Composed between 1914-1915, and subsequently revised in 1916 and 1919, it took Jean Sibelius the entire span of WWI and the Finnish Civil War to complete his Symphony No. 5.
Symphony No. 5 lasts for about half an hour and is in three movements, or musical chapters.
While he was composing the original version, Sibelius wrote in his diary “It is as if God Almighty had thrown down pieces of a mosaic for heaven’s floor and asked me to find out what was the original pattern.” Pressure much?? On the final revised version, he said “I wished to give my symphony another, more human, form. More down-to-earth, more vivid.” Seems like he accomplished both those things!
Inspiration for the last movement came from Sibelius observing a group of 16 swans lift off, circle over him, and then fly away.
Mozart in the Jungle, Leonard Bernstein, John Coltrane, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.
Themes, motives, and entire sections of Symphony No. 5 have been showcased or used by composers of songs, movies, and television shows as far ranging as
Sibelius somehow produces a massive sound out of a quite medium sized orchestra of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings.