updated 18 May 2020
© DR

Jean Sibelius

Finnish composer born 8 December 1865 in Hämeenlinna; died 20 September 1957 in Järvenpää.

From his birth on 8 December 1865 in Hämeenlinna (Tavastehus in Swedish), at that time a Russian province of the Grand Duchy of Finland, Jean Sibelius was confronted with questions of national identity. Born Johan Julius Christian, his friends affectionately referred to him as Janne; the composer then adopted the Gallicised version “Jean,” feeling it to be more appropriate for an artist. As with much of the Finnish population living in the border region, Jean was raised speaking Swedish. In 1868, when Jean was not yet three years old, his father, Christian Gustaf Sibelius, a military surgeon and town doctor, died of typhus. As a result, Jean’s mother, Maria Charlotta Sibelius (née Borg), was obliged to sell most of the family’s possessions in order to pay off the debts of her deceased husband, and the family moved in with her mother.

At the age of five, Jean Sibelius took his first piano lessons with his aunt. Showing obvious musical talent, he received a violin on his tenth birthday as a gift from his uncle and composed his first work, Vattendroppar (“Water Drops”). An amateur musician, Jean’s uncle closely followed the musical development of his nephew, who was then playing in a string quartet and a trio with his sister Linda (piano) and brother Christian (cello). In 1882, Sibelius turned more seriously to composing, having received guidance from a theory treatise he had obtained. On the basis of a musical exercise he had developed as a game to stave off boredom came a Trio comprising three movements, a Minuet in F Major and a handful of chamber works written in the Viennese classical style. He composed a String Quartet in E Major before moving from Hämeenlinna to Helsinki. A meeting with Busoni led him to temporarily abandon his ambition to become a virtuoso violinist. Soon afterwards, he dropped out of his law degree at the Imperial Alexander University, opting instead to study violin with Mitrofan Vassiliev and Hermann Csillag at the newly-opened Martin Wegelius Institute of Music (renamed the Sibelius Academy in 1939). In the Autumn of 1887, he took classes in music theory, and private lessons in composition with Martin Wegelius, a devotee of Wagner and Liszt. Sibelius’ first significant work, the Quartet in A Minor, was warmly received at its premiere. He became acquainted with Aino, the daughter of composer Armas Järnefelt, whom he later married.

With the help of Wegelius and Busoni, Sibelius obtained a grant allowing him to take private composition lessons with Albert Becker in Berlin (from September 1889 to late June 1890) and to study at the Vienna Conservatory (from October 1890 to early June 1891) with Karl Goldmark and Robert Fuchs. While in Vienna, he unsuccessfully attempted to meet Brahms, and attended a performance of Bruckner’s Third Symphony. His discovery of the “Kalevala” (a 19th-century work of epic poetry based on Finnish oral folklore and mythology) was the inspiration for Kullervo, premiered in 1892 in Helsinki. His interest in Finnish popular song gave rise to a friendship with singer Larin Paraske. Soon after his wedding in 1882, Sibelius spent the summer in the province of Karelia (now north-western Russia) in order to study and collect popular folk melodies. In the Autumn of 1892, he started teaching music theory and violin at the Helsinki Conservatory and at the Robert Kajanus Orchestral School. His first daughter, Eva, was born in 1893, and his second, Ruth, in 1894, the year in which he attended the Bayreuth Festival for the first time. Initially seduced by the music of Wagner, he would soon distance himself from it in favour of the style of Liszt, as manifest in the suite Lemminkäinen Op. 22, of which a part, The Swan of Tuonela, was immensely successful. The Finnish senate voted to award Sibelius a ten-year “National Artist” bursary, which was renewed until the composer’s death.

His third daughter, Kirsti, born in 1898, died two years later. Through a European tour with Kajanus and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, notably including a performance in the Finnish pavilion at the World Exposition, Sibelius’ music gained broad international recognition. However, the composer was beginning to experience health problems from his excessive alcohol consumption. In 1905, Sibelius annulled his contract with his Finnish publisher and signed with Robert Lienau in Berlin. In November of the same year, he travelled to Great Britain to conduct performances of his Symphony No. 1 and Finlandia. A meeting with Mahler in October 1907 in Helsinki was characterised by mutual incomprehension between the two composers. At the time of the birth of two more daughters, Margareta in 1908 and Heidi in 1911, Sibelius underwent surgery on a tumour in his throat which left him bedridden for several years and forced him to decline an offer of a composition professorship at the Vienna Imperial Conservatory.

In the Spring of 1914, he was invited by composer Horatio Parker to New York and Boston. Receiving a hero’s welcome, Sibelius was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Yale University, and premiered the final version of Oceanides in Norfolk, Connecticut. The war years were difficult for Sibelius, not least because the Russian Revolution gave rise to a declaration of independence in Finland in 1917. Upon completing revisions of his Symphony No. 5, the work was premiered in 1918. His 60th birthday saw national celebrations in his native Finland and a commission for a tone poem from the New York Philharmonic, resulting in the composition of Tapiola. Kajanus conducted the premiere of Symphony No. 7 in 1927. However, this marked the beginning of a long period of silence which lasted until his death; sketches for an Eighth Symphony were destroyed by the composer. In 1940, Goebbels created the Sibelius Society in Germany. In a radio broadcast, Sibelius thanked Germany for the honour, and declared the nation to be “the glorious land of music.” One year later, he condemned the racially-driven politics of Hitler’s regime in his diary. Following the war, his home in Ainola became a pilgrimage site for celebrity guests. Jean Sibelius died on 20 September 1957.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2020

By David Verdier

Posterity has crowned Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) the national composer of Finland. He is remembered as the author of the famous Valse triste, the Violin Concerto, and seven symphonies distinguished by their structural depth and abstraction; to these may be added an unfinished Symphony No. 8, which has achieved a certain legendary status given that the manuscript has been destroyed. However, one must do away with the nationalism, the folklore, and the mysticism in order to discern the profoundly original and contemporary character of his work. In step with the music of his time, Sibelius joins up Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg by way of Claude Debussy and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. His singularity places him, alongside Leoš Janáček and Béla Bartók, among those composers who saw the relationship between modernity and notions of identity and belonging to a given cultural territory. The breadth of Sibelius’s symphonic imagination places him squarely in the same league as composers like Anton Bruckner or Gustav Mahler — except that he developed the form in an increasingly ascetic direction, just as he also was interested in shorter forms, choral composition, and the symphonic poem. If his first efforts drew openly on Viennese classicism and early Romanticism, his trajectory manifests a renewal in symphonic writing, the significance and meaning of which took several decades to conquer the concert hall and contemporary musicology.

Even if Sibelius’s music did not manage to form the basis for a school, it inspired several composers within Finland, such as Leevi Madetoja, Toivo Kuula, and, more recently, Aulis Sallinen, Einar Englund, and Joonas Kokkonen. Beyond his own nation, it has been mostly British and American composers — Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax, and Samuel Barber — who have claimed Sibelius’s legacy. In France, Tristan Murail and Gérard Grisey have made Sibelius’s music, and in particular his interest in color and in overlapping structures, into major sources of inspiration for spectralism. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Sibelius’s attention to minimalist structures and to the treatment of timbre resonate in the music of Philip Glass and John Adams — but also, on another level, in that of Thomas Adès and Julian Anderson. Sibelius’s music possesses an organic dimension that may be compared to the growth of a plant organism — not in the manner of a rhizome or by a grafting technique, as in the case of a composer like Pierre Boulez, but in the sense that the modernity of the musical material contains a form of germination and amplification-diversification, over the course of which the content ultimately comes to define the structure.

Working within forms and genres inherited from the classical tradition, Sibelius generates motion through the use of simple counterpoint, transformed by a stratification of layers and rhythms into a circular line, which recasts the idea of a melody. His attention to timbral and harmonic variations is enough to create a sort of dramatic tension — as in the Finale of his Symphonies No. 2 and No. 5. His writing evolves progressively toward a fusion of movements into one single development — modeled on Debussy’s Jeux or Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen.

First Steps

Throughout Sibelius’s stylistic development, large-scale symphonic works are accompanied by more intimate forms, including piano miniatures or works for small choir. His first composition is generally considered to be the modest Water Droplets (Vattendroppar), supposedly written at the age of ten. In reality, this little rhythmic exercise for violin and cello was probably composed five years later, and intended for his brother Christian, who was just beginning to learn the cello. The string trio composed in the summer of 1883 is the first of Sibelius’s compositions that may be dated with certainty. Until at least 1885, he wrote chamber music for his family and his immediate musical entourage, displaying the influence of classical and romantic composers from Haydn to Schumann, by way of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. By the time Sibelius began studying at the Helsinki Music Institute in autumn 1885, his chamber pieces demonstrated the mounting influence of his contemporaries, Tchaikovsky and Edvard Grieg. His writing took on a maturity that progressed toward a remarkable singularity. While Sibelius abandoned his plans to pursue a career as a virtuoso violinist, his effort in the string quartet genre toward the end of his studies (1889) already showed signs of a symphonic mode of thought.

In the 1890s, the catalogue of his works manifested an ambition that should be defined as a truly Finnish national romanticism. His Piano Quintet in G minor is a capstone on his year of studies in Berlin (1889-1890), during which he considerably improved his compositional technique. This Quintet, noteworthy in terms of its innovation and melodic approach, sounds resolutely grand and proves highly ambitious. Similarly, his Romance in B minor (1890) for violin and piano, which he designated “Op. 2a,” shows explicitly symphonic attributes. After his time in Berlin, Sibelius went on to study with Karl Goldmark and Robert Fuchs in Vienna (1891). From then on, the orchestra became his preferred medium, as demonstrated in an Overture in E Major and a Ballet Scene — both prequels to his first symphony. During the same period, he discovered the Kalevala — the epic written by Elias Lönnrot in 1835, based on orally transmitted Finnish legends and poems. The discovery of this work was crucial for Sibelius: from that point forward, he saw value in seeking an authentically “Finnish” rhythm in his writing. He thus turned his back on the education he received from his Viennese and German teachers, and set about writing “Drömmen”, Op. 13, No. 5, a song inspired by the rhythm of the verses of Kalevala and of Finnish popular music. As he wrote to his fiancée Aino Järnefelt in 1891, “It’s new and it’s Finnish. Yes, I do believe in Finnish music, even if the so-called ‘experts’ ridicule it. The monotonous, strangely melancholic sound of all Finnish melodies is very particular, even if it might strictly speaking be considered a flaw.”

In April 1891, Sibelius began composing Kullervo, Op. 7, still based on Kalevala. Now, building on his education on themes and orchestration received from Goldmark and Fuchs, he added a power of inspiration inherited from Beethoven, Bruckner, and Wagner. The work stood out from everything he had written up until that point, in its singularity and monumental ferocity. Upon completing the work, he wrote: “I now have control over the orchestra and can do with it what I wish, and what I consider to be true.” Not again until Mahler’s Das klagende Lied or, in some respects, Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie and later Magnus Lindberg’s Kraft, would there be a similar equivalent in terms of the telluric and energetic profusion of sound. The symphonic poem Lemminkäinen, Op. 22, and the suite Karelia, Op. 11 (based on incidental music, Op. 10), represent the summit of this “national romanticism.” En Saga, Op. 9, marked a turning point, whereby Sibelius sought “the expression of a state of mind” unattached to any specific programmatic content. This search for “absolute music” may be explained as the result of a Wagnerian crisis following Sibelius’s trip to Bayreuth in the summer of 1894 — a crisis from which he recovered only by studying the works of Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, and Tchaikovsky. The year 1899 finally saw the birth of a “symphony in four movements,” the beginning of what would later become Symphony No. 1. Progressing toward a musical genre which at that point was considered unfashionable, Sibelius sought to renew symphonic writing from the inside, even as he continued writing symphonic poems and programmatic music, like the four legends of Lemminkäinen (1893-1895). This work, with its abstraction and strangeness, did not meet with much success among a public that felt led astray by a stylistic modernity that would emerge again later in works like The Tempest and Tapiola.


In the early 1900s, Sibelius quickly acquired international recognition, thanks in large part to his Symphony No. 1, Op. 39; his Swan of Tuonela, Op. 22; and his King Christian II suite, Op. 27, for Adolf Paul’s play. His symphonic poem Finlandia, Op. 26, written in 1899, became a symbol of Finnish resistance to the Russian suzerain. The weighty tonal language of national romanticism culminated in works like The Origin of Fire, Op. 32, but appears relatively absent from his Symphony No. 2, Op. 43, composed the same year and manifesting a more classical transparency of writing. Sibelius revised En Saga and the Violin Concerto, Op. 47, pushing the music toward a greater concentration of effects and reducing their duration. From 1903, his style became more open to dissonance, as perceptible in songs such as “Höstkväll,” Op. 38, No. 1, and “På verandan vid havet,” Op. 38, No. 2; and in the Moderato allegro of the Symphony No. 3, Op. 52, based on material developed a year earlier in Pohjola’s Daughter, Op. 49. Sibelius channeled an almost chamber music–like concentration, which greatly inspired his Symphony No. 4, which contains echoes of his string quartet, Voces intimae, composed in 1909.

The series of masterpieces proceeds with the symphonic poem The Bard, Op. 64, and the Scènes Historiques I and II, Op. 25 and 66; but a new period emerged with The Oceanides, Op. 73, in which Sibelius opened up to Debussyist inspiration in colors and timbres. With the outbreak of World War I, Sibelius found himself obliged to return to chamber and piano works for amateur musicians in order to make a living. It would not be until his Symphony No. 5, Op. 82, composed in 1915 and revised in 1916 and 1918, that he resumed his ambition to reinvent a musical genre, drawing from it all the elements of modernity. As in the last movement of his Symphony No. 3, Sibelius opted for a concentration of the musical material, leading him to unify in one movement what he had originally imagined as several movements’ worth of material. The first movement of the Symphony No. 5, in four parts (Tempo molto moderato — Largamente — Allegro moderato — Presto) is itself a symphony within a symphony; and notwithstanding his return to traditional harmony, Sibelius led symphonic writing toward a new horizon by problematizing form and structure. His Symphony No. 6, Op. 104, and Symphony No. 7, Op. 105, followed shortly after, both based on sketches written during the composition of the Symphony No. 5, but with a sense of asceticism and concentration that culminate in the single-movement Symphony No. 7 — a work which represents the height of his efforts to employ an extreme synthesis of means and ends in his writing. This final symphony, organized around a thematic core, is quasi-cyclical, containing several distinct parts within it. Therein lies the true formal radicalism of Sibelius, far more than in the apparently tonal idiom.

Toward Silence

In parallel with this sheer density, Sibelius’s short-form compositions diminished in number, with the composer preferring to write more elaborate works such as the incidental music to Shakespeare’s Tempest, Op. 109. This score contains several miniatures, arranged in the manner of traditional yet austere tableaux, with an overture in the form of a miniature symphonic poem — it is truly modern music, of violent abstraction. Shortly after his final symphonic poem, Tapiola, Op. 112, also derived from one single theme, Sibelius secluded himself in his Ainola residence, shrouding himself in a silence that would lead to him being elevated in the eyes of posterity from the rank of a composer to that of an almost mystical figure. However, this so-called “silence of Ainola” was not absolute; in 1929, Sibelius wrote Five Sketches for piano, Op. 114, and Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 115. His plans for a Symphony No. 8, pledged to the conductor Serge Koussevitzky, slipped further and further away; in August 1945, his wife, Aino, confessed to musicologist Erik Werner Tawaststjerna that Sibelius, dissatisfied with his sketches, sent them up in flames. From then on, he devoted his time to revising old scores in view of publication, such as Lemminkäinen. In 1946, he composed two movements of his Masonic Ritual Music for voice and harmonium, Op. 113 — “Veljesvirsi“ and “Ylistyshymni” — which are his final completed compositions. In 1951, he wrote an arrangement of his choral “Partiolaisten Marssi,” Op. 91, No. 2, for two women’s voices and piano; and in 1954, an arrangement of his Christmas canticle, “Julvisa,” Op. 1, No. 4, for children’s choir.

Resisting Adorno

Outside Finland and other Nordic countries, Sibelius’s music was first played in Germany and Great Britain, and then, from the 1920s, in Japan and the United States. According to a survey organized by the New York Philharmonic in 1935, Sibelius was more popular than Beethoven or Ravel. In his 1931 book about the composer, the English critic Cecil Gray stated that Sibelius was the greatest symphonist since Beethoven.1 Musicologist Olin Downes, singing the composer’s praises in The New York Times, was nicknamed “Sibelius’s Apostle.” In the 1930s, Sibelius’s music was even considered as an antidote or alternative to the Second Viennese School and to Mahler, Debussy, or Igor Stravinsky.

In contrast to these displays of support, the German philosopher and sociologist Theodor W. Adorno declared in an 1938 article in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, “Sibelius may be considered a great composer — if we abandon all criteria historically used to measure the value of music from Bach to Schoenberg.”2 By way of this forceful judgment, Adorno sought to demonstrate that by his recourse to “old means,” namely tonal harmony, Sibelius was out of step with his age, and therefore his music sounded false. This theory was elaborated in Philosophy of New Music, published in 1949, in which Adorno proposed the existence in music of a “tendency of the material,” which obeys its own laws of movement, and to which the composer must adapt or else lose their place in history: “When a contemporary composer, such as Jean Sibelius, makes do entirely with tonal resources, they sound just as false as do the tonal enclaves in atonal music.”3 In his critique, Adorno also referred to Sibelius’s interest in a sort of pantheism that links man and nature, connecting it to the political ideology of Blut und Boden put in place by the Nazis in order to justify their territorial conquest.

Adorno’s 1938 article resurfaced in the 1960s, by which time Adorno was at the helm of the Frankfurt School, and spoke of Sibelius as a “dangerous example.” Other agents of musical modernity followed in his wake, including René Leibowitz, who did not shy from calling Sibelius the “worst composer in the world”4 on the occasion of Sibelius’s ninetieth birthday in 1955. The presence of a composer of tonal music was especially provocative at a time when the Darmstadt School dictated the laws of musical modernity and challenges to those definitions were unwelcome. No commentator in those days could imagine the impact that a work as modern as the Symphony No. 4 had had in 1911, or that of Tapiola and the Symphony No. 7 in the 1920s.

The resistance of much of the public to Sibelius did not diminish the regular presence of his works on the concert programs of major international conductors, such as Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, or Lorin Maazel, in the years following World War II. In the early 2000s, the work of Antti Vihinen and Ruth-Maria Gleissner5 shed light on Adorno’s politicized use of Sibelius. These works are part of a broader collection of studies undertaken by the contributors to the Sibelius Companion, edited by Glenda Goss (Westport, Greenwood Press, 1996), and to Sibelius Studies (2001), published by Cambridge University Press. In their preface to the latter work, Timothy Jackson and Veijo Murtomäki draw upon the analytical methods of theorist Heinrich Schenker (1869-1935), who was interested in the organic symphonic logic of Sibelius’s music, a dimension of modernity entirely alien to Adorno’s analysis.

1. Cecil GRAY, Sibelius, London/Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1931.
2. Theodor W. ADORNO, “Glosse über Sibelius” (1938), in Impromptus, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp, 1968, p. 92.
3. Theodor W. ADORNO, Philosophy of New Music (1949), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006, p. 33.
4. René LEIBOWITZ, Sibelius, le plus mauvais compositeur du monde, Liège, Dynamo, 1955.
5. See Antti VIHINEN, Theodor W. Adornon Sibelius-kritiikin poliittinen ulottuvuus, Helsinki, Helsingin yliopisto, 2000; and Ruth-Maria GLEISSNER, Der unpolitische Komponist als Politikum: Die Rezeption von Jean Sibelius im NS-Staat, Frankfurt, Europäische Hochschulschriften, 2002.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2020

Catalog sources and details

La numérotation des œuvres de Sibelius comporte de nombreuses incohérences et illogismes. Le compositeur a d’abord produit une liste numérotée des œuvres en 1896 et une liste des numéros d’opus l’année suivante, mais nombre de ces numéros ont été modifiés par la suite. Ce n’est qu’en 1903 que ses œuvres ont commencé à être publiées avec des numéros d’opus, et seulement à partir de 1930-1931, la numérotation peut être considérée comme définitive. On trouvera une description complète du développement des nombres d’opus de Sibelius dans l’ouvrage de Fabian Dahlström : Jean Sibelius. Thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (Wiesbaden, Breitkopf & Härtel, 2003, p. 680-692). En 1982, la famille Sibelius a fait don d’une importante collection de manuscrits à la bibliothèque universitaire d’Helsinki (HUL, aujourd’hui Bibliothèque nationale de Finlande). Plusieurs de ces œuvres sont à présent classées JS, en référence à la liste alphabétique des compositions de Jean Sibelius sans numéro d’opus utilisées dans le catalogue susmentionné de Dahlström. Un nombre important de ces compositions seront finalement publiées par Breitkopf & Härtel.

Catalog source(s)

La numérotation des œuvres de Sibelius comporte de nombreuses incohérences et illogismes. Le compositeur a d’abord produit une liste numérotée des œuvres en 1896 et une liste des numéros d’opus l’année suivante, mais nombre de ces numéros ont été modifiés par la suite. Ce n’est qu’en 1903 que ses œuvres ont commencé à être publiées avec des numéros d’opus, et seulement à partir de 1930-1931, la numérotation peut être considérée comme définitive. On trouvera une description complète du développement des nombres d’opus de Sibelius dans l’ouvrage de Fabian Dahlström : Jean Sibelius. Thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (Wiesbaden, Breitkopf & Härtel, 2003, p. 680-692). En 1982, la famille Sibelius a fait don d’une importante collection de manuscrits à la bibliothèque universitaire d’Helsinki (HUL, aujourd’hui Bibliothèque nationale de Finlande). Plusieurs de ces œuvres sont à présent classées JS, en référence à la liste alphabétique des compositions de Jean Sibelius sans numéro d’opus utilisées dans le catalogue susmentionné de Dahlström. Un nombre important de ces compositions seront finalement publiées par Breitkopf & Härtel.


  • Andrew BARNETT, Sibelius, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2007.
  • Jean-Luc CARON, Jean Sibelius, Lausanne, L’Âge d’homme, 1997.
  • Fabian DAHLSTRÖM, Jean Sibelius. Thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke , Wiesbaden, Breitkopf & Härtel, 2003.
  • Glenda Dawn GOSS, The Sibelius Companion, Westport, Greenwood Press, 1996.
  • David HURWITZ, Jean Sibelius: The Orchestral Works, Pompton Plains, Amadeus Press, 2007.
  • Antonin SERVIERE, Sibelius : le style dans l’œuvre symphonique, Sampzon, Delatour, 2011.
  • Éric TANGUY, Nathalie KRAFFT, Écouter Sibelius, Paris, Buchet/Chastel, 2017.
  • Erik TAWASTSTJERNA, Sibelius, vol. I : 1865-1905, Londres, Faber & Faber 1976.
  • Erik TAWASTSTJERNA, Sibelius, vol. II : 1904-1914, Londres, Faber & Faber, 1986.
  • Erik TAWASTSTJERNA, Sibelius, vol. III : 1914-1957, Londres, Faber & Faber, 1997.
  • Marc VIGNAL, Jean Sibelius, Paris, Fayard, 2004.


  • Sibelius Edition, Deutsche Grammophon, 14 CDs 00289 479 5102, 2015.
Musique symphonique
  • Complete Symphonies,Violin Concerto,Finlandia, Orchestre philharmonique d’Helsinki, Leif Segerstam (dir.), Ondine, 4 CDs ODE 1075-2Q, 2006.
  • Symphonies (complete),Valse triste,The Swan of Tuonela, Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, Kurt Sanderling (dir.), Brillant Classics, 5 CDs 6328, 2002.
  • Complete Symphonies,Tapiola,Karelia Suite,Finlandia,The Bard, Bornemouth Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund (dir.), Warner, 4 CDs 50999 9 73600 2 5, 2013.
Poèmes symphoniques
  • Tone Poems, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmö Vänska (dir.), BIS, CD 1225, 2002.
Œuvres pour piano
  • Sonatinesop. 67,Kyllikki, Glenn Gould (piano), Sony, CD 88697148412, 2007.
  • [Intégrale des pièces pour piano], Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Sony, CD 88985408502, 2017.
Œuvres vocales
  • Complete Works for Mixed Choir, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Heikki Seppänen (dir.), Ondine, 2 CDs ODE 1260-2D, 2015.
  • Concerto pour violon op. 47, Leonidas Kavakos (violon), Lahti Symphoniy Orchestra, Osmö Vänska (dir.), BIS, CD 500, 1991.
  • avec Finlandia et Tapiola, Christian Ferras (violon), Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan (dir.), Deutsche Grammophon, CD 419871-2, 1988.
  • Complete Songs , Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Tom Krause (baryton), Irwin Gage et Vladimir Ashkhenazy (piano), Carlos Bonell (guitare), Decca, 4 CDs 478 8609, 2015.
  • Anne Sofie von Otter sings Sibelius, Anne Sofie von Otter (soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano), BIS, CD 300757, 1995.