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Composer of the Week: Jean Sibelius

photo courtesy of www.naxos.com

photo courtesy of www.naxos.com

Jean Sibelius rocks!! And that, my friends, is why he is our composer of the week.

b. December 8, 1865

d. September 20, 1957

A national hero in Finland, Jean Sibelius (click here for pronunciation) was a late Romantic Era composer. He was most known for his seven symphonies, each one marking a new stage in his compositional maturation. Sibelius also wrote over 100 songs, music for 13 plays, an opera, various chamber works, and masonic ritual music.

Encompassing romanticism, impressionism, and nationalism, Sibelius created an artistic category of his own — always introspective and often ethereal. His music is truly a pleasurable and thought-provoking aural experience.

As stated by Robert L. Jones on The Jean Sibelius Web Pages,

Sibelius speaks in a tonal language that is the voice of Finland itself:  Aloof, solitary, and cold.  Paradoxically, it also speaks for the aspirations of the Finnish people – proudly, triumphantly, rebelliously.  It is impossible to enter the bleak, yet fascinating, landscape of Sibelius’ music and then leave.

Where to start:

-Sibelius wrote many famous works including Finlandia, Valse Trieste, Karelia Suite, his violin concerto, and his seventh symphony. They are all uniquely fabulous. And honestly, I highly recommend all of Sibelius’ symphonies.

-Check out last.fm for some sound clips of his work.

Below is a video of Sibelius’ nationalistic Finlandia:

Here’s the first movement Sibelius’ fifth symphony. A really fantastic piece.

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