Sibelius: Complete Works (JSW)
Series I (Orchestral works) Vol. 2: Symphony No. 1 in E minor Op. 39 - ed. by Timo Virtanen

Sibelius's beginnings as a symphonist

Jean Sibelius's first orchestral works were influenced by Finnish legends (Kullervo, En saga). But even a few years after having written these works, he was planning another programmatic piece, a symphony in several movements entitled "Life of a Dreamer" or "Musical Dialogue." It was not until the compositional phase leading up to the world premiere in 1899 that Sibelius took his first steps towards "absolute" orchestral music, as is revealed by the editor in his knowledgeable preface. After a fundamental revision, the work ultimately established the fame of the young composer: the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra took the First Symphony on its tour of Europe in 1900 and presented it with rousing success at the Paris Universal Exhibition.

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