Hämeenlinna, 1865 – Järvenpää, 1957

Jan Sibelius

Sibelius was the musical symbol of national Finnish identity.
Born under Russian domination, he belongs to a trend of nationalistic music, as well as to those who were proposing solutions to the crisis of 19th century music. On the one hand, his music tried to rekindle a vital relationship with the traditional music of Finland while escaping from the influence of the occasionally pedantic, grand Italo-Franco-German musical tradition. On the other hand, in opposition to what the School of Vienna advocated – such as composers like Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern abandoning tonality to build their own harmonic system – Sibelius tried to find new inspiration in the oldest of traditions: medieval modal music which had been forgotten by successive efforts of mainstream musical development but was still alive in folklore. Among his more well-known compositions are the symphonic poems Finlandia and KareliaValse Triste, the Concerto for violin and orchestra and The Swan of Tuonela.

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