by Andrew Barnett


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The most balanced and complete biography of Sibelius to date, published on the 50th anniversary of the great composer’s death

Informed by a wealth of information that has come to light in recent years, this engaging biography tells the complete story of the life and musical work of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Drawing on Sibelius’s own correspondence and diaries, contemporary reviews, and the remarks of family and friends, the book presents a rich account of the events of the musician’s life. In addition, this volume is the first to set every work and performable fragment by Sibelius in its historical and musical context. Filling a significant gap, the biography also provides the first accurate information about much of the composer’s early music.

Writing for the general music-lover, Andrew Barnett combines his own extensive knowledge of Sibelius’s music with the insights of other scholars and musicians. He lays to rest a number of myths and untruths—that Sibelius wrote no chamber music of value, for example, and that he stopped composing in 1926 and didn’t need to compose to earn a living. Barnett completes the volume with the most thorough worklist available and an authoritative chronology of Sibelius’s entire output.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300163971
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 763,213
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Andrew Barnett is founder and chairman of the UK Sibelius Society. He lives in Brighton, England.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface and acknowledgements xi

Note on spellings and abbreviations xiii

1 Sibelius's childhood and youth: 1865-1885 1

2 Chamber music from Helsinki, Korpo and Lovisa: 1885-1889 15

3 Berlin and Vienna: 1889-1891 52

4 Kullervo: 1892-1893 71

5 The tone painter and poet: 1894-1898 89

6 A symphony and the death of a child: 1899-1900 123

7 Finland's own Beethoven-the Second Symphony: 1901-1903 143

8 The Violin Concerto and first years at Ainola: 1904-1906 160

9 Young classicism-the Third Symphony: 1907-1909 181

10 The Fourth Symphony and Expressionism: 1910-1912 203

11 A visit to America: 1913-1914 228

12 Miniatures and the Fifth Symphony: 1914-1919 243

13 The Sixth Symphony: 1920-1923 287

14 The Seventh Symphony and Tapiola: 1923-1926 304

15 Life and works of the later years: 1927-1957 324

Conclusions 352

Notes 355


I Music examples 360

II Catalogue of works Jean Sibelius 374

III Select bibliography 419

IV Select discography 421

V Family tree 427

VI Map of southern Finland 428

Index 429

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