Jean Sibelius

(1865-1957)

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

The pre-eminent composer of Finland, which inspired him with its countryside and mythical traditions. A Romanticist in the Teutonic tradition, he nonetheless had a distinctive personal style, a melancholic one for the most part. His seven symphonies demonstrate his rich use of orchestral textures, found also in the tone poems Finlandia and The Swan of Tuonela. At 36 he was awarded a pension for life by the Finnish State, so that he could compose at leisure, but from 1926 onwards he ceased to compose. His distinctive bald head was not natural, but shaved so that his greyness would not be noticed.

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