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Sibelius, Jean (1865 - 1957)

composer

Jean Sibelius
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Jean Sibelius, the most famous Finnish composer, is one of the most important writers of symphonies and tone poems of the 20th century and in musical history as a whole. Sibelius was especially important as a national composer who captured Finnish legends, history and landscape in his music. Despite his respected position, Sibelius suffered from financial problems during his career.

Jean Sibelius, the most famous and respected Finnish composer, is one of the most important writers of symphonies and tone poems of the 20th century and perhaps in musical history as a whole. In some other European countries Sibelius has in the past been considered merely a Finnish composer, a writer of local music, a national romanticist. And it is indeed true that few composers have succeeded in picturing their countries' legends, history and landscape in music as tellingly as Sibelius did; he was the founder of Finnish music, and his music played an important role in Finland's progress towards independent nationhood. But since the Second World War there has been an increasingly widespread tendency to view Sibelius as a modernist and a pioneer as well, as an artist whose vast orchestral works can point the way with their forms and textures even for composers of the late 20th century.

Childhood in Hämeenlinna, Loviisa and Turku

Sibelius' birth in 1865 could not have occurred at a better time. Finland, whose centuries-long connection with Sweden had been broken in 1809, was seeking a national identity of its own as part of the Russian Empire. The development of its own language and culture had begun. The Helsinki Music Institute was founded in 1882 by Martin Wegelius, and the Helsinki Orchestral Society - today's Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra - commenced its activities in the same year under the leadership of Robert Kajanus. The key institutions for musical life were thus in existence. But the post of Creator of Finnish Music was still vacant.

Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, known among family members as Janne, was born in Hämeenlinna, a small garrison town, where his father Christian Gustaf Sibelius was a municipal and military doctor. Christian Gustaf had a doctoral degree in Medicine but was by nature a bohemian. Thus, when Sibelius' mother Maria was widowed after a short marriage (1862 - 68) following her husband's death of typhoid, the estate consisted mainly of unpaid bills. She moved back to her mother's home with her children; and Janne, fatherless at the age of three, grew up in a very female-dominated environment.

A small town such as Hämeenlinna would not normally have provided much opportunity for a decent education, but thanks to the culturally nationalistic 'Finnishness' movement, a Finnish-language grammar school was founded there in 1876, and three years later Janne started as a pupil at this school. He became bilingual and, in addition to the Swedish writings of Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius, also became acquainted at an early age with the Kalevala and the works of Aleksis Kivi. Classical literature was also a central element of the curriculum, a fact which was to have a crucial influence on his concept of art.

Even as a small child Sibelius was already attracted to music. To be sure, he was not a member of a musical family such as Bach's or Mozart's, though his father enjoyed singing popular songs by the Swede Carl Bellman to the accompaniment of a lute, and his mother had a certain amount of ability at the piano. On his mother's side there was also a 17th century ancestor, Bailiff Jakob Haartman, whose descendants included some other notable figures in Finnish musical history. Among them were Aksel Ingelius (1822 - 68), who composed the first Finnish symphony, Martin Wegelius (1846 - 06), Aino Ackté (1876 - 44) and Heikki Suolahti (1920 - 36), the composer prodigy who died at the age of only sixteen. And on his father's side Sibelius shared an ancestor, the 17th century merchant Jakob Dannenberg, with the composers Ernst Fabritius (1842 - 99) and Ernst Mielck (1877 - 99) and the musicologist Ilmari Krohn (1867 - 60).

His piano lessons began when he was seven, under the guidance of his aunt Julia, and even then free improvisations took precedence over finger exercises: at one family gathering he presented the improvisation Faster Evelinas liv i toner ('Aunt Evelina's Life in Notes'). His first genuine composition dates from around 1881, when Janne wrote Vesipisaroita viululle ja sellolle ('Vättendroppar; Waterdrops for violin and cello') down on paper. It is no early product of a child genius, but the composition does demonstrate that he already had an idea of the basics of classical composition; symptomatic is the colourful use of the instruments (pizzicato) in order to achieve the right atmosphere.

His violin lessons, under the guidance of a local military band leader, did not begin until he was almost sixteen, and from the very beginning, the composer related, the violin had him completely under its sway. "For ten years thereafter it was my most ardent desire, the loftiest goal of my ambition, to become a great violin virtuoso." The piano - "it does not sing" was the composer's comment - was for Sibelius more like a tool in his composing, but through the violin he became acquainted with the classical and romantic chamber music repertoire in addition to that of the instrument itself. Music making within his circle of friends and with his sister Linda, who played the piano, and his brother Christian, who played the cello, provided a practical incentive for creative work of his own as well. During his Hämeenlinna years - from 1880 to 1885 - he produced some fifteen compositions: piano and chamber music for two to four players. In addition to the classic Viennese composers, his models included Mendelssohn, Grieg and Tchaikovsky. Works completed before he moved to Helsinki include a string quartet in E flat major which reveals a single-minded attentiveness to the secrets of composition. Behind this was Sibelius' familiarity with Johann Christian Lobe's The Theory of Musical Composition, one of the most important 19th century textbooks on the subject, a work which Sibelius himself found in his school library.

"Hämeenlinna was where I went to school; Loviisa was freedom." As a counterweight to school life, Sibelius paid many visits to the family estate of the von Konows at Sääksmäki near Hämeenlinna. Sibelius developed into a fine marksman. But just as important was Nature, which for Sibelius was a poetic, mystical force: "In the twilight Janne amused himself by lying in wait for fairy-tale creatures in the thick of the forest." Thus the path of the future symphonic poet became marked out. Just as important, too, were the summers spent at Loviisa staying with his grandmother and aunt Eveliina. There Sibelius was captivated by the sea, freedom and a longing for faraway places. His imagination carried him to distant lands, in the tracks of his uncle Johan, a seaman who had died in a shipwreck before Janne's birth. When Sibelius adopted a new professional name in 1886, he also started using his uncle's visiting cards, on which the name Johan was printed in the French form Jean.

Sibelius' uncle Pehr, who lived in Turku, was a self-taught amateur musician, a seed-merchant who observed the stars through a telescope and played the violin in the evenings. In Janne's world he took the place of a father - at an early stage, even that of a musical adviser. In Turku Sibelius acquired a broader knowledge of music with the help of his uncle Pehr's collection of scores, and he most probably also heard orchestral music for the first time there.

It is easy to see that Sibelius' family background and youthful experiences point firmly towards a non-bourgeois choice of career. His close relatives included unpractical people - daydreamers or easy-going types. His mother Maria's sensitive, deeply mystical and religious character and that of his father - who was nonchalant as far as financial matters were concerned but was also capable of sustained effort - constituted the foundation not only for the future composer's extravagant lifestyle, which sometimes laid his family in ruins, but also for his ability to conjure up great works amidst the chaos of everyday problems.

Student years in Helsinki

In autumn 1885 Sibelius began studying Law at the University of Helsinki and also enrolled at the Helsinki Music Institute. There followed the classic scene: the university textbooks gathered dust, and in autumn of the next year there was no longer even any talk of his continuing university studies. Music swallowed up the young composer-to-be. Under the direction of Martin Wegelius, the Institute's broadly educated rector, Sibelius studied subjects in the area of musical theory, though at first violin playing occupied a more important position. For his practical tests at the Institute, Sibelius presented as a soloist concertos by Viotti, Mendelssohn and Rode and small pieces by romantic composers. He also played in the Institute's quartet and became leader of the Academic Orchestra, whose conductor was Richard Faltin. He was gradually forced to admit that stage fright and above all the rather late start to his violin studies were hindering his career as a virtuoso.

Composition thrust its way into first position. Wegelius' teaching placed the main emphasis on composition exercises. But without his teacher's knowledge, Sibelius was also continually writing works in his own style, in opposition to the chromatic neo-German ideal favoured by Wegelius. He wrote numerous small pieces for his friends and his brother and sister amongst others. In total more than one hundred compositions emerged during the Helsinki period: songs and works for various chamber-music combinations, including piano trios, a violin sonata and a string quartet. Sibelius' progress in his studies was swift, and at an early stage he was already being described as a musical genius. When the String Quartet in A minor was performed at the Music Institute's Spring Concert, it received glowing praise from the leading music critic Karl Flodin: "At one stroke Mr Sibelius has stepped into the first rank of those on whom the future of Finnish creative composition relies."

At least as important as his studies in Helsinki were the friendships that Sibelius formed there. These included his acquaintance with the composer and conductor Robert Kajanus (1856 - 1933) who became the most important champion of his music, the writer Juhani Aho (1861 - 1921), the pianist and author Adolf Paul (1863 - 1942) and the influential Järnefelt family's numerous children, who included the conductor and composer Armas Järnefelt (1869 - 1958), the painter Eero Järnefelt (1863 - 1937), the Tolstoyan author Arvid Järnefelt (1861 - 1932) and, of course, Aino (1871-1969), Sibelius' future wife. Of especial importance was the fact that Wegelius had succeeded in engaging the internationally famous pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866 - 1924) as a teacher at the School of Music. Busoni, Sibelius, Paul and Armas Järnefelt made up a close circle of friends which met almost daily at the Ericson café or the Kämppi restaurant and pondered on questions of life and art.

The years in Berlin and Vienna

In four years Sibelius had absorbed all that Helsinki had to offer. It was now time for studies abroad. These, however, did not take him to St Petersburg, where the orchestral genius Rimsky-Korsakov would have been at his disposal; Wegelius wished to ensure that his protégé received strict German training. The first destination of his foreign studies was Berlin, where the academic theorist Albert Becker was his teacher. Though certainly useful, the endless counterpoint exercises were not rewarding, and Sibelius' most important impulses thus came from concert-going. He heard Hans von Bülow conducting Beethoven's symphonies and playing his piano sonatas; and the Joachim Quartet performed such rarities as Beethoven's late quartets. Hearing Richard Strauss' tone poem Don Juan was also an important experience; and when Kajanus visited Berlin to conduct his own Aino symphony, Sibelius may have been given a push in the direction of the symphonic poem. Wagner also deserves mention; his operas Tannhäuser and The Mastersingers of Nuremberg made an enormous impression on Sibelius and brought about a long-lasting Wagner trauma. Under the influence of Christian Sinding, Sibelius wrote the Piano Quintet in G minor in 1890; this is his first 'Sibelian' composition. When he returned home on holiday, the most important events of the summer of 1890 included the completion of the cheerful String Quartet in B-flat major and - in his personal life - his engagement to Aino Järnefelt.

Thanks to Busoni's support, Sibelius continued his studies in Vienna from 1890 onwards. He felt much more at home there: "Vienna is a place very much to my taste." The city's open, international atmosphere, its social circles, the Rumanian and Hungarian musicians whom he met and the Strauss waltzes that resounded everywhere soon had him under their sway. Despite Busoni's recommendations, the ageing Johannes Brahms would not take Sibelius on, and his teachers were the then popular Karl Goldmark (1830 - 1915), who gave him guidance in how to handle an orchestra, and Robert Fuchs (1847 - 1927), who also taught Hugo Wolf and Gustav Mahler. Certain musical experiences played a key role in his development. Hearing Anton Bruckner's Third Symphony during a concert at which the composer himself was present led Sibelius to confess: "In my view he is the greatest living composer." The future orchestral composer was moved to tears by a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony conducted by Hans Richter: "I felt so small, so small."

The emergence of the orchestral composer

Until this point in his career, Sibelius had been a chamber music composer. In Vienna he suddenly became a man of the orchestra. Under Goldmark's direction, he composed the Bruckner-influenced Overture in E major and the Scène de ballet, which was freer in its coloration. And Vienna had another important effect on Sibelius: it suddenly aroused in him an interest in all things Finnish and in the Finnish language. Sibelius immersed himself in the Kalevala and discovered its mythical world: "I think that the Kalevala is very modern. In my opinion it is all music: a theme and variations." The main theme of the tone poem Kullervo emerged while the composer was in a passionately Finnish mood. On returning from Vienna to Finland in the summer of 1891, Sibelius continued working on Kullervo. Although he later denied the fact, in autumn 1891 he met Larin Paraske, who was staying in Porvoo. His encounter with authentic rune-singing and keening had a decisive influence not only on the themes and form of Kullervo but also on the way in which Sibelius' characteristic tonal language developed. The première of Kullervo on 28 April 1892 was an enormous success: "A mighty spring flood of Finnish melodies rushed out of the wilderness with a tremendous roar", as Kajanus described this key moment in Finnish musical history. Finnish music had been created, and Sibelius had lived up to the hopes that he had placed in himself.

In the summer of the same year he married; inspired by the fashionable Karelianism of the period, the newlyweds set off to visit the birthplaces of the Kalevala. These included Ilomantsi and Korpiselkä, where Sibelius noted down some traditional melodies. The inspiration gained from this trip is evident to a certain extent in the tone poem En Saga but above all in the Karelia music and the Lemminkäinen legends.

Over the years, six daughters, one of whom died in infancy, were born into the Sibelius family. Up to the turn of the century Sibelius was forced to teach violin and theoretical subjects at the Music Institute and at the orchestral school founded by Kajanus in order to ensure a regular income for his family. However, not much changed in the composer's lifestyle. Adolf Paul's roman à clef En bok om en människa ('A Book about a Person'), published in 1891, had depicted the aversion to work and the liberal consumption of champagne of its fictional character Sillén (=Sibelius). And Gallen-Kallela's painting Probleemi (later Symposium), exhibited in 1894 and showing well-known representatives of the arts dozing in exhaustion after a monumental binge, did nothing to create a more favourable impression amongst the general public.

After the music of En Saga and Karelia, the fountain of composition did not flow again until Sibelius drew inspiration from a trip to Bayreuth and Munich in 1894. However, Wagner's overwhelmingly powerful music thwarted Sibelius' opera plans; an opera on which he was working, the Kaleva-based Veneen luominen ('The Building of the Boat'), was never completed. Wagner left a lasting imprint on his music, but Sibelius went over to the tone poem as his form of musical drama and to Franz Liszt as his model of the composer. In 1895 Sibelius used material from the opera for the Lemminkäinen Suite, which consists of four tone poems: legends.

In 1896 Sibelius applied for the position of music teacher at the University of Helsinki. In this connection he gave an important demonstration lecture entitled 'Some aspects of folk music and its influence on classical music', his only exposition in written form of his own views as a composer. According to Sibelius, folk music constitutes the principle starting point for a composer's work, even though he must in the final analysis rise above this level. After a rather sordid round of appeals, the post went to Kajanus, though fortunately this did not spoil relations between the friends. In compensation - and luckily for Sibelius - he was given an annual grant, which later became a lifetime pension.

The romantically oriented period in Sibelius' work concluded in 1899 with the First Symphony, which is somewhat in the spirit of Tchaikovsky. At the same time his move in the direction of the symphony drew Sibelius towards an ideal of absolute music. In the First as well as in the Second Symphony (1902), some people have admittedly been quick to point out indications of the national independence struggle as well. During the period of oppressive russification, Sibelius and his music quite naturally became a symbol of national ferment. Sibelius had nothing against this, and in 1899 he composed both the Atenarnes sång ('Song of the Athenians') and the programme piece later christened Finlandia. Especially in later years, however, this view, easily capable of becoming blinkered, possibly hindered an understanding of his compositions, which he thought of in quite a different way - as music first and foremost.

A decisive shift towards a more classical style and away from national romanticism occurs at the beginning of the century. In 1900 - 1901 Sibelius and his family spent some of their time at Rapallo in Italy. The clear style displayed by Italy's ancient art drew his music towards focused well-proportionedness and the ideals of Antiquity. Roman architecture and art and Palestrina's music aroused in him "strange ideas concerning the nature of music". To a certain extent the Second Symphony is the first manifestation of this new style. Other examples are the reworking of En Saga in 1902 to give it added clarity and the classical architecture of the Violin Concerto - especially the final version - composed between 1903 and 1905.

The move to 'Ainola' and maturation into a great composer

The change in style was also promoted by a change in Sibelius' external life. "In Helsinki all song died in me," the composer himself stated. He wished to escape from the often rather protracted pub sessions and to find peace for his composing, and in 1904 he moved with his family to a house designed by Lars Sonck at Tuusula, the present Järvenpää. A contribution to the building of 'Ainola' was also made by Axel Carpelan (1858 - 1919), an impoverished aristocrat and a music lover with time on his hands. On many occasions he solved Sibelius' financial problems by appealing to the consciences of patriotic businessmen, and he had perhaps the deepest understanding of Sibelius' art. Starting with the concert at the Paris Exposition in 1900, Carpelan continually provided Sibelius with suggestions or proposals for new compositions and with studio criticism. "Who shall I compose for now?" asked Sibelius when his friend died in 1919.

The 1907 Third Symphony reflects an entirely new situation in Sibelius' life: "Despite everything there is nevertheless a lot of the major key in life. The III [Symphony] flows in C major!" Sibelius also won triumphs abroad and gained a permanent foothold in Britain, which he visited in 1905. The champions of his music there included Henry Wood, Rosa Newmarch and Ernest Newman. He visited St Petersburg in 1906 to conduct his tone poem Pohjolan tytär ('The Daughter of Pohjola'). Throughout his career up to the world première of the Seventh Symphony on 24 March 1924, Sibelius conducted his works all over Europe and took care of their premières.

In 1907 Sibelius met Gustav Mahler, who was in Helsinki on a concert tour. No great understanding developed between the two composers, exponents as they were of opposing ideals of style; nor did Mahler, who was also one of the most noted conductors of his time, conduct any of his colleague's works. The ideas recorded from the discussion between Mahler and Sibelius are a part of 20th century musical history. While Sibelius stated that the essential feature that he admired in the symphony was "its profound logic, which demands an internal relationship between all its motifs", Mahler thought that "the symphony must be a world: everything should be contained in it".

The expressionist period and the war years

In the spring of 1908 Sibelius had a throat tumour removed, and he abstained entirely from cigars and alcohol for seven years. It is probably no coincidence that Sibelius' most internalised works - and those most difficult for the public to understand - date from this period. A spiritual crisis is discernible in the darkness of the music, in its rejection of external showiness, in the occasionally anguished character of its idiom, in its expressionist nature. During this period he composed the symphonic poem Öinen ratsastus ja auringonnousu ('Night Ride and Sunrise'; 1908), the String Quartet in D minor (Voces intimae;1909), and the tone poems Barden ('The Bard'; 1913) and Luonnotar (1913). In particular, the biting dissonance and modernistic nature of the Fourth Symphony were considered a slap in the face for the public. This sort of Sibelius was not easy to follow, and in the eyes of many the reputation of the national composer suffered a severe blow.

Just before the outbreak of the First World War, Sibelius went on a constant series of concert tours to places including Gothenburg, Riga, Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris. His international reputation began to establish itself. In 1912 he was offered a professorship in composition at the Musikakademie in Vienna, a post which he however turned down. The same thing happened in 1921, when Sibelius was invited to become a teacher at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester in the State of New York; in his heart of hearts Sibelius knew that he was not cut out to be a teacher. One of his most pleasant experiences must have been his 1914 trip to America, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Yale University. The trip included concerts - at which, among other pieces, the impressionist tone poem Aallottaret ('The Oceanides') that he had been commissioned to compose was performed - and visits to Boston and the Niagara Falls.

For Sibelius the First World War meant difficult times both intellectually and materially. The difficulty of travelling brought isolation with it, his State pension diminished as a result of inflation, and no royalty payments came from his German publisher Breitkopf & Härtel. In view of Sibelius' extravagant lifestyle, this meant hardship - even outright poverty - for his family. In order to cope financially he had to compose minor pieces: songs, piano compositions and works for violin and piano. These compositions, which Sibelius called "bread-and-butter pieces", nevertheless include some exquisite gems, as Sibelius was capable of combining popular appeal and high quality.

In 1917 Finland achieved independence, but a bitter civil war followed. Sibelius' life was not in danger, even though he had composed the Jääkäri-marssi (March of the Finnish Jäger Battalion [a corps of German-trained soldiers against Russia]) in 1917. However, Red forces did conduct house searches at 'Ainola', and with the assistance of friends, Sibelius and his family took refuge in Helsinki, where his safety could be better ensured. The hardships of the war years were also reflected in the laborious way in which the Fifth Symphony came into being. Work on it lasted for half a decade: although the symphony was in fact first performed at the composer's 50th-birthday concert in 1915, it was not until 1919 that the version played today was completed. The arduous process of its composition also reflects changes in Sibelius' musical thinking: in his new idea of the symphonic form, he was struggling to replace 'symphony' and 'tone poem' with a freer symphonic fantasia that united these two types of music.

The last great works and the 'Silence of Järvenpää'.

The gloom of the war years was not broken until 1919, when Sibelius and his wife travelled to Copenhagen for a music festival of the Nordic countries. Sibelius was finally able again "to breathe the air of Europe". He met Carl Nielsen, but this did not lead to a close friendship, especially as Sibelius was described in reviews - discourteously from his colleagues' viewpoint - as "currently the greatest musical figure of the North".

After a creative lull lasting from 1920 to 1922, Sibelius' late symphonic period began. He continued his appearances abroad and forged the Sixth (1923) and Seventh Symphony (1924). At the same time he was experiencing the fate of an ageing composer: "Work no longer proceeds with the same speed as before, and self-criticism is getting out of all proportion". Nevertheless, in his Sixth Symphony Sibelius combined symphonic and modal features in an innovative fashion, and the Seventh Symphony may be described as an end point of the classical and romantic symphonic repertoire because of its single-movement form. In his last symphonies and in his tone poem Tapiola, Sibelius created what were perhaps his most mature works; but he was also quickly exhausting his reserves of creative energy. In between came his incidental music (1925) for a production of The Tempest in Copenhagen; the broad scope and new compositional solutions of this music show that Sibelius had certainly not lost his powers of regeneration.

After this, opus nos. 114-116 - works for piano and for violin and piano - appeared in 1929; but then, for all practical purposes, the composer's pen ran dry. As late as 1943 Sibelius was indeed still wrestling with an eighth symphony; but the burning sessions in the late 1940s, during which the composer destroyed a large number of his works, were the final, incontrovertible confirmation of the 'Silence of Järvenpää'. Only the Surusoitto ('Sorgmusik; Funeral Music') composed for the funeral of Sibelius' long-time friend the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865 - 1931) gives a hint of what the world lost with the destruction of the Eighth Symphony. There must have been much tragedy in these last years, even if they also brought honours and respect.

In his final years Sibelius was fairly widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of his age; his music was played everywhere, and festivals were organised in his honour. Even in his old age Sibelius retained his interest in the latest musical trends. There was a constant stream of visitors to 'Ainola', and on the composer's 90th birthday the former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill sent him a box of Sibelius' favourite product - Havana cigars. Two years later, on 20 September 1957, Sibelius suffered a fatal cerebral haemorrhage. The composer was buried on a south-facing slope at 'Ainola'.

Sibelius' international position

Although Sibelius did not found an artistic school, he attracted followers both at home and abroad. In Finland his early disciples were mainly Toivo Kuula and Leevi Madetoja; later on, Sibelius' thinking on themes, forms and the orchestra influenced many Finnish symphonic composers, including Joonas Kokkonen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen and Erkki Salmenhaara. Abroad, some British composers, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Americans such as Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber, were influenced by Sibelius.

Placing Sibelius within the history of music has caused abundant headaches for many scholars and historians. One reason has been the insistence on progress that dominated the 20th century and was understood in narrowly limited terms: as a result atonality was interpreted as modern, while tonality was stigmatised as conservative. Thus it has been possible to brand Sibelius' music as a reactionary continuation of the late romantic period. Throughout his work Sibelius used elements of the language of romantic music, sometimes even composing pastiche-like drawing-room pieces in 19th century style. But he also extended traditional tonality using modal ingredients.

Furthermore, the way in which Sibelius used the orchestra - superimposing and overlapping different types of episode - was revolutionary in his days. In this respect he has served as a model even for modern composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Tristan Murail and David Matthews. Similarly, Sibelius' way of thinking about form - his use of traditional forms purely as points of departure for new solutions - is one of the most modern in 20th century music. And his motif-and-theme technique - based on the free development of these elements - is inimitable. Above all, his further development of the symphonic genre during a new phase in the history of composition was a unique achievement.

Veijo Murtomäki

Translated by Roderick Fletcher

Appendix

Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, Jean from 1886, born 8.12.1865 Hämeenlinna, died 20.9.1957 Järvenpää. Parents: Christian Gustaf Sibelius, doctor, and Maria Charlotta Borg. Wife: 1892 - 1957 Aino Järnefelt, born 1871, died 1969, wife's parents: General Alexander Järnefelt and Elisabeth Clodt von Jürgensburg. Children: Eva (Paloheimo), born 1893, died 1978; Ruth (Snellman), born 1894, died 1976, actress; Kirsti, born 1898, died 1900; Katarina (Ilves), born 1903, died 1984; Margareta (Jalas), born 1908, died 1988, Master of Arts; Heidi (Blomstedt), born 1911, died 1982, artist.

© Biografiakeskus, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, PL 259, 00171 HELSINKI

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