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One of the greatest of Scandinavian composers and a truly original figure in twentieth-century music, Jean Sibelius (18651957) put his native country Finland on the musical map. According to Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, he was in the fullest sense of the term a musical patriot [who] enriched Finnish music, both officially and spontaneously, with a large number of works likely to form Finland's national art treasures.
Like the composer's other symphonic music, the Fifth Symphony is entirely personal in content and form, taking on its character from the composer's life experiences, and distinguished by a simplicity and lucidity that have made it one of Sibelius's most popular works. Neither deliberately modern nor studiedly archaic, notes Grove's, it is simply, in its most characteristic manifestations, unlike any other music.