Besides this year being the 70th year of the end of World War II as well as the 70th year of the death of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, and the 150th year of the end of Honest Abe Lincoln’s war of aggression against seceding states, this year is also the 150th year of the birth of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. You’ve probably heard his famous composition, Finlandia.
In total contrast to all the destruction caused by Honest Abe and all the other politicians and bureaucrats in their aforementioned wars, Sibelius’s productivity in music was creative and phenomenal, and provided for millions and millions of symphony musicians and concert-goers for over a century now. His Symphony No. 1 was premiered in 1899 and revised in 1900.
Sibelius lived from 1865 to 1957 and was Finland’s most famous composer and one of Europe’s most well-known early 20th century composers. Sadly, while he had composed many works including 7 symphonies, he did not compose during the last 30 years of his life. However, he supposedly attempted to compose an 8th symphony but had never felt approving of his ideas in that work and was therefore never able to complete it.
Here is a performance of the Sibelius Symphony No. 1 with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Apparently this is from the DVD for which these artists made the recordings between 1986 and 1990. They recorded Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 1,2,5, and 7, but were not able to finish the complete set, as Bernstein had died in October, 1990.