Celebration of Sibelius’ 150th Birthday

Sibelius

The Finnish composer Sibelius  1865 – 1957, has been celebrated all year culminating yesterday at his birthday. Never before have I heard so much of his music in one day. All day via my Danish Radio and in the evening live transmission from the town Hämeenlinna he was born not far from Helsinki. All over Finland flags were raised for his sake and many concerts were held to his honor.

Listening to his symphonies yesterday and today convinced me of his great importance for Finland. Finland is a very new country as they only got their independence 98 years ago.

His native language was Swedish and only after his tenth year he was taught Finnish. He was drawn to the sagas of the Finnish tradition, but all his life he spoke and wrote in Swedish. Finland has been under Swedish supremely first and then Russian.

This week in our Danish classical radio channel the CD of the week was chosen to be his seven symphonies. To listen to them is a time travel in his compositions.

His music is creating imagination and is both dark and tragic  and has lots of beautiful melodies. He uses lots of instruments strings, wind, kettledrums and percussion and you just feel the impressive landscapes with wild animals in lakes and forests.

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My husband and I visited his house Ainola , where he lived from 1904-1957. The name is similar to the name of his wife Aino. It was not so easy to find, hiding between trees in the countryside. We were not allowed to take pictures inside unfortunately.

He is buried there and didn’t compose anything the last 30 years.

25 Comments »

    • The Swedish speaking minority in Finland has done the fundamental work of establishing the state. It is still difficult with two so different languages in the same country. I have a friend in Finland who’s ancestors was somehow a pioneer.

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  1. I was able to attend a performance of Sibelius’ Kullervo at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. I really enjoyed it! It was the first piece of that composer I heard. I bought the record and much later I bought a recording with the violinist Lisa Batiashvili with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47. Today is an excellent day to refresh my Sibelius experience to keep me going through one more office day. So watch that Twitter TL, people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Stevie for reading and commenting. Just imagine being so self critical that he didn’t write anything during his last 30 years. I just ordered CDs on all his symphonies played by the Lahti symphony orchestra. They are specialists on him

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  2. Hej hej. good article. I completely agree with you on the visual power of Sibelius’ music. But don’t forget that it was also Carl Nielsen’s 150th the 9th of June and it is interesting that these two important Northern composers, with two very distinct styles, were absolutely contemporary.

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