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Fragments Of The Never Completed Sibelius 8th Symphony Found

   The great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865- 1957 ) completed seven symphonies in his long lifetime
but rumors of an eighth have left the classical music world guessing for decades .  Musicologists have never been able to get to the bottom of the story of  this mystery work . Was it ever written at all , or was it destroyed by the composer because he  felt it was not worthy of  survival ?

   Sibelius is known to have been a highly self critical composer , and  there are stories of him  burning a large
number of manuscripts in the 1940s at his country home Ainola ( EYE-no-la) ) ,named after his wife Aino .
Although he lived into his early 90s , Sibelius  more or less abandoned composition  for the last 30 or so years of his life .  Why ?  The reasons are not  100 per cent certain .  He suffered from depression and alcoholism ,
and may have simply written himself out . 

   Apparently , Sibelius labored on his eighth symphony for some years ; he had already promised the great Russian conductor Serge Koussevitzky (1874 - 1951 ) the world premiere with the maestro's Boston symphony
Koussevitzky had been one the foremost champion's of his music for many years .  But nothing came of the sketches .  Were they destroyed ?

   But now the classical music world is abuzz with  stories about the discovery of what appear to be fragments of the  the work , and  the Helsinki Philharmonic under its music director John Storgards has just premiered
them .  Unfortunately , there is not enough surviving material to  make a completion of the symphony possible , as has been done with  with  10th of Mahler and the 9th of Bruckner .  If you would like to read more about this fascinating story , go to , which has  an English translation
of the article in Finnish in the Helsingin Sanomat , Finland's top newspaper .  You can hear the fragments, although some  people have complained that they were unable to hear it due to technical problems .  It should be appearing on youtube shortly .
Posted: Nov 16 2011, 07:14 PM by the horn | with no comments
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