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A composer's ties to the Nazi regime

 
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:53 am    Post subject: A composer's ties to the Nazi regime Reply with quote


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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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I came across this review yesterday and I think it is pretty shocking that Prof. Jackson should be trying to make Sibelius into a fully paid up member of the Third Reich.--kp

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kullervopete wrote:
http://chronicle.com/article/A-Composers-Ties-to-Nazi/49256/

I came across this review yesterday and I think it is pretty shocking that Prof. Jackson should be trying to make Sibelius into a fully paid up member of the Third Reich.--kp


The critic answer to the Jackson's thinking is perfect, absoluty right: he don't know about the Finland situation to Germany and the 2nd World War (SSSR!).

The nazis hurted a lot of aspects of the culture, like Wagner and other like Pfitzner (I like very much Pfitzner's music). But the nazis were the opposite to the culture and humanity. I don't think that "nazi opinions about the arts" must to be consider at all!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Revilla wrote:


The critic answer to the Jackson's thinking is perfect, absoluty right: he don't know about the Finland situation to Germany and the 2nd World War (SSSR!).

The nazis hurted a lot of aspects of the culture, like Wagner and other like Pfitzner (I like very much Pfitzner's music). But the nazis were the opposite to the culture and humanity. I don't think that "nazi opinions about the arts" must to be consider at all!


Thats very true David. If you read Santeri Levas's book 'Sibelius a personal portrait' he makes it quite clear that although Sibelius had been awarded a high decoration from Mussolini and the Goethe Medal from Hitler, their ideologies were alien to him. Indeed in 1942 when the Third Reich was at its most powerful, Dr. Goebbels even founded a Sibelius Society. A radio commentator in Moscow spoke ironically of this and concluded by saying, 'what would the composer himself say, if he were alive? Sibelius was sitting by the radio, laughing like anything'.

Take this diary entry dated 6th September, 1943. 'This primitive way of thinking, anti-semitism and the like, is something that at my age, I cannot condone. My upbringing and breeding don't fit in with the times. That is an understatement exceptionally badly put'.

Of course Sibelius had always sought success in Germany, he had visited Berlin at least 36 times, excluding the war years and was supported in Germany by publishers Lienau and Breitkopf and Hartel. He was also a member of the German performing rights society. Clearly Sibelius music appealed to the twisted minds of the Third Reich, but the master had no substantial contacts with the Nazi Goverment and he never composed anything for its celebration. Clearly Sibelius did not seize the opportunity to become the great Nordic icon in the Third Reich, which he could so easily have done. It is significant that Sibelius wrote music for organisations from the Boy Scouts to the Freemason's, but absolutely nothing oriented towards the Socialist left.

In a diary entry from 22nd September, Sibelius wrote: 'Everything seems so petty. These puerile Rassenbestimmungen [Racial Laws] which are humbug. I am an artist and certainly have the advantage of profiting from the good in all my antecedents'.

It is abhorent to try and tar Jean Sibelius with the same nazi brush as that used on such home grown figures as R. Strauss, Hans Pfitzner [whose symphonies I love] and Herbert von Karajan. Surely Sibelius's broadcast to the Newyork World Fair in 1939 said it all, a message of peace and goodwill to the wider world. Certainly Sibelius's position was delicate to say the least at the outbreak of WW2. In June, 1941 Nazi Germany invaded Russia, while giving military support to Finland and to all intents and purposes Finland was now allied with Germany. After the 'continuation war' the Finnish Government asked Sibelius to use his goodwill which he enjoyed in the US. to explain Finlands case. These were distressing times for the composer. Sibelius speaks essentially through his music and his message is addressed to all mankind, indeed the master once remarked 'I do believe in civilisation'.--kp

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite so, and the reaction by Veijo Murtomäki in the article is rather moderate compared with that I have heard off-the-record from various scholars. There are still members of the Sibelius family who were adults during WW2, and who will know precisely what Sibelius thought. Maybe they can be persuaded to set the record straight once and for all. Tim Jackson is a great authority on Jewish music of this period and has done us a great service in unearthing some fine, hitherto neglected scores. But here I think he is adding 2+2 and getting 43. Sibelius was no Jew-hater; just think how fond he was of Harriet Cohen, for instance. And if your country is allied to Nazi Germany and they offer you a medal, heck, you simply wouldn't dare to say no. Sibelius's recorded 'greetings to Germany' from this period are decidedly unenthusiastic in tone, as well (listen at
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This is the same Tim Jackson who has advanced the theory that Lemminkäisen laulu [Op.31 No.1] was really a 'fifth movement' for the Lemminkäinen Suite. (The justification is that the original version of Lemminkäinen's Return quotes a theme also found in Lemminkäisen laulu.) Never mind that it needs a choir and would thus be totally impractical in a concert context. And never mind that its text is not even from the Kalevala. It pains me to say this of a respected scholar, but this is another example of taking accurate facts to concoct lavish and absurd theories. The obvious answer is that both works come from the ruins of the opera Veneen luominen - one with a different text, one with no text at all - simple as that.

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Harri M
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sibelius was given the award from Hitler when he was 70. In 1939 he was 74 , 1945 80. Finlandia was composed 1899. Tapiola 1926.

70 years ago my grandfather was fighting against them who attacced into our country in the road of Raattee. Finland was alone. I think US was a supporter of USSR. In 1941 Finns didn`t want to be alone. Look the map and imagine 4 millions against USSR:

This shows which countries contributed in association with nazis.

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Main article: 1936 Summer Olympics medal table
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany (host nation) 33 26 30 89
2 United States 24 20 12 56
3 Hungary 10 1 5 16
4 Italy 8 9 5 22
5 Finland 7 6 6 19
France 7 6 6 19
7 Sweden 6 5 9 20
8 Japan 6 4 8 18
9 Netherlands 6 4 7 17
10 Great Britain 4 7 3 14
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jackson is obviously a shrewd guy. He has gotten us to talk about him, plus he has gotten his name mentioned in the paper for having advanced sensational, salacious ideas such as this. He obviously prescribes to PT Barnum's dictum that "a sucker is born every minute."

One of the comments on the page featuring the article rings very true. He said that Sibelius was either completely a Nazi or not a Nazi at all. So, because he has been awarded the Goethe Medal, had been interviewed by a member of the SS and didn't provided any help to this Jewish musician, it is obvious that Sibelius MUST have been a complete Jew-hating Nazi.

True, if you manipulate the facts a certain way, you can certainly be convincing. (Weren't the Nazis themselves good at this sort of thing?) Anyway, failing to disregard the political situation of Finland at the time is truly a crushing error when taking into consideration, for example, that Gobbels approved of a German Sibelius Society. Finland needed Germany's help in their efforts to keep the Ruskies out of Finland. What would the political implications been if the most famous Finn in Finland rejected such sponsorship? This could have been damaging to Finland's need for German help, and perhaps even endangered Sibelius and his family to some degree. Opportunistic, I suppose, but I'm sure there was a lot of opportunism at the time to keep yourself out of trouble. Not wanting to "shake the boat," as it were, certainly does not mean you take on full NSDAP credentials.

Now, if Sibelius had written works like "The Grand Hymn to Hitler" or something like that, he would deserve this sort of scrutiny. But that is obviously not the case. Jackson's assertions are poppycock but I'm sure he's enjoying the attention he's getting nevertheless.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Further insights into the controversy can be found above. Ruth-Maria Gleisner's doctoral thesis 'A none political composer as a political subject. Jean Sibelius reception in Nazi Germany'. reviewed by Vesa Siren.--kp

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More here on the continued controversy.--kp

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't honestly understand just why a respected musicologist like Prof. Jackson who clearly admires the music of Sibelius should be trying to tarnish his character. Take the case of two 'home grown' German musicians during the war years. Both Richard Strauss and Wilhelm Furtwangler both chose to stay in Nazi Germany. Furtwangler conducted the Berlin Philharmonic with Hitler and many Nazi henchmen in the audience. Strauss became President of the Reichmusikkamer, he composed the Olympic Hymn for the 1936 Berlin games and was an active friend of several high ranking Nazis. Both Strauss and Furtwangler were cleared of all charges after the war. Contrast this with Sibelius who never set foot outside of Ainola and who conducted his Andante festivo for the Newyork world fair in 1939. The man who also wrote 'Onward ye peoples' for the Freemasons. Hitler had written in 'Mein Kampf' that Freemasonry had succumbed to the Jews and indeed during the war many thousands were executed. I do not question Prof. Jackson's integrity in these matters, but he is wrong.--kp

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More on the subject from Prof. Jackson with a comment from myself.--kp

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, KP.
Hope you can come to Oxford in September for the Fifth International Jean Sibelius Conference. Then you can say it to his (Tim Jackson's) face, with Veijo Murtomäki, me and, I suspect, everyone else to support you.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Main article: 1936 Summer Olympics medal table
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany (host nation) 33 26 30 89
2 United States 24 20 12 56
3 Hungary 10 1 5 16
4 Italy 8 9 5 22
5 Finland 7 6 6 19
France 7 6 6 19
7 Sweden 6 5 9 20
8 Japan 6 4 8 18
9 Netherlands 6 4 7 17
10 Great Britain 4 7 3 14
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was perhaps too much tolerance of the Germans in general. Mannerheim was in a difficult position. He did not like Hitler.

Many people dealt with German soldiers on a daily basis. My grandmother had to learn to count money in German in her flower shop. She spoke some Swedish, but not well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a piece that I wrote for the UK Sibelius Society a few years back on the great fallacy of Sibelius's supposed ties to Nazi Germany--kp

Jean Sibelius, Deutschland and the Third Reich

By Peter Frankland

In 1910 when Sibelius secured a contract with the German publishing house of Breitkopf and Hartel, he had high hopes of forging an international career. Austro-Germany had long been seen as the cultural centre of Europe and Sibelius, as a Finnish composer very much on its periphery, longed for international recognition above all as a symphonic composer. But Germany, birthplace of the symphony has always been slow to except outsiders. Sibelius had much to thank his friend Busoni, the pianist and composer who was half Italian and half German. Busoni had done much to make Sibelius’s music known in central Europe. He had even written an introductory letter to Brahms when the young Sibelius had gone to study in Vienna in 1891. During the 1900’s Sibelius began to make limited headway in Germany. In 1902 Sibelius gave his revised version of En saga and in 1904 Ferdinand Neisser introduced Finlandia to Berlin and he presented Valse triste and Spring Song in 1906. Richard Strauss had conducted the premiere of the Violin Concerto [revised version] in 1905. In 1908 Busoni conducted Pohjola’s Daughter. However in 1912 when Paul Weingartner tried to programme the Fourth Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic, it is suggested that the orchestra refused to play it on the pretext that the bells had not arrived! However the Berlin Philharmonic under Oskar Fried gave the fourth in 1916. Early in 1912 Sibelius was actually offered a chair of composition in Vienna to replace one of his former teachers Robert Fuchs. Sibelius did give the matter some thought, however in March he turned it down, wisely I think. Academic life was not for him. Berlin remained the focus of Sibelius’s professional interests all his life. Following Sibelius’s highly successful visit to the United States in 1914 in which he had scored a great triumph with his tone poem The Oceanides, Sibelius turned his attention to his fifth Symphony. But alas war was declared that same year and Sibelius was effectively cut off from his German publisher Breitkopf and also his numerous trips to the music capitals of Europe. Sibelius thought it inconceivable that Germany would fall. As he remarked ‘Cuther’s, Kants, Goeth’s and Beethoven’s country crushed by the Muscovite Juggernaut. Russia is the aggressor, so God help Germany’. Of course the war years where dominated by Sibelius’s struggles with the fifth Symphony. When revolution broke out in Russia in 1917, Finland declared Independence. Late in 1917 Sibelius composed his ‘Finnish Jager March’ for male chorus and orchestra. In 1918 the Finnish Civil war broke out between the generally right wing Government supporters and left wing rebels. The horrors of the Red Guard occupation depressed him deeply. The war ended with victory for the Government forces, supported by Germany and the expulsion of Russian troops. Sibelius sympathies had undoubtedly been with the ‘Whites’. With the end of WW1, Sibelius was gradually able to resume contacts again with Breitkopf in Leipzig, Lienau in Berlin and indeed the wider world. In 1921 the indefatigable Busoni presented the definitive version of the fifth symphony [1919] in Berlin. Sibelius visited Germany on at least 36 occasions up to 1931, Berlin remained central to Sibelius’s professional activities during his composing career. Sibelius never really experienced the success that he had hoped for in Germany. Indeed the symphony has been seen for so long as exclusively Austro-German property and acceptance of ‘outsiders’ such as Sibelius, Vaughan Williams and others has been scant. Prof. Hans Redlich who came to an admiration of Sibelius late in life recounted that ‘Even with Breitkopf and Hartel, the leading German music publishers of pre-1914 date, willingly propagating the bulk of his output, Sibelius made little headway in the concert programmes of Germany and Austria either before or after 1918. I cannot remember a single performance of a Sibelius symphony in either Vienna or Berlin up to the middle 1920’s’ he wrote. The German writer and composer Walter Niemann in many ways sympathetic to Sibelius, having written about him as early as 1918 ‘Die nordische klaviermusik’ considered Sibelius’s music to be only exotic regional art. With the rise of Fascism during the 1930’s, storm clouds were again looming. In 1939 Hitler crushed the Czech State and the Soviets signed a none-aggression pact with Nazi Germany and soon the whole world would once again be in conflict. Sibelius soon found himself in the delicate situation of a Nazi icon. In 1935 he had received the Goethe Medal from Hitler and a high decoration from the Fuehrers side kick Mussolini and in 1942; three years into WW2 Dr. Goebbels founded a Sibelius Society.
Finland’s position during the Second World War was unique. Finland fought three wars at this time, the ‘winter war’ alone against the Soviet Union, the so called ‘continuation war’ with Nazi Germany against the Soviets and the ‘Lapland war’ against Germany. Briefly the ‘winter war’ broke out in November, 1939 when the USSR attacked Finland. Despite being offered asylum in the US, the patriotic composer refused. In 1941 Finland allied with Nazi Germany went on the offensive, retaking territories from the Soviet Union lost in the winter war. In November 1941 Britain gave Finland an ultimatum, halt all offensive operations on the USSR or face a war with the Allies. In March 1945 Finland declared war on Nazi Germany. Only three European Capitals were never occupied during WW2, Moscow, London and Helsinki.
During these horrendous years of course, Sibelius was well into the ‘silence of Jarvenpaa’ and publishing no new major works of music. A few music historians have seen Sibelius’s attitude to the Third Reich as being slightly ambivalent leading to detractors such as Adorno trying to make a connection between the ‘unity with nature’ that admirers had found in Sibelius’s music and the ‘Blut und Boden’ idea’s of the Nazis. Adorno’s views are nowadays largely discredited. But the generally accepted view as been that the Finnish Master was essentially a passive, apolitical observer of the rise of Hitler and his effects throughout Europe. Now a collection of essays is due to be published this summer in which respected Musicologist Professor Timothy L. Jackson of the University of North Texas challenges this traditional view. Jackson has examined archives, documents, Government papers and newspaper reports in order to make some astonishing claims. Prof. Jackson previewed his arguments in October, 2009 at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Philadelphia. Jackson claims that Sibelius was an active supporter of Nazism and should join Pound, Wagner and Ferdinand Celine in the select group of artists who have been cast into anti-Semitic ignominy. Jackson further claims that Sibelius’s associations with National Socialism amount to active support of Nazism and its propaganda efforts in Germany and the Nordic countries. Does Prof. Jackson produce any hard evidence to back up his charges? Well he cites an occasion in 1942 when Sibelius agreed to give an interview with an SS correspondent at Ainola and also claims that he was ‘very friendly’ with at least two Nazis, both SS members, namely Gunther Thaer and Helmuth Thierfelder. Thaer published a number of articles based on his conversations and contacts with Sibelius. With regard to conductor Thierfelder, Sibelius intervened in the internal affairs of the Reichsmusikkammer to support Thierfelder but refused later in the 1930’s to give help to composer Gunther Raphael who was declared a half Jew by the Nazis, although he had given his recommendation to Raphael in 1932. Prof. Jackson also cites the fact that Sibelius got copyright money and a pension from Germany as further proof of his Nazi ties. Not surprisingly one of the co-editors of the book, Veijo Murtomaki has argued strongly against Jackson’s conclusions. Vesa Siren, journalist and Sibelius authority told me that Sibelius in no way was a Nazi. Siren took issue with the claim that getting copyright payments from Germany suggested that Sibelius was ‘on the Nazi payroll’, copyright payments came from all over the world, and if he would have refused to accept payments from Germany, he would have actually supported the Nazis with that money. Santeri Levas was the composer’s secretary from 1938 until the Finnish master’s death in 1957. As such he was in a better position than most to witness first hand Sibelius’s attitudes and character: quote: ‘At all times full of concern and affection for his fellow-men’ Levas has made it clear that Hitler’s ideologies were alien to Sibelius. Levas described a cupboard at Ainola in which could be found addresses, Diplomas and Plaquettes that Sibelius had acquired. Honorary Membership of so many bodies that it was impossible for him to remember them all. He was Honorary Doctor and Professor of several Universities. Two large caskets hardly sufficed to hold all his orders and medals. Visitors to Ainola included conductors and performers, writers and Scholars, Ambassadors and Diplomats, representatives of this organization and that, and well known friends of Finland from abroad, all were received. Levas mentions that journalists from all over the world representing important Newspapers and agencies were tiresome. They said little, but asked all the more and it was not easy to satisfy them. Then, to Sibelius’s annoyance, they frequently wrote something quite different from what he had told them.
Prof. Jackson makes much of the fact that Sibelius accepted the Goethe Medal from Hitler in 1935. But Sibelius was awarded many such ‘honours’, in that same year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society [London] and later Sibelius was made a ‘Grand Officer’ of the French Legion of Honour. Alright, with hindsight perhaps Sibelius should have declined the medal from Hitler, but this does not make him a Nazi anymore than it does the coloured athlete Jessie Owen who had accepted a medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The Third Reich’s plans for Negroes have been less discussed. Goebbels propaganda machine stated that ‘the colored people are an inferior race whose place must be fixed by the white ‘Master race’. Sibelius clearly had no colour prejudice, in fact one of his favourite artists was the great [CENSORED] singer Marian Anderson. During the summer of 1939 Sibelius dedicated his song to her, ‘Solitude’ [formally the Jewish Girls Song No. 2b from his music to Belshazzar’s Feast. Many musicians and scientists etc fled Germany at this time. Bruno Walter escaped after being told that the hall of the Berlin Philharmonic would be burned down if he conducted a concert there. Otto Klemperer and Fritz Busch also left. Karajan joined the Nazi party in order to further his career. Wilhelm Furtwangler never joined the Nazi party, nor did he approve of them. He always refused to give the Nazi salute and there is even film footage of him turning away and wiping his hand with a handkerchief after shaking the hand of Dr. Goebbels. At his denazification trial, Furtwangler was charged with supporting Nazism by remaining in Germany and performing at Nazi party functions. In 1938 he had conducted the Berlin Philharmonic at a concert held for the Hitler Youth and he conducted Wagner’s Mastersingers in celebration of Hitler’s birthday. Furtwangler was cleared of all charges. Amongst composers, Hindemith fell in and out of favour with the Nazi hierarchy and finally emigrated to Switzerland in 1938 [his wife was Jewish] earlier he had sworn an oath to Hitler and accepted a commission to write music for a Luftwaffe event. In 1940 he went to the US. Kurt Weil fled the Nazis in 1933. The case of Hans Pfitzner is very poignant. He was initially regarded sympathetically by the Third Reich, but he soon fell out with top Nazis who disliked his long musical association with Bruno Walter who was Jewish. He also incurred the wrath of the regime by refusing to provide Incidental music for ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ that could replace Mendelssohn’s famous score which was unacceptable to the Nazis because of his Jewish background. [Sibelius adored Mendelssohn’s music] Pfitzner maintained that Mendelssohn’s original was far better than anything he could offer as a substitute. After the war Pfitzner was denazified. Richard Strauss of course remained in Nazi Germany, his position was midway between dissidence and collaboration. Toscanini famously quipped that ‘To Strauss the composer I take off my hat, to Strauss the man I put it back on again’.
Clearly Sibelius’s music appealed to the twisted minds of the Third Reich, but the master had no substantial contacts with the Nazi Government, and he never composed anything for its celebration. Sibelius wrote for the Freemasons and even the Boy Scouts, but no ‘Hymn to Hitler’ or ‘March of the German Panzer Division’! He did however come out of ‘retirement’ in 1939 to conduct his Andante Festivo in a broadcast not to a Nuremburg rally but to the New York world fair. Surely a gesture of peace and goodwill to the entire world. Let’s remember that Hitler had written in ‘Mein Kampf’ that freemasonry had succumbed to the Jews and indeed during the war many thousands were executed. Would a Nazi supporter have written the wonderful anthem ‘Onward Ye People’ from his Masonic Ritual Music, opus 113. Ruth-Maria Gleissner wrote a Doctoral Thesis in 2002 ‘None political composer’s as a political subject’ having made an extensive study of Sibelius’s reception in Nazi Germany. Gleissner concludes that Sibelius could not be described either as politically naïve or as a Nazi sympathizer simply because he accepted the honours he was offered and he never took part in the running of the composer’s Committee under Strauss. Prof. Jackson as commented that Gleissner’s work is excellent—but only as far as it goes, which is not far enough. Jackson is convinced that the extent of Sibelius’s direct involvement with the Third Reich was concealed by post-war Sibelius scholarship in order not to ‘taint’ him. Prof. Erik Tawastsjerna respected author of a definitive five volume biography on Sibelius argued that there was ‘not a scrap of truth to the claim that Sibelius was a Nazi sympathizer because the Nazi doctrines were completely at odds with Sibelius’s inherent humanism’, Tawastsjerna added that Sibelius also felt a strong sympathy towards things English and American. One of the most masterly and recent biography’s of Sibelius is of course by the society’s chairman Andrew Barnett who writes ‘Sibelius himself could not suppress his revulsion at Hitler’s policies’. I sought the view of leading Sibelius scholar Robert Layton author of the standard English study of the composer in the Master Musicians series [1965, rev 1993], ‘Sibelius and his World’ [Thames and Hudson, 1970] his translation of the first two volumes of Erik Tawaststjerna’s ‘Sibelius’ was awarded the Finnish State Literary Prize for 1985. Mr. Layton was scathing of Prof. Jackson’s. claims. He drew attention to 1941 when the Nazis invaded Russia ‘the Finns joined them though they were unwise enough not to call a halt at their old boundaries’. ‘Sibelius regarded the Soviet Union with fear and Aino was virulently anti-communist, and regarded the Soviet Union as a more serious threat than the Nazis. But I can’t see how that his acceptance of the Goethe Medal in 1935 could be interpreted as an endorsement of the regime’. Mr. Layton confirmed that when he was translating Tawaststjerna he discussed these questions with him: Tawaststjerna was completely dismissive of the notion that Sibelius, though brought up in the years of German musical hegemony, could in any way be thought as sympathetic to the Nazis. RL continued ‘true, Sibelius was visited during the 1941-45 war by a German soldier who admired his work. Come on, is he expected to say thanks for your admiration: I do hope you all perish on the front! What a shallow and trivial point to make’. Mr. Layton concluded ‘American writers, observing from the safety of posterity and the comfort of their geographical perspective, are fond of rendering black-and-white judgments in these matters [as did much of the ignorant American opinion about Furtwangler] as a means of courting the attention of the less informed and getting their names before the public’.
Sibelius was the cultural icon of a Nation that found itself allied
with Nazi Germany during much of the Second World War, as such Finland’s great patriot composer found himself used by both countries as a political football. Sibelius once uttered the following words ‘Look at the great Nations of Europe and what they have endured. No savage could have stood so much. I do believe in civilization’ and as Wilfred Mellers well said ‘When we hear the final assertion of the tonic triad at the end of Tapiola we realize what moral strength was necessary to make that assertion’. I do not question Professor Jackson’s integrity in these matters, but I remain perplexed just as to why, despite his admiration for the music of Jean Sibelius he is attempting to smear the master’s character. Lets be clear about the indictment here, that essentially Jean Sibelius was an active supporter of the most brutal and evil regime in the history of mankind and thereby of Hitler’s ‘final solution’. The Professor is wrong.

Sibelius in the Old and New World, edited by Prof. Timothy l. Jackson, Colin Davies, Tomi Makela and Prof. Veijo Murtomaki. Publisher Peter Lang.

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