Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Or Johan Sibelius or simply known as just "Sibelius" was a Finish composer and one of the most known composers of the 20th Century. He was born in Finland which at that time was part of the Russian Empire. Finland wanted to be independent of Russia. This came about at the end of WW l. His music is nationalistic in nature. One of his most famous compositions is Finlandia (Opus#26). it has no connection to the vodka of the same name. His other most famous works were his Violin Concerto (Opus#47), second and fifth symphonies (Opuses #43 and 82),and the Swan of Tuonela.
He wrote 7 symphonies all together there is rumor of an eighth but it was never finished. There are a lot of theories and stories about the eighth symphony.
My two personal favorite works of his are his second and third symphonies. for the second I have the Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy. For the third I have the London symphony Orchestra with Colin Davis. I recommend both recordings. The Third is coupled the his Fifth. I also have a CD of Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra playing the First and Fourth symphonies. With both Sibelius and Bruckner, here are a lot of people claiming who is the better conductor of their works. I think that with Sibelius both Davis and Ormandy are good interpreters of Sibelius' music.
His music can be considered late romantic or early modern music. The Romanitc era dates from around 1800 to the beginning of WWl.
Sibelius' father died when Sibelius was only two. he was mentored by an uncle who taught him music. He wrote his first composition Water Drops when he was 10.
There is a music software named for Sibelius called Sibelius Software. I am not familiar with this software however. it is for music notation www.avid.co/sibelius. For some who write music it might be helpful.
Like Tchaikovsky, Debussy and other composers of his day, his music is nationalistic in nature. In addition to Finlandia, he wrote the Karelia Suite (Opus #11). Karelia is a province in south east Finland . Part of it is in Russia. this area was part of Finland but was seeded to the Soviet Union during the Winter War 1939-1940.
Sibelius wrote very if anything after 1924. Similar to Rossini(1792-1868) and Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956) who lived long lives but did not produce music works in later life. He was known to be a heavy drinker. Hew was a friend of fellow composers Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler.
Rossini is mainly known for his opera The Barber of Seville (aka Il Barbiere De Siviglia) and the William Tell Overture from the Lone Ranger. Charpertiere was a Frenchmen and a one hit wonder. His best known work was the Opera "Louise" he wrote a follow up "Julliane" Bothe works are not popular any more.
Sibelius' older contemporary Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was the opposite of Sibelius. He wrote until his death. he was also a great conductor in his own right.
I have several recordings of Sibelius' violin concerto. Not because I am a great fan of this work but I have purchased other works that I was looking for which Sibelius' concerto was coupled with. His violin concerto and Finlandia are his most popular works. It has been set to words of the Christian hymn Be Still My Soul, Hail festal day in some protestant churches. It was set to different words for the defunct short lived African country called Biafra (1967). Also Rice University voted to use it as the melody for their school song.
In addition to the violin concerto, Sibelius wrote a few other short pieces for solo violin and orchestra. He wrote several string quartets which are not popular today. he wrote five Piano Trios and several other short pieces for Piano trio and for violin and piano.
Sibelius' music is nationalistic in nature. When Sibelius was born, Finland was an autonomous part of the Russian Empire. Finland became independent in 1918. His music was banned in the Russian empire. He did not call Finlandia "Finlandia" until later fearing repression form Russia. Sibelius has appeared on Finnish curencyand postage stamps. He also has many institutions in Finland named for him besides the vodka and software.