Essentials: Sibelius

Klaus Mäkelä conducts Sibelius’s Fourth and The Swan of Tuonela

The Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä is leading the orchestra in atmospheric and fascinating music by Jean Sibelius.

image: Eduardus Lee
dates and tickets

The Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä is leading the orchestra in atmospheric and fascinating music by Jean Sibelius.

The Essentials Series introduces you to the masterpieces every music lover should know.

Concert programme

  • Jean Sibelius

    The Swan of Tuonela

  • Jean Sibelius

    Symphony No. 4

Performers

Dates and tickets

About this concert

The Essentials Series introduces you to the masterpieces every music lover should know, complete with a lively introduction by the incomparable Thomas Vanderveken. The towering pride of Finland, Jean Sibelius is known for his highly original œuvre, having drawn inspiration from the nature and mythology of Finland. And who better to lead the orchestra than its artistic partner, the Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä?

The Swan of Tuonela is based on a story from the Finnish national epic Kalevala. With his phenomenal orchestration, Sibelius evokes the chilling atmosphere of Tuonela, the island of the dead, and a mysterious swan gliding over the black water surrounding it. The cor anglais solo is truly unforgettable. 

The Fourth Symphony, too, is a work full of menace and darkness, and one which has given rise to much speculation. Did Sibelius forebode the First World War? Is the symphony his attempt to resolve traumatic childhood memories? Does it reflect his depression resulting from throat cancer? Sibelius himself called the work a retreat from life. Yet the work is not all doom and gloom: Sibelius’s Fourth contains beautiful moments of hope, light and mystery.