Jean Sibelius is widely regarded as Finland’s most influential and revolutionary voice. The incredible compositions of Sibelius reflect the sheer determination and raw emotions of the Finnish people in the Independence fight from Russia. Finlandia, one of his greatest compositions of all time, is the unofficial national anthem of Finland. He is the country’s best composer; therefore, picking out just a few of his best compositions is difficult. If you are starting with Sibelius music, here are some of the best compositions by Jean Sibelius to check out:
Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82:
Symphony No. 5 premiered on his fiftieth birthday, which had been declared a National Holiday by the Finnish Government. Two major revisions were done on the original version; the final revision was done in 1919. Symphony No.5 is also said to have one of the greatest composition finales of all time. The fifth Symphony is unusually long, lasting more than thirty minutes. Out of all Sibelius compositions, this one is the only one where every movement is in a major key of the musical instruments. This piece of composition only has three movements – the first one starts slow and ends in a fast scherzo, the second one is a calm intermezzo, and the third and final one features the famous swan theme.
Symphony No.2 in D-Major, Op. 43:
The work on Symphony No.2 started soon after the success of Finlandia and was released in 1902. This musical work has successfully demonstrated his unparalleled restraint as a composer. Most of the composition of Symphony No.2 was done while Jean was traveling to Italy with his wife. During the initial stages of composition, Jean Sibelius was set on producing tone poems, which formed into a full-fledged symphony towards the end of his composition. Symphony No. 2 is said to have evolved through two major revisions before reaching its final form.
Finlandia, Op. 26:
The tone poem Finlandia was written in 1899 and is one of the most famous works of Jean Sibelius. The song was a covert protest against Russian censorship, which gave the Finnish people a lot of strength and courage. The tone poem underwent a major revision in 1900 when he arranged the work of solo piano performance. One of the interesting facts is that Finlandia was performed under alternate names to avoid Russian censorship, which evoked the freedom struggle of Finland. Unsurprisingly, Finlandia is regarded as the unofficial national anthem of Finland.
Karelia Suite, Op. 11:
Released in 1893, Karelia Suite is one of the notable works of the Finnish composer. It is one of the earlier works of Jean Sibelius and has successfully transformed his music career trajectory into what it is today. The average length of the Karelia Suite is about fifteen minutes and consists of three movements. It is also important to note that earlier, the part of Finland, Karelia, now belongs to Russia. The movements of the Karelia Suite are borrowed from the Karelia Music, which definitely captured the spirit of Finland.