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Jean Sibelius

Jean Julius Christian Sibelius (December 8, 1865 - September 20, 1957) was a composer of classical music. He belongs together with Johan Ludvig Runeberg to the Finns who most of all symbolize the Finnish national identity.

Jean Sibelius was born in 1865 into a Finland-Swedish family in Hämeenlinna[?] in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. His family followed the emerging norm of the Fennomans[?] enrolling him in Finnish language schools.

His most famous compositions are probably Finlandia, Valse Triste[?], the Karelia suite[?] and the Swan of Tuonela[?], a movement from his Lemminkäinen suite[?], but he wrote much else besides, including other pieces inspired by the Kalevala and seven symphonies. These are:

  • Symphony No. 1 in E minor Opus 39 (1899)
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major Opus 43 (1902)
  • Symphony No. 3 in C major Opus 52 (1906)
  • Symphony No. 4 in A minor Opus 64 (1911)
  • Symphony No. 5 in E flat major Opus 82 (1915 revised 1916 and 1919)
  • Symphony No. 6 in D minor Opus 104 (1923)
  • Symphony No. 7 in C major Opus 105 (1924)

Sibelius (as reported in the Manchester Guardian newspaper in 1958) summed up the style of his later works by saying that while other composers were engaged in manufacturing cocktails he offered the public pure cold water.

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