Monday, 12 September 2011

Jean Sibelius

Johan Julius Christian Sibelius was born on December 8, 1865. He was born into a Swedish speaking family when Finland was a Grand Duchy of Russia. His parents sent him to a Finnish language school. From age 15, he wanted to be a violin virtuoso.
He was a Finnish composer in the Romantic period. He composed 7 symphonies; each symphony was built on what he learned in the last. Some of his best known compositions were Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse Trieste, the Violin Concerto in D minor, and the Swan of Tuonela. He also wrote music based on the Kalevala. The Kalevala is a poem based on Finnish legends, history, and mythology (with hundreds of pages).
Jean Sibelius married Aino Järnefeldt and had 6 daughters. He was on the Finnish 100 Mark bill until 2002 when Finland changed from the Mark to the Euro. He died on the 20th of September 1957.
The Sibelius monument was opened on September 7, 1967. It was made from 600 hollow steel pipes welded together. It weighs 26 tonnes. It was designed by Eila Huiltunen and is located in Sibelius Park in the Töölö district of Helsinki. We can walk there in 5 minutes from where we are staying.
These links are both to performances of Finlandia. The first has nice scenery of Finland as well.