From Publishers Weekly
In this illuminating survey of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), Barnett, founder of the U.K. Sibelius Society, attempts to place Sibelius's music in context by discussing all of his surviving works. The book benefits from the ambitious project of the Swedish record company BIS to record everything in its Complete Sibelius Edition, an undertaking in which Barnett has been closely involved since the mid-1980s. He traces the life of the composer from his early music lessons (violin, piano, cello) as a youth in Hameenlinna, Finland, and his first serious attempts at composition during the 1880s to the recognition of his talent at the Helsinki Music Institute (now the Sibelius Academy) and further studies in Berlin and Vienna, followed by the 1892 success of his first major orchestral work, his prolific creations over the following decades and his dwindling output after 1927 when he wrote in his diary, Abused, lonely, all my real friends dead. Just now my prestige here is non-existent. Impossible to work. In 1935, however, his status as an international icon was secure. Incorporated throughout is Barnett's in-depth analysis of Sibelius's compositions, a critique so finely tuned that many readers will want to listen as they read. 16 b&w illus. unseen by PW
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"Andrew Barnett is unfailingly perceptive and has the ability to engage the interest of both the less informed and the more expert reader. Few would be better qualified to undertake a new book on the Finnish master."—Robert Layton, author of Sibelius (Master Musicians Series)
“Barnett neatly dispels other myths, explaining how from around 1930 to his death, Sibelius completed briefer works while striving, unsuccessfully, to complete his Eighth Symphony. . . . A warmly humanizing, informed biography.”--Benjamin Ivry, The Newark Star-Ledger
(Benjamin Ivry The Newark Star-Ledger