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A Sibelius Celebration


2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). There are many events planned to mark the occasion, including the first-ever Sibelius Composition Competition.

While there will undoubtedly be new recordings of his famous symphonies and violin concerto released this year, this celebration would best be used to discover his lesser-known works. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir has just released an album featuring the complete works for mixed choir by Sibelius. The compositions show a deft hand by the composer with subtle harmonies and engaging melodies.

Violinist Kathrin Ten Hagen is featured in a 2015 release of the almost completely unknown Suite for Violin and Strings in D minor, Op. 117. The work is one of Sibelius's most light-hearted pieces and reveals many tendencies toward folk-like melodic lines.

Works for solo piano including transcriptions of Valse triste and Finlandia are included in a 2015 CD by pianist Cassandra Wyss. She also plays the six Impromptus, Op. 5 and the Romance Op. 24, No. 9.

Classical 90.5 will celebrate Sibelius's birth anniversary all year with recordings of both the famous and little-heard compositions. In the meantime enjoy this performance of Op. 117 Suite by Jean Sibelius.