Jean Sibelius was not only Finland's greatest composer, he was one of the most distinctive and appealing musical voices in the first half of the twentieth century, especially renowned for his characterful handling of the romantic symphony orchestra. His example has led directly to an unprecedented cultural flowering in his homeland, making this small country of five million people a powerhouse in the world of classical music composition and performance.
Author David Hurwitz considers more than eighty of Sibelius's orchestral pieces, from songs and choruses to symphonies, tone poems, overtures, and theatrical music, inviting readers to identify and enjoy the fascinating mix of elements that make up Sibelius's colourful personal idiom. Hurwitz also features a representative selection of the best music of Sibelius's Finnish contemporaries and successors, both in the text and in one of two accompanying full-length CDs. The other CD offers a rich selection of Sibelius's music, including two complete symphonies and two of his most popular tone poems. Together, the CDs and text allow readers to hear Sibelius in context and gain an understanding of what distinguishes him from his contemporaries, how he influenced later generations, and how he came to be viewed as the musical spokesperson of the Finnish nation.