Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Episodes

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01Janne20180212

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the man who is almost universally recognised as Finland's greatest ever composer - Jean Sibelius. Sibelius's music went a long way towards establishing a sense of national musical identity in Finland - a tradition that has flourished there ever since. Sibelius felt a strong connection with his homeland and the nature which flourished there, and the nationalist flavour of his works was highly appealing to a Finnish audience at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia. In this episode, Donald explores Sibelius's youth as a promising violinist, the early impressions which the Finnish natural world had on the budding musician, and his time studying in both Helsinki and Berlin.

Vattendroppar, JS 216
Yoshiko Arai (violin)
Seppo Kimanen (cello)

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 47
Lisa Batiashvili (violin)
Staatskapelle Berlin
Daniel Barenboim (conductor)

Serenad
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
Bengt Forsberg (piano)

Piano Quintet in G minor, JS159 - 1st movement
Folke Gräsbeck (piano)
Laura Vikman (violin)
Jaakko Kuusisto (violin)
Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic (viola)
Joel Laakso (cello)

Producer: Sam Phillips.

02From Happiness To Despair20180213

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the man who is almost universally recognised as Finland's greatest ever composer - Jean Sibelius. Sibelius's music went a long way towards establishing a sense of national musical identity in Finland - a tradition that has flourished there ever since. Sibelius felt a strong connection with his homeland and the nature which flourished there, and the nationalist flavour of his works was highly appealing to a Finnish audience at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia. In today's episode, Donald explores Sibelius's rise to prominence with his first big success, Kullervo, the Lemminkainen Suite and his First Symphony; and the problems - both financial and marital - which followed as a result of Sibelius's heavy drinking.

Kullervo's Death (Kullervo)
Karita Mattila (soprano)
Jorma Hynninen (baritone)
Laulun Ystävät Male Choir
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi (conductor)

Impromptu in B minor, Op 5 No 5
Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)

The Swan of Tuonela (Lemminkainen Suite)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam (conductor)

Symphony No 1 (Finale)
Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vanska (conductor)

Malinconia
Steven Isserlis (cello)
Olli Mustonen (piano)

Producer: Sam Phillips.

03Drowning Sorrows20180214

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the man who is almost universally recognised as Finland's greatest ever composer - Jean Sibelius. Sibelius's music went a long way towards establishing a sense of national musical identity in Finland - a tradition that has flourished there ever since. Sibelius felt a strong connection with his homeland and the nature which flourished there, and the nationalist flavour of his works was highly appealing to a Finnish audience at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia. In today's programme, Donald focuses on the political turmoil in Finland before the outbreak of the First World War, which included an arrest for Sibelius. He also charts a few of the composer's musical triumphs, including his Second Symphony which was adopted as an anthem of national freedom, and increasing personal troubles as his drinking spiralled out of control.

Finlandia Hymn
Dominate Choir
Seppo Murto (director)

Symphony No 2 (Finale)
Hallé
Mark Elder (conductor)

In Memoriam
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam (conductor)

Pohjola's Daughter
Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vanska (conductor)

The Maiden with the Roses (Swanwhite Suite)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

Producer: Sam Phillips.

04A Mountain To Be Climbed20180215

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the man who is almost universally recognised as Finland's greatest ever composer - Jean Sibelius. Sibelius's music went a long way towards establishing a sense of national musical identity in Finland - a tradition that has flourished there ever since. Sibelius felt a strong connection with his homeland and the nature which flourished there, and the nationalist flavour of his works was highly appealing to a Finnish audience at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia. In today's programme, Donald explores Sibelius's years of enforced sobriety and his attempts to settle his mounting debts as the First World War loomed on the horizon. We'll hear from his next two symphonies - his 4th and 5th - along with one of Sibelius's most performed works - the Valse triste from his incidental music to the play Kuomela.

Valse triste (Kuomela)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Lorin Maazel (conductor)

Symphony No 4
BBC Philharmonic
John Storgards (conductor)

Bells of Kallio Church
1996 Recording - Kallio Church, Helsinki, Finland

Symphony No 5 (Finale)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis (conductor)

Producer: Sam Phillips.

05A Mystery At The End20180216

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the man who is almost universally recognised as Finland's greatest ever composer - Jean Sibelius. Sibelius's music went a long way towards establishing a sense of national musical identity in Finland - a tradition that has flourished there ever since. Sibelius felt a strong connection with his homeland and the nature which flourished there, and the nationalist flavour of his works was highly appealing to a Finnish audience at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia. In the final programme of the week, Donald focuses on Sibelius's final years when his period of abstinence from alcohol and cigars lapsed, he worked on the mysterious Eighth Symphony, and then retreated to the "silence of Järvenpää".

Two Schybergson Songs, JS 224
Sångsällskapet Orphei Drangar
Robert Sund (director)

Symphony No 6
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis (conductor)

Chorus of the Winds; Prospero; Dance Episode (The Tempest Suite No 2)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi (conductor)

Andante festivo
Finnish Radio Orchestra
Jean Sibelius (conductor)

Song of My Heart, Op 18 no 6
Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat Male Voice Choir
Matti Hyokki (director).