Brief synopsis' of the most popular classical music by
aka Johan Julius Christian Sibelius
Finnish, Hameenlinna 8 DEC 1865 ~ Jarvenpaa, 20 SEP 1957
Stage Works, Orchestral Works, 7 Symphonies
Chamber and Vocal Works
Sibelius, Jean Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in d, Op 47
Sibelius En Saga
FP in 1893 but it was not a success. It was revised in 1901 and it's this
version that is heard today. There is no detailed program, but the piece
is nordic in atmosphere as were most of Sibelius' works.
Sketches of this work date from 1894, but not heard until about 1899. Then
in November the Finns staged some works from their past as a patriotic
demonstration against the Russian government which was suppressing free
speech. Called 'Finland Awakes' the work became 'Finlandia' in a 1900
revision. But still the work was forbidden and heard as 'Impromptu' until
the Finns gained their independence in following WW I.
Sibelius Kalevala (KAH luh VALL uh) On February 28th in 1835
Elias Lonnrot published 'The Kalevala' a compilation of the ancient folk
poetry of the people of the Karelia region of Finland, celebrating Finnish
Sibelius Karelia Suite Op. 11 (KAH ray lee ah) is a region of Finland - Karjala (KAR hah
lah). This work was composed for a patriotic affair in November of 1893 with Sibelius conducting. It had
text but in 1896 he arranged the music for a suite.
Sibelius Kullervo, Op. 7
Symphonic poem for soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra His first major work, it was composed in the 1890's.
He withdrew the manuscript after performances in 1892 and 1893. In
1921, as a source for much needed income, he sold the manuscript to Kalevala Society. Maintainers of
Finnish National mythology calledL Kalevala the national Finnish epic.
Kullervo is based on a dark and brooding myth from The Kalevala . In it, Kullervo, like Oedipus, is
a victim of the fate and the violent circumstances surrounding his birth. His earlierst childhood memory is of his home
burned to the ground and his
family slain by his Uncle to whom he enslaved. Fostered in a loveless and vengeful existence he can't escape his
destiny, which has made him dangerous and violent.
Sibelius Pohjola's Daughter
Composed in 1906 (POH yoh laz) Daughter is based on a mythical folk tale
about a maiden who woos her would be lover by goading him into doing
impossible feats. Picture her seated on a rainbow at her spinning wheel.
She mocks our hero by agreeing to join him if he performs a task. She
wants him to make a boat from pieces of her spindle. It's impossible and
he decides to dump her and goes on his way leaving her to make
fools of other heros.
Sibelius Swan of Tuonela (TWAN uh luh)
A tone poem from the four legends composed in 1893 through 1895.
Sibelius Sym No 1
Composed around 1898 and FP in Finland, on April 26, 1899 with Sibelius
conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orch. The audience warmly applauded
after each movement.
Sibelius was 32 years old when he begain his first sym. His last sym, the
7th, was completed when he was 58 years old.
With its' romantic melodies it has one of the most powerful symphonic finales in
the standard repertoire. Sibelius wrote seven symphonies between 1899 and 1923.
This second symphony in D major, his opus 43, is the one that is most frequently
performed. He conducted the FP in Helsingfors on March 8, 1902.
The Finnish composer wrote in a restrained and austere form of
Often on nationalistic Finnish subjects. His seven symphonies were written
between 1898 and 1924 and reflect the development of his style from
melodic to ruggedly austere. His 3rd Symphony in C major, Op 52, was
written in 1907.
No 4 in a, Op 63
He called it the dream Sym in 1924. A mood work depicting the Mountains
and a hiker.
No 5 in E flat Op
Sibelius wrote seven symphonies beween 1899 and 1923. The fifth almost as
popular as the second.
The sym was finished just in time for his 50th birthday in December of
1915. The work was premiered in Helsingfors, Finland. Then edited at that
later revised and heard the
following year. This too was revised and appeared for the first time in
its' present form in 1919 in the capital city Helsinki under Sibelius
No 6 in d, Op
A four MMT symphony, Sibelius conducted the FP in Helsinki on February 29,
No 7 in C, Op 105
Sibelius' works have been compared to huge icebergs or granit
blocks. His 7th Sym was finished in 1924 and has a rugged
The work is in one MMT. Sibelius conducted the FP in Stockholm, Sweden on
March 24, 1924. It was his last symphony.
Sibelius Violin Concerto
The first draft was finished in 1903 during a period of personal strife and heavy drinking. He was anxious to finish the work to pay off some debts. The FP of the work was not received well and he took the critical advice and prepared a revision. It was finished in 1904 and warmly appreciated after the FP in its new form.