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Great Musicians of the World SI

Great Musicians of the World


Jean Sibelius

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) got his name recorded in the universal history of music for his contribution to the development of the symphony and symphonic poem, where, in the latter category, we have the epic «Finland» - a vigorous composition that mirrors the people’s fight for sovereignty. Sibelius wished and managed to give this music an important role in shaping the identity of his country. The theme «Finland», composed in 1899 for a play of protest against the oppression practiced in the Grand Duchy by the Russian Empire, remains a patriotic symbol.

At the end of this century, the Finns aspired to become an independent nation-state, which happened only in 1917. Young Sibelius grew amongst the ideals of romantic nationalism, which would later influence his art, full of historical references.
He abandoned Law school to attend the Helsinki Music School, still far from imagining that it would one day be called Sibelius Academy. Influenced by the 19th century rules of composition, he was a Wagner enthusiast.

Over time, he distanced himself from opera and concentrated on symphonic composition. He wrote seven symphonies and several poems set to music. Sibelius had the particularity of associating musical notes with colours. He was mainly inspired by nature and literature.
Preferring to write in a tonal language, which earned him much criticism at the time, his «severe» orchestration is now considered a hallmark of Finnish traits.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006) was a German opera singer who stood out in the most prestigious opera houses in the world, consecrated by her faultless vocal technique, combined with an exceptional tone of voice and an unusual interpretive talent.
In addition to possessing rare singing skills, she was also noted for her beauty, intelligence, extreme perfectionism and an immense capacity for work. She is unanimously acclaimed and considered a diva. Debuting on stage in 1938, Schwarzkopf began to shine as a skilled interpreter of «lieder», a German musical genre. Shortly after, she got hired as first soprano of the Vienna State Opera – the beginning of a glorious career.

She is famous for her interpretations of important lyrical characters, such as Mimi in La Boheme, Pamina in the Magic Flute, Violetta in La Traviata, and Madame Butterffly. Her choice of composers includes Mozart, Schubert and Strauss.
In Portugal, Schwarzkopf performed several times. In 1954 she gave recitals in Coimbra, Braga and Lisbon, at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (São Carlos National Theatre), the house she returned to in 1955, for two concerts, and in 1958, always at the invitation of the Círculo de Cultura Musical (Circle of Musical Culture). She returned to Portuguese lands again in 1967 and 1968, hired by the Sociedade de Concertos de Lisboa (Lisbon Concert Society) to sing at Tivoli.

The last Portuguese stage to have welcomed her was again the São Carlos, in 1974. After attending one of her concerts, critic João Paes, having immediately become a fan, dedicated to her a flattering article extolling her art, evocatively described as «analytical, to the edge of possibility». 

Technical Details

Issue Date: 26.03.2015
Designer: AF Atelier
Printer: bpost
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 30,6 x 80 mm
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