2015 is a big year for Sibelius scholars – it’s the composer’s 150th birthday. Inevitably, this anniversary has birthed many Sibelius symphony cycles and increased exposure at the Proms, alongside the 6th international Jean Sibelius Conference in his birth-town, Hämeenlinna. A longer blog post will follow on the conference and attendant Sibelius celebrations, but for now a brief update on my recent material produced for Sibelius’s birthday.
I presented on Sibelius’s only pantomime, Scaramouche, at the Hämeenlinna conference. My paper can be found below, from 1:25:00, alongside papers by Gustav Djupsjöbacka, Carola Finkel, and Sanna Iitti:
One of the prevailing issues at the conference was how to place Sibelius and his music in terms of nationalist rhetoric. Sibelius has most often been thought of as the “sound of Finland”, associated with turn-of-the-century nationalist narratives. However, this has obscured much of his music that does not neatly fit such narratives. Sibelius the nationalist is far from the only Sibelius. I expand on this in an article for The Conversation, arguing that Sibelius and his reception are due a critical reappraisal. His outlook can be considered far more outward and cosmopolitan than such an insular conception of his work suggests.