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  • 3 b/w illus. 57 music examples
  • Page extent: 294 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.49 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521894609 | ISBN-10: 0521894603)

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The Cambridge Companion to Sibelius

Jean Sibelius has gradually emerged as one of the most striking and influential figures in twentieth-century music, yet his work is only just beginning to receive the critical attention that its importance deserves. This Companion provides an accessible and vivid account of Sibelius’s work in its historical and cultural context. Leading international scholars, from Finland, the United States and the UK, examine Sibelius’s music from a range of critical perspectives, including nationalism, eroticism and the exotic, music and landscape, reception and musical influence. There are also chapters on recording and interpretation that offer fascinating insights into the performance of Sibelius’s work. The book includes much new material, drawing on recent scholarship, as well as providing a comprehensive introduction to Sibelius’s major musical achievements.

DANIEL M. GRIMLEY is a Lecturer in Music at the University of Nottingham. He is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Elgar (forthcoming), and has written articles on the music of Carl Nielsen in Music Analysis and The Musical Quarterly. Current projects include books on Grieg and on landscape in Nordic music, 1890–1930.

The Cambridge Companion to



Daniel M. Grimley

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© Cambridge University Press 2003

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the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2003

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Typeface Minion 10.75/14pt.      System LATEX 2ε [TB]

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data
The Cambridge companion to Sibelius / edited by Daniel M. Grimley.– (Cambridge companions to music)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 263) and index.
ISBN 0 521 81552 5 – ISBN 0 521 89460 3 (pb.)
1. Sibelius, Jean, 1865–1957 – Criticism and interpretation.   I. Grimley, Daniel M.    II. Series.
ML410.S54C36   2003   780′.92 – dc21   2003051521

ISBN 0 521 81552 5 hardback
ISBN 0 521 89460 3 paperback


  Notes on contributors [page vii]
  Acknowledgements [ix]
  Chronology of Sibelius’s life and career [x]
  Introduction Daniel M. Grimley [1]
  Part I: Forging a voice: perspectives on Sibelius’s biography
1 The national composer and the idea of Finnishness: Sibelius and the formation of Finnish musical style Matti Huttunen [7]  
2 Vienna and the genesis of Kullervo: ‘Durchführung zum Teufel!’ Glenda Dawn Goss [22]
  Part II: Musical works
3 Pastoral idylls, erotic anxieties and heroic subjectivities in Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island and first two symphonies Stephen Downes [35]
4 The later symphonies Arnold Whittall [49]
5 The genesis of the Violin Concerto Jukka Tiilikainen [66]
6 Finlandia awakens James Hepokoski [81]
7 The tone poems: genre, landscape and structural perspective Daniel M. Grimley [95]
8 Finnish modern: love, sex and style in Sibelius’s songs Jeffrey Kallberg [117]
9 Sibelius and the miniature Veijo Murtomäki [137]
  Part III: Influence and reception
10 Sub umbra Sibelii: Sibelius and his successors Ilkka Oramo [157]
11 Sibelius and Germany: Wahrhaftigkeit beyond Allnatur Tomi Mäkelä [169]
12 Sibelius in Britain Peter Franklin [182]
13 Sibelius and contemporary music Julian Anderson [196]
  Part IV: Interpreting Sibelius
14 Different kinds of fidelity: interpreting Sibelius on record Bethany Lowe [219]
15 Performing Sibelius Sir Colin Davis and Osmo Vänskä in conversation with Daniel M. Grimley [229]
  Notes [243]
  Select bibliography [263]
  Index of names and works [266]

Notes on contributors

Julian Anderson studied composition with John Lambert, Tristan Murail and Alexander Goehr. His compositions include The Stations of the Sun and Imagin’d Corners, both for orchestra, Khorovod and Alhambra Fantasy for ensemble, and Poetry Nearing Silence for septet. He is currently Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music, London. He has published numerous articles on a wide variety of new music in both English and French.

Stephen Downes is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey. His publications include two monographs on Szymanowski, and articles on Rossini, Beethoven, Schumann, Bartók, and Penderecki. He is currently working on a book entitled The Muse as Eros: Musical Constructions of Inspiration and Desire from Romantic Idealism to Modernist Anxiety.

Peter Franklin is Reader in Music at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Catherine’s College. His published work includes Mahler Symphony no. 3 (1991) and The Life of Mahler (1997). He also writes on early-twentieth-century opera and classical Hollywood film music.

Glenda Dawn Goss, formerly Professor of Musicology at the University of Georgia (Athens), has been Editor-in-Chief of the complete edition Jean Sibelius Works since 2000. She is editor and author of various books on Sibelius including Jean Sibelius and Olin Downes: Music, Friendship, Criticism (1995), The Sibelius Companion (1996) and Jean Sibelius: A Guide to Research (1998), as well as a volume of correspondence, The Hämeenlinna Letters. Jean Sibelius ungdomsbrev (1997).

Daniel M. Grimley wrote his doctoral dissertation on the music of Carl Nielsen at King’s College, Cambridge (1998), and is Lecturer in Music at the University of Nottingham. Current projects include co-editing The Cambridge Companion to Elgar with Julian Rushton, and books on Grieg and on landscape in Nordic music, 1890–1930.

James Hepokoski is Professor of Music History at Yale University and is the co-editor of the journal Nineteenth-Century Music. His most recent publications include the entry on Sibelius in the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001). In collaboration with Warren Darcy he has completed a book on classical musical structure, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata, forthcoming.

Matti Huttunen gained his doctorate from the University of Turku in 1993, and has been Professor of Music History at the Sibelius Academy since 1998. His work includes a broad range of articles and papers on music historiography, nationalism, and Finnish music, as well as a book, Jean Sibelius: Pienoiselämänkerta/An Illustrated Life (1999).

Jeffrey Kallberg is Professor of Music History at the University of Pennsylvania. He publishes widely on the music and cultural contexts of Chopin; his current projects include a study of Scandinavian song in the first half of the twentieth century.

Bethany Lowe is Lecturer in Music at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Her research interests include Sibelius, British symphonic composition, music analysis, and the relationship between analysis and performance. Her doctoral dissertation examined the structural aspects of forty-one recorded performances of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. Bethany is also Assistant Editor to the journal Music Analysis and an active conductor.

Tomi Mäkelä completed his doctorate, Virtuosität und Werkcharakter (Katzbichler: München-Salzburg 1989), in Berlin (with Carl Dahlhaus) in 1988, and his Habilitation in Helsinki (a book on 1920s chamber music) in 1990. He has been Professor of Musicology at the University of Magdeburg since 1996, and has recently written articles on music of the nineteenth (Wieniawski) and early twentieth centuries (Reger, Schoenberg, Sibelius, Stravinsky, urbanity, musical exile, film music, Finnish topics).

Veijo Murtomäki is Professor of Music History at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and author of Symphonic Unity: the Development of Formal Thinking in the Symphonies of Sibelius (Helsinki, 1993). With Professor Timothy L. Jackson, he was co-editor of Sibelius Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2001), and editor of two Sibelius Conference Reports (Helsinki, 1995 and 2000). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jean Sibelius Complete Works (1996–), and has published many articles on the music of the classical–Romantic era, especially Sibelius, in Finnish, Swedish, German, English and French.

Ilkka Oramo studied musicology under Erik Tawaststjerna (Helsinki) and Carl Dahlhaus (Berlin), and wrote his dissertation on the music of Béla Bartók (1977). He has published articles on music theory, aesthetics of music, Bartók and Finnish composers, especially Sibelius, in scholarly publications in many countries. Since 1984 he has been Professor of Music Theory at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Jukka Tiilikainen has edited Sibelius’s complete solo songs with piano for the Jean Sibelius Works. The first of three volumes, JSW Ⅷ/2, received Das Deutschen Musikeditions Preis in 1999 (Wissenschaftliche Notenausgaben [Gesamtausgaben] category). Tiilikainen’s research interests centre around Sibelius’s creativity and how it manifests itself in the composer’s musical manuscripts. Tiilikainen is currently preparing his doctorate on the creative process in Sibelius’s songs.

Arnold Whittall is Professor Emeritus of Music Theory and Analysis at King’s College London. He remains active as lecturer, reviewer and concert presenter, and has written widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century music. Recent publications include Exploring Twentieth-Century Music (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and contributions to the Cambridge Companions on Debussy and Stravinsky.


Thanks must first and foremost go to the contributors to this volume, for their scholarship, enthusiasm and patience. The idea for this project was first broached after the Third International Jean Sibelius Conference at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, 7–10 December 2000, and the sense of creativity, excitement and discovery that characterised that meeting also pervades much of the discussion in this volume. I am also particularly grateful to Sir Colin Davis and Osmo Vänskä for generously agreeing to take part in the final chapter. Penny Souster has been a constant source of support, guidance and encouragement at every stage of the project.

   I should like to thank the following for their help during the preparation of this book: Glenda Dawn Goss, Alison Glaister, Matti Huttunen, Timothy L. Jackson, Anna Krohn, Veijo Murtomäki, Ingrid Sykes, Dominique Toennesmann and the Finnish Music Information Centre.

   Extracts from the Sibelius manuscripts held in the State Archives, University of Helsinki, are reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the Sibelius Estate, Finland.

   Copyright permission to reproduce all music examples is gratefully acknowledged to Breitkopf & Härtel, except for the following where permission has been sought: Sibelius, ‘Aus banger Brust’, op. 50/4 (Exx. 8.8 and 8.9) from Robert Lienau; Sibelius, ‘The Forest Lake’, op. 114/2 (Ex. 9.3) from Edition Fazer; Uuno Klami, The Adventures of Lemminkäinen on the Island (Ex. 10.1) courtesy of the Finnish Cultural Foundation; Sibelius, Symphony no. 5 (Ex. 13.2), from Edition Wilhelm Hansen.

Chronology of Sibelius’s life and career

Year Sibelius’s life and career Contemporary political events
1865 Sibelius born on 8 December into middle-class Swedish-speaking family in Hämeenlinna (Tavastehus), son of Christian and Maria Sibelius (née Borg). Christened Johan Julius Christian. (Finland autonomous duchy under Russian rule.)
1868 Father dies of typhus. Sibelius brought up by his mother; summers spent in Loviisa (Baltic sea port).  
1876 Enrols in Hämeenlinna Normaalilyseo (Finnish-language grammar school).  
1880 Begins violin lessons with Gustav Levander, bandmaster at Hämeenlinna.  
1881 First surviving composition[?], Vattendroppar (‘Water drops’) for violin and cello. Coronation of Tsar Alexander III.
1882   Martin Wegelius founds Helsinki Music Institute. Robert Kajanus founds first Finnish orchestra.
1885 Enrols at Helsinki University, initially to study law. Joins Music Institute, 15 September, principal study violin.  
1887 Begins composition lessons with Wegelius.  
1889 Graduates from the Music Institute, 31 May. Begins studies in Berlin with Albert Becker. Newspaper Päivälehti (later renamed Helsingin Sanomat) founded by Young Finns to promote radical nationalist ideas.
1890 Returns from Berlin to Finland. Leaves for Vienna, October, to study with Karl Goldmark and Robert Fuchs. Hears Bruckner’s Symphony no. 3 in D minor, 21 December. Finnish Post Office placed under direct Russian control.
1891 Returns from Vienna. Working on Kullervo Symphony. Meets runic singer Larin Paraske in Borgå, November (and possibly earlier in the summer) and ‘listened to her with great attention and made notes on her inflections and rhythms’.  
1892 Conducts premiere of Kullervo, 28 April, greeted with immense popular and critical acclaim. Marries Aino Järnefelt, June. Honeymoon in Karelia collecting folksongs.  
1893 Birth of first daughter, Eva, March. Aunt Eva in Lovisa dies, June. Begins opera, The Building of the Boat (Veneen luominen). Project later abandoned, but prelude becomes The Swan of Tuonela. Conducts premiere of Karelia music, 13 November, Viipuri Students Gala, Helsinki University.  
1894 Composes Vårsång (La tristesse du printemps), premiered 21 June at open-air festival concert in Vaasa. Travels to Bayreuth, July, hears Parsifal, Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.
  Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung, Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger and Lohengrin. Travels to Italy for first time. On return, stops in Berlin to study Liszt’s Faust Symphony, sees performances of Carmen, The Bartered Bride, Falstaff.  
1895 Skogsrået premiered, 17 April. Works on collection of Finnish folksong with A. A. Borenius-Lähteenkorvas.  
1896 Four Lemminkäinen Legends premiered, 13 April. Composes one-act opera, The Maiden in the Tower, libretto by Rafael Hertzberg, premiered 9 November, and Cantata for the Coronation of Nicholas II. Applies for post of Professor of Music at Helsinki  
  University, and reads lecture entitled, ‘Some reflections on folk music and its influence on the development of art music’, 25 November. Position finally offered to Robert Kajanus after controversial appeal.  
1897 Composes The Rapid-shooter’s Brides (Koskenlaskijan morsiamet), ballad for voice and orchestra. Plans for symphonic poem based on Heine poem ‘Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam’. Sibelius awarded state pension.  
1898 Music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II, premiered 24 February. Trip to Berlin with Aino and brother, Christian. Begins work on First Symphony. Hard-line General Nikolai Bobrikov (1839–1904) appointed Governor-General of Finland. Pursues aggressive policy of ‘Russification’.
1899 Sibelius composes Song of the Athenians as political protest. Premiered alongside First Symphony, 26 April. First version of Finlandia performed as part of Press Pension celebrations, 4 November. Nicholas II issues February Manifesto, curbing legislative powers of Finnish parliament. Finnish Labour Party founded.
1900 On European tour with Kajanus and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, concerts in Lübeck, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. Travels to Italy via Berlin, October.  
1901 Sketches Second Symphony in Italy. Returns to Finland in May. Conducts The Swan of Tuonela and Lemminkäinen’s Return at Heidelberg Festival. Finnish army conscripts placed under direct Russian military command.
1902 Second Symphony premiered, 8 March. Writes cantata, The Origin of Fire, premiered at Finnish National Theatre, 9 April. Conducts revised version of En saga in Helsinki, 2 November, and Berlin, 15 November. Eliel Saarinen builds art nouveau villa complex at Hvitträsk.
1903 Composed incidental music for Arvid Järnefelt’s play Kuolema (‘Death’). Premiered 2 December. Sketches Violin Concerto. Finnish army abolished.
1904 Second Symphony performed in Chicago, January. First version of the Violin Concerto premiered, 8 February. Moves from Helsinki to villa, Ainola, in Järvenpää, 24 September. Bobrikov assassinated by Eugene Schauman, 16 June.
1905 Conducts successful performance of Second Symphony in Berlin, January. Hears Strauss, Ein Heldenleben and Sinfonia domestica. Incidental music for Pelléas et Mélisande premiered, Swedish theatre, Helsinki, 17 March. First visit to England, at invitation of Granville Bantock, conducts First Symphony and Finlandia in Liverpool, 2 December. Meets Rosa Newmarch. Return trip includes visit to Paris. Finnish General Strike. November Manifesto passed, 4 November, repeals much of earlier legislation.
1906 Sibelius’s sister, Linda, succumbs to insanity, June. Projected orchestral tone poem, ‘Luonnotar’, becomes Pohjola’s Daughter, premiered in St Petersburg, 29 December. Wegelius dies, 22 March.
1907 First Symphony performed by Felix Weingartner, Berlin, 1 January. Third Symphony premiered, Helsinki, September. Meets Mahler in Helsinki, 29 October. Travels to St Petersburg, November, to attend Siloti performance of new symphony. 200-member parliament (‘Eduskunta’) elected.
1908 Conducts Third Symphony in London, Spring. Writes music for Strindberg’s Swanwhite, premiered 8 April. Travels to Berlin for major throat operation. Composes Nightride and Sunrise, begins string quartet Voces intimae.  
1909 Nightride and Sunrise premiered, St Petersburg, January. Conducts En saga and Finlandia at Queen’s Hall, London, 13 February. Meets Debussy following performance of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Nocturnes. Trip to Koli, northern Karelia, September.  
1910 Finishes In memoriam, March. Voces intimae premiered, Helsinki Conservatory, 25 April. In memoriam and The Dryad premiered, Christiania (Oslo), 8 October.  
1911 Fourth Symphony premiered, Helsinki, 3 April. Greeted with critical incomprehension. Visits Paris, November.  
1912 Revises Rakastava for string orchestra and percussion. Offered position of Professor of Composition at Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna. Composed Three Sonatinas for piano, Op. 67. Visits England to conduct the Fourth Symphony at the Birmingham festival, performed after premiere of Elgar’s The Music Makers. Russians granted Finnish citizenship.
1913 The Bard premiered, 27 March (revised version premiered 9 January 1916). Luonnotar premiered by Aino Ackté at Gloucester festival, 10 September.  
1914 Composes first version of The Oceanides in Berlin. Travels to United States at invitation of Carl Stoeckel, to conduct premiere at Norfolk festival, Connecticut, 4 June. Visits New York, Niagara, and receives honorary doctorate from Yale University. Returns 18 June, before outbreak of war. Begins first version of Fifth Symphony. Outbreak of First World War.
1915 Conducts Second and Fourth Symphonies and The Oceanides in Gothenburg, March. Celebrations for fiftieth birthday include premiere of first version of the Fifth Symphony, 8 December.  
1916 Oskar Fried conducts Fourth Symphony at Freie Volksbühne, Berlin, Spring. Composes incidental music for production of Hoffmannsthal’s Everyman, premiered 6 November. Conducts revised version of Fifth Symphony, December.  
1917 Composes March for the Finnish Jaeger Battalion. Tsar overthrown in Russian revolution. Many Finnish political exiles return from Siberia, including Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (1861–1944). Svinhufvud issues formal declaration of Finnish independence, 6 December.
1918 Sibelius and family temporarily forced to leave Järvenpää. Civil war breaks out between right-wing (White) and left-wing (Red) forces, January. German forces land, 3 April, to assist White Army. War over by 16 May as General Mannerheim, commander of the White Army, orders victory parade in Helsinki.
1919 Sibelius conducts Second Symphony at Nordic Music Days, Copenhagen, 18 June. Final version of Fifth Symphony premiered, November. Death of Axel Carpelan, 24 March. Finnish independence recognised by Britain and USA, 3 May. Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected first Finnish president.
1920 Composes setting of Eino Leino’s Maan virsi (‘Hymn to the Earth’). Sibelius offered Chair of Composition at Eastman School of Music. Kajanus conducts Third Symphony at Salle Gaveaux, Paris, 13 May, without critical success. Finland signs Tartu peace treaty with Russian republic, October.
1921 Tour of England. Meets Vaughan Williams at reception, 10 February, conducts Fifth Symphony at Queen’s Hall, 12 February. Second Symphony premiered in Italy, 1 May, conducted by Busoni. Turns down offer of post at Eastman School of Music, 9 May. League of Nations supports Finland’s territorial claim to the Åland islands.
1922 Incidental music for Scaramouche premiered at Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, 12 May. Brother, Christian, dies, 2 July.  
1923 Sixth Symphony premiered, 19 February.  
1924 Seventh Symphony premiered, Stockholm, 24 March. Death of Busoni.
1926 Incidental music for The Tempest premiered at Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, 15 March. Tapiola premiered by Walther Damrosch, New York, 26 December.  
1927 Works on Eighth Symphony. Death of Wilhelm Stenhammar.
1931 Death of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 7 March. Sibelius composes Sorgmusik (‘Funeral Music’) for organ, possibly using material derived from work on Eighth Symphony.  
1933 First movement of Eighth Symphony copied by Paul Voigt. Continues to work on Symphony until c. 1935, but the manuscript and drafts eventually lost (presumably burnt) by Sibelius at Ainola in the mid-1940s.  
1935 Revised versions of Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island and Lemminkäinen in Tuonela premiered by Kalevala Society, Helsinki, 1 March.  
1939 Sibelius conducts performance of Andante festivo for short-wave radio broadcast. Russian Army attacks Finland, 30 November. Beginning of ‘Winter War’. Invasion initially repelled, but finally successful in 1940, following signing of Treaty of Moscow, March.
1941   Finland joins Germany against Russia in Continuation War. Britain declares war on Finland, December.
1943 Sibelius hears performance of Vaughan Williams’s Fifth Symphony (dedicated to him ‘without permission’), broadcast on wireless from Stockholm, 30 September.  
1944   Finland signs peace treaty with Moscow, August. Marshal Mannerheim elected president.
1946   Juho Kusti Paasikivi elected president.
1955   Finland joins Nordic Council and United Nations.
1956   Urho Kaleva Kekkonen elected president (remains in office until 1981).
1957 Sibelius dies, 20 September.  

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