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Monique Ohanessian

There are several questions I had about Sibelius and his role in Finnish nationality.

How does Sibelius add influence to Finnish people’s sense of nationality and unity that hasn’t been offered through literature? How does his quest differ from the “founding fathers?” Is he practical, like Lonnrot; idealistic, like Runeberg; or more of a civilizer and teacher, like Snellman? Do you think his music can tell the same story as literature from the time can, or is it too abstract?

Jim Lee

Sibelius contributes to the Finnish sense of nationality by giving those who were not as educated a chance to identify with the newly forged Finnish national identify. No one before Sibelius had given the Finnish people a chance to identify with there country musically. Siblelius’s music I believe tells gives the Finnish people a history and identify that is just as invaluable as any of the literature from this time.

Kyle Wilson

Two images which I noticed the filmmaker used to describe Jean Sibelius is a hard working dedicated man to his family and his music as well as a man who had an addiction to not only is his music, but alcohol and spending money on the finer things in life. This addictive personality trait created problems for Sibelius in his life, due to the debt he accumulated over the years. Some of the reoccuring images of Sibelius are his dedication to his family and music. Before his marriage to Aino, Sibelius had a long distance relationship with his future wife and was able to stay true to her through this period. Also, he is consistantly put in a position where the odds seem to be against him. Examples of this are seen with the law professor and Berlin composer who Sibelius was studying under. In both situations Jean Sibelius overcomes the odds and is able to succeed. However, he is always leveled when his addictive personality takes over creating a debt for himself and his family. Sibelius's greatest trait was his addiction to music and family. This addiction made Jean Sibelius a great composer and family man, however, it also created a lot of problems for Sibelius in his life. Jean Sibelius's greatest attribute was also his greatest weakness.

Kirk Heinrich

When watching the film, I noticed two very distinct sides to Jean Sibelius. However these sides share one distinct characteristic; an addictive personality. There are numerous scenes depicting Jean Sibelius as a loving, caring, patriotic man. He struggles continually through his life to make a name for himself in high society while adequately providing for his family. Leading up to and after the Russian take over, he also seeks to give Finland something to stand behind (almost if he wants to create his own "musical" Kalevala). While his addictive personality encourages his quest for perfection, it also presents a very dark side to his character. Many of his studies/apprecticeships require him to live away from his loved ones. With pressure and stress mounting (from trying to live up to his "child prodigy" title), he turns to his friends and social events. These festivities lead to lots of drinking, smoking, and loose women. These activities all end up contributing to even more stress and frustration for Sibelius. Ultimately, I think these images were shown to describe the Finnish people, and Sibelius as the most realistic (not necessarily glamorous) poster child for the common Finlander. At a time when they needed a common cause to get behind, they were often taking steps in the right and wrong directions. It wasn't always the Russians and society getting in their way, but most often it was themselves.

Mariya Marinova

This is a little ahead of time but you might have some interesting answers by next week: both Timo Koivusalo's movie and "Under the North Star" cover relatively the same time span. In what ways do you think the depiction of this period of Finnish history differs in the two works; do you find anything in common?

Laura Patterson

A connection I made in the movie was Sibelius' dedication to his music and his ability to keep going even when all odds were against him. His addiction to his music and success enabled him to play even when the government and everyone else was against him. I feel that this connects to the struggle of the Finnish people. At this time they were struggling against Russia and wanting to find their own identity. Sibelius' music showed his dedication to press on against all odds and almost represents the Finnish people's desire to press on.

Deven Rice

I feel his music could tell a story to the Finnish people. Look at the time when he was playing at the concert "Fantasa" his music riled up the Finnish people and they began to sing. He uplifted their spirits in a time when the Russians were holding the Finnish people down. I feel that the people needed music compoised by and for Finnish people at the time when the Russians were taking over. Though he drank a lot that really didn't bother me beacause he still stayed loyal to his family and still wrote music. He just partyed like a rock star for someone in the late 1880's.

Alison Bailey

Timo Koivusalo presents Sibelius as at once a virtuoso capable of writing beautiful music and overcoming the challenges put before him while failing to overcome his personal addictions to alcohol and a lavish lifestyle. He also depicts Sibelius' deep sense of patriotism which leads him to write Finlandia. I wish I had known more about Finnish figures of the time as there were many such as Aksel Gllan-Kallela included in the film.

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