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Sometimes it’s luck of the draw when it comes to what composer’s works make it, long-term. A look at Jean Sibelius

Sometimes it’s luck of the draw when it comes to what composer’s works make it, long-term. A look at Jean Sibelius featured image

December 8, 2019

Most people would name only Finlandia off the top of their heads if asked “What is Siblelius known for?” His reputation was made on a few symphonies, some tone poems (a one-movement symphonic work that’s descriptive in nature), and his Violin Concerto. However, many of his compositions were hit and miss, and his overall output (over a hundred songs, piano pieces, 50 works for violin and piano, choruses, a couple of string quartets, and an opera – who knew?)  didn’t become part of the standard repertoire.

Finlandia, one of the most famous tone poems written, was an unofficial anthem, first performed in 1900 at a time Finland was dealing with increased censorship from the Russian Empire. It starts with a dark, melodramatic statement by the brass section and the timpanist goes wild. It eventually calms down into lyrical melodies, and takes us back up the roller coaster to a rousing finale that makes you want to stand up and cheer. It makes you feel, for a moment, that you are a proud Finn.

Jean Sibelius was born December 8, 1865 in Hämeenlinna, Finland, and died September 20, 1957, in Helsinki.

#ComposerBirthdayClassicalFM

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