Composed in 1898, Sibelius’ first symphony does not closely resemble the brass-heavy compositional style of his later symphonic works, such as Finlandia, for which he is well known. Instead the symphony reflects the lyrical style of works by Tchaikovsky and Brahms. Although Sibelius later denied having been influenced by either Tchaikovsky or Brahms, the lyrical style and fewer use of Brass signifies that the piece emulates the symphonies of both composers.
Sibelius’ Symphony No.1 in E Minor Op.29 is characterised by its use of string and woodwind solos; a Clarinet solo opens the first movement, while Violin, Viola, and Cello solos feature in the later movements. Although classified originally as ‘Romantic’, some music historians argue that this piece, composed at the turn of 20th Century, should in fact be classified as ‘Modern’ as it certainly is a forward-looking and ground-breaking work.
Available here is the miniature score of Sibelius’ first symphony, which is ideal for study and perusal usage.