The name of JEAN SIBELIUS (in his youth he adopted the French pronunciation of his name, in keeping with the spirit of the prevalent esteem for France and its culture), spawns in the minds of listeners worldwide the notion of unusually beautiful music, pervaded by evocative images and suggestive of the specific atmosphere of Nordic Scandinavian scenery. Founder of the Finnish school of composition, he is the first artist to bring organically together Nordic epic legends and Finland’s national music tradition with the achievements of European musical culture from the late Romantic era.
A versatile author, Sibelius left extensive creative legacy in almost every genre – seven symphonies, symphonic poems and suites, chamber works, choral and solo songs, incidental music to theatrical productions of plays by Maeterlinck, Shakespeare and Strindberg, as well as Masonic music. Especial popularity in the world orchestral repertoire was achieved by such works of his as his symphonies, the Violin Concerto, the symphonic poem Finland, the Karelia Suite, the short orchestral piece Valse triste, the symphonic picture The Swan of Tuonela, part of the larger Lemminkäinen Suite, and others.
Raised in a family with tradition in domestic chamber musicianship, Sibelius initially aspired to master violin performance and the violin remained forever his favourite instrument, to which he has entrusted a central role in large-scale symphonic mediums. But the composer very quickly discovered that his true creative talent lay in the genre of the symphony.