The Bard (Sibelius)

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The Bard
Tone poem by Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius, 1913.jpg
The composer in 1913
Native name Barden
Catalogue Op. 64
Composed 1913 (r. 1914)
Date March 27, 1913
Location Helsinki, Finland
Conductor Jean Sibelius

The Bard, Op. 64, is a brief tone poem for orchestra composed in 1913 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was first performed in Helsinki on 27 March 1913 by the Philharmonic Society Orchestra, conducted by the composer himself, but he revised it in 1914.[1] The new version was first performed in Helsinki on 9 January 1916, again under the baton of the composer.

It was premiered in England in a broadcast conducted by Adrian Boult in 1935. The first public performance was given by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1938.

The tone poem itself provides a profound, yet cryptic glimpse of an elegiac, poetic world: an initial, harp-led stillness and reflection are succeeded by elemental, eruptive surges and, finally, a sense of renunciation or maybe death.


The piece has been recorded by Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; recordings available in 2017 include Thomas Beecham and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Paavo Berglund and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davies and the London Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Gibson and the Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Petri Sakari and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.


  1. ^ Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, ISBN 0-19-861459-4

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