The Sapin – Jean Sibelius (Sheet Music, Noten, partition, partitura, spartito)
Who was Jean Sibelius? (1865-1957)
The great silence of Jean Sibelius
The great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) is known primarily for their masterpieces for orchestra: seven symphonies, a violin concerto and a half-dozen large symphonic poems; for their emotional bond with the legends and epic poetry of Finnish, and by the fact that left virtually compose to 1930, although he continued to live, almost always with good health and in full possession of their mental faculties, until the advanced age of ninety-two years.
The various biographies and numerous notes to the program that I have read in the course of many years, belong equally to the categories of hagiography and biography. The Scandinavians, Europeans, the eastern and the Americans all seem fascinated by the spectacle of a musical genius of the TWENTIETH century that paid little attention to the atonality and the dodecaphonic scale, and that was, however, time and time again of the sagas, folk music of their ancestors.
In chapters that are at times difficult to follow in their sequences and arguments that are specific, but they manage to cumulatively a portrait very convincing to the development of a genius singular, Goss offers the reader a wealth of information about all aspects of the personal evolution of Sibelius.
As was very common in Finland in the NINETEENTH century, his family was composed of a mixture of Swedish and Finnish (feeling “Finnish” was something that was more dependent on the fact that the two nationalities share the Lutheran religion, and the adaptations to the arctic climate, with the consequent dedication to hunting and fishing, which share the fluency in a single language).
The Sibelius were professionals and business people, and parents of Jean hoped that he exercise of a lawyer, but also gave no problems before the opinions expressed by a paternal grandfather of Jean and of an uncle, a businessman who was also a violinist able to: both were sure that his son had all the prospect of getting to be an extraordinary musician.
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The boy possessed a great gift for friendship, without any desire to try to be imposed. His little brother Christian, that it would be doctor, the artist Axel Carpelan and the conductor and composer Robert Kajanus would become friends for life and would play an important role both in thought and in the career of Jean. Between the two winters of the study with a scholarship in Berlin and Vienna, Jean began its relationship with Aino Jarnefelt, who was then only sixteen years of age. She was the daughter of a family of social position higher than that of the Sibelius and also had a few feelings more politically Finns.
Although the musician is referred often to his commitment as a “love at first sight”, it also seems that the Ainu had to go looking for them after I returned from Germany, and also give you subsequently six daughters had to endure occasional infidelities, and abuse continuously alcohol. Sibelius stopped drinking and went back to the old ways at various times during their married life, but its impressive longevity, the greater part of the time with good health, seems to attest to the strength of his constitution and of his capacity for self-control when required.
From the time of his studies in Berlin and Vienna (1880-1881) until about 1900, the young composer was living with a rich mixture of influences, wagnerianas, beethovenianas and brucknerianas, as well as with a deep interest in poetry and the music of folk Karelia, mired in a constant debate both with yourself and with their friends belonging to the intellectual elite on what were the musical forms that should be given to their compilations of folk melodies, and his own exceptional talent for melody.
(One of the objectives of the research conducted by Glenda Goss has been to discover where it has been possible to what the themes of his first work of large dimensions, the symphony “Kullervo” (1891), came from the field studies carried out by the own Sibelius in Karelia and which were of their own invention.)
Whatever the response in relation to “Kullervo” , there is no doubt that the memorable melodies that have made such works as The swan of Tuonela , Saga , and Finland have become pieces preferred all over the world were creations outputs of the imagination of Sibelius.
The period between 1900 and 1914 was less happy to Sibelius than it had been the previous decade. The Finland of his youth had been ruled by the Russian empire, which was acquired by Finland to Sweden as a duchy, in part, self-contained at the beginning of the NINETEENTH century.
During the greater part of the century, the Russian policy was fairly benign, and the Finnish economy flourished in their trade relations both with Russia and with the central and Eastern Europe. But the NINETEENTH century in Europe it was also a time of growing nationalism, political-cultural, with demands for universal primary education in the language and traditional culture of the dominant ethnic group in countries with a population of very diverse.
In the first decade of the TWENTIETH century, the czarist government took drastic measures against the marxists and other working-class movements of the left that were emerging in Finland, and there was a steady increase of tension in the frame of the controversy about whether the Finnish patriotic speak both Finnish as Swedish, or if the Finnish language was to become the sole official language. Sibelius was a member very intelligent and cultivated a middle-class family. He had also published a large number of beautiful songs, most of them from poems in Swedish, and is expressed with more fluency in Swedish and in Finnish.
In any case, he had never thought of language as a factor of cultural division. In the numerous raffles musical for which he had composed music in the 1890s, he had thought that what he was doing was to contribute to the collective content, volunteer, artistic, architectural and musical of the public life in the Finnish; he had not thought much about class struggles or rivalry of language.
One of his symphonic poems (without text, but entitled The Patrie ) had met an immediate success, in 1899, and had become almost immediately in a kind of second national anthem with the title of Finland . Until today, for all Finns and for many other people around the world, Finland is the highest expression of the love of Sibelius for his country, its culture and its people.
But in the first decade of the TWENTIETH century, and especially in 1917-1918, with the declaration of independence the Finnish and the civil war of three months duration, the population had grown to be extremely divided in function of social class and nationality: socialist workers and communists against a middle class conservative, and Finnish ethnic anti-Swedish ethnicity.
Since the triumph explosive Finland , Sibelius knew very well that it had become a personal symbol, national, and international, of the Finnish people. But I had never wanted to be the political representative of any authoritarian regime. His personal origins were more Swedish than Finnish, and his sympathies are singing decidedly on the side of the middle class in contrast well to the military, well the proletarians (both forces were preaching the ethnicity and language of Finns to the newly proclaimed independent republic).
A thesis more convincing of this biography is that the civil war destroyed the hopes that Sibelius had deposited in a Finland truly democratic and culturally tolerant, and yet, in the era of fascism, communism, nationalism, authoritarian, and two world wars, and with a woman and a son-in-law that were located politically to the right of his own ideas, he could not reject the symbolic role that had been imposed just before those wars and such doctrines and authoritarian regimes. This biography is in sharp contrast to devastating worth of music for his symphonic poems and symphonies with the insulsez of various songs and marches, which gave birth to public events in later years.
Returning to the positive aspects of the life of the composer, there are four factors that, in my opinion, stand out as the most relevant of the dozen or more examined by the present biographer. One is that in the 1890s the composer, who had just taste the sweetness of success, I was wondering constantly about how he might be influenced by the composition of music for the rhythm and strength of the ancient poetic texts that were inspiring the music.
The second factor is the experience of composing seven wonderful symphonies between 1899 and 1925. All of them are so warm and emotionally diverse as their parts are connected with the sweepstakes and the orchestral works with the inclusion of voices of the 1890s. But in the symphonies, I felt a need to completely break free from the inspiration of the literary direct: to achieve a structure and an emotional expression purely in terms of music.
Their great models in the framework of this effort were Beethoven and Bruckner. In his student years, he had also been enormously impressed by the operas of Wagner that he saw in Vienna and Berlin. Consciously or not, has adopted a number of the characteristic jobs of Wagnerian metal, and intellectually shared openly the interest of Wagner by literature and folk music of his compatriots (although not his anti-Semitism).
However, in the 1890s, when his reputation and, therefore, their income, depended on almost entirely of providing music for poetic texts or dramatic, I was also constantly thinking of ways to create a music purely instrumental. And at the time of writing symphonies, Sibelius went primarily looking for a guide to Beethoven and Bruckner (and perhaps also to Tchaikovsky when listening to his First Symphony).
The third factor was the circumstance of having to face a life-threatening disease, a tumor of the throat that turned out to be benign, but that meant having to undergo a painful surgery, a long recovery period and completely abstain from drinking alcohol, a ban that Sibelius managed to meet for seven long years. The Fourth Symphony, which stands out for its atmosphere of anxiety, and by numerous passages rough and ascetic, reflects surely that experience and its side effects.
The fourth and hugely positive factor in my list was his brief and absolutely triumphant journey to the United States in the spring of 1914. He met the cream of the music culture of American in Boston, New York and the capital of the country. He was taken to see the falls of Niagara, which impressed him as the individual’s experience more religious of your trip, and received a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Yale.
He thought that the American orchestras were more receptive to his baton formations of European and enjoyed the quality of the democratic culture of middle-class with which it might still be dreaming to Finland.
At the end of the trip he wrote in his diary that he had done everything to Finland. Back in his country, he felt a rush of energy to complete his Fifth Symphony, the most cheerful and the most energy flows of the seven. This symphony, like many of the great works of the composer, would have to be revised after its premiere in 1915, and it would not receive its final form until 1919.
Its last issue was in the imagination of Sibelius a flight triumphal white swans, not the swan of Tuonela that had stood before the death, but the magnificent white swans that could be enjoyed day after day in Finland, bird extraordinary whose appearance and whose movements he loved her as only he could love someone born to worship Nature.
If the First World War, and the establishment of a republic in the Finnish independent, would have been followed by several decades of peace, and of a genuine political freedom, Jean Sibelius could have continued quite happily as a public symbol of the independence and cultural policy in Finland.
Between 1919 and 1926 and completed, in fact, his last two symphonies, as well as the imposing and unique symphonic poem Tapiola ( The god of the forest ), three achievements are absolutely worthy of his thirty years earlier as a composer. He also wrote incidental music very appropriate for various theatrical productions, but it became increasingly clear that the master had lost his creative impulse.
To the large number of conductors who were anxiously awaiting his Eighth Symphony, he responded cryptically to all your questions on the date on which it would be completed. Appeared in public in ceremonial occasions, repeating the various common places that they came out of the mouth of the political shift.
In the 1930s Finland was caught between the pressures of the Stalinist regime towards the East and the fascist regimes, Nazi and contemporaries of central and Western Europe. Heroically but unsuccessfully, the country resisted the demands of USSR in 1939-1940 to modify the borders, as wanted by Stalin. In a later stage of the war, the Government, strongly conservative, was quietly pro German until it became clear that Hitler was going to lose the war.
We do not know nor do we have any details on what he thought Sibelius during those years. The contacts of his conservative family and his occasional symbolic role, he was forced to support verbally to the right. But Glenda Goss, who has had access to all the available documentation, account of what for her was a decisive event that occurred during the Second World War.
Jean Sibelius felt clearly that his role “was to stay with his people and to endure the fears and the hardship suffered by all the Finns. As Aino [his wife] commented incredulously when offers began to pour in for him to take refuge in another country, “those foreigners don’t understand that a Finnish does not abandon his country in a time of danger.”
One day, during those terrible years, Sibelius went decidedly in the dining room of Ainola with a basket full of manuscripts in his arms. Went to the fireplace, where the flames warmed gently its green tiles. With macabre determination, he started throwing the leaves into the fire. It is impossible to know exactly everything that was destroyed that day. Many people think that the Eighth Symphony disappeared in the middle of the smoke, as they hardly have found traces of it.
Aino recalled that there was something more: pages savagely torn from the music of Karelia . Among them were those containing Vart Land (Our country). […] This fire was not a destruction with a view to re-create, as had been done by Michelangelo with his Pietà of Florence . This fire was a destruction to erase the remains of a vision and stop it from forming a unity, and to express his fury, his fury against the destiny that had given him so much and that had taken so much from him.” (pp. 437-438).
Vart Land was one of the first musical documents of cultural nationalism Finnish. Written and performed by student radicals during the revolution of 1848, it was a work composed by a composer ethnic Finnish, Frederik Pacius, put music to a poem by the poet Finnish Swedish origin Johan Ludwig Runeberg: the lyrics and the music have celebrated the beauty of Finland and the character admirable of its people.
In 1891, the young composer Sibelius had been reworked to use in several of the drawings that were held with the aim of raising funds for various cultural projects. For once not hosted any doubt that in the terrible years of the Second World War, Sibelius, with his great intelligence and with the hopes that sheltered throughout his life for the Finnish culture and political democracy, was compelled by grief and rage destructive to burn the testimonies of those hopes nationals who had been given a spiritual meaning to his life as a composer.
Glenda Goss, an excellent musicologist and expert in Sibelius, has offered us a biography scrupulously documented, and a great intellectual richness of an outstanding composer whose work was interrupted by the horrors of fascism and communism to be affected by them, a small country of around four million inhabitants.