mackerras, Schmidt, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1189 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Ole Schmidt,  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Sibelius: Symphonies No 2 & 5 / Vanska, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1986 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Sibelius: Complete Symphonies
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 132 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
    CD: $15.99
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