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Tutor profile: David P.

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David P.
Oxford-based composer/pianist. University of Oxford graduate.
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Question:

Assess the Applicability of the Idea of ‘Late Style’ in Interpreting the Music of Jean Sibelius

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David P.
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In writing, ‘every composer has a late style nowadays’, Laura Tunbridge (2016, p. 120) neatly summarises a problem central to notions of ‘lateness’; it is an inherently modern category, and is therefore prone to anachronism. Much modern scholarship is now wary of generalised application of the term (hence ‘every composer’) and recognises its inherent contradictions. This begs the question, why does it matter if ‘late style’ is an anachronistic notion if its credibility has otherwise been so thoroughly dismantled? This essay will examine the sweeping incorporation of ‘late style’ into the reception history of many composers (here, Sibelius), and the fact that ‘late style’ is a concept which is still operative in current thought, despite a general discrediting of teleological and biographical fallacies and, to a lesser extent, a questioning of the validity of stylistic analysis itself. Furthermore, this essay will address composers to whom the concept of ‘late style’ is not anachronistic, and who did recognise this concept as valid; e.g. can the idea can be legitimately applied to Sibelius, insofar as it may have affected his artistic output? Sibelius is an interesting subject for ‘late style’ analysis for two reasons. He was born into a world of changing attitudes to ‘lateness’, and he died having barely composed for circa thirty years, thus rendering useless the common conflation of ‘old age style’ and ‘late style’. Old age was, for a long time, associated with creative decline (Sohm, 2007), and McMullan & Smiles suggest that George Miller Beard’s Legal Responsibility in Old Age––published in 1874, when Sibelius was nine years old––was one of the earliest attempts to correlate age with achievement’ (2016, p. 17). Painter & Crow note, ‘Mozart’s premature death allowed the composer to escape the decline and decay that likely awaited him and his genius. As one contemporary put it, “Mozart died in his most beautiful period of blooming”’ (2006, p. 2). No doubt, if Sibelius had died in the late 1920s, prior to his so-called creative ‘silence’, commentators would have expressed regret over the loss of an artist who had not yet reached the pinnacle of the teleological ‘renewal and crystallisation of symphonic thought’ (Sirén & Martina). Painter & Crow argue that the teleological re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was a Romantic, not Modernist shift (2006, p. 2), thus aligning it with other 19th-century teleological shifts (as will be later explored in relation to Beethoven reception). Laura Tunbridge, however, identifies ‘connection between the aesthetic values of lateness and those of the modernist canon’ (2016, p. 122). McMullan & Smiles argue that ‘late style’ borrows from both Romantic and Modernist tropes; from the former, its ‘emphasis on biography, subjectivism [and] the relationship between creativity and selfhood’, and from the latter, its ‘interest in tradition, the avant-garde, abstraction, the subordination of self to epoch [and] the loss of linearity’ (2016, p. 11), hence their claim that ‘lateness’ ‘both highlights and obscures the nature of modernity’ (p. 2). Therefore, the concept of ‘late style’ is, arguably, historically appropriate to Sibelius, whose position within the Romantic/Modernist dichotomy––a dichotomy severely escalated by Adorno, whose views on Sibelius will be discussed below––is so often debated. In his 1938 article, Glosse über Sibelius (reprinted in translation in Grimley, 2011, pp. 331-337) Adorno frames Sibelius in opposition to the ‘advanced New Music’ of the Second Viennese School. Though the attack largely centres around technical criticism, the Germanic/‘Other’ dichotomy is thinly veiled. Adorno makes explicit reference to ‘the criteria of musical quality that has endured from Bach to Schoenberg’, and postulates Sibelius’s ‘justified feelings of inferiority’ upon returning from his German composition studies, continuing, ‘there was probably no one more astonished than he to discover that his failure was being interpreted as success, his lack of technical ability as necessity’. The question, ‘is late style a Germanic notion?’, is as multifaceted as the question, ‘is Modernism inherently Germanic?’. The German terms Spätstil (‘late style’) and Altersstil (‘the style of the aged’) are still in international use. McMullan & Smiles argue that the re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was concurrent with critical re-evaluations of Beethoven and Goethe (2016, p. 3). For Tunbridge, ‘late style’ is tied up with the now-antiquated notion of ‘genius’. The latter exists in relation to a commonly-understood historiography: namely that of the Germanic canon. Tunbridge’s view is reinforced by Schubert biographer Christopher H. Gibbs’s (2000, p. 155–156) argument that Schubert’s ‘late style’ is characterised by: […] a new seriousness, subjectivity, and rigorous self-examination that go well beyond the pleasure principle of cozy Schubertiades. The integrity he attained suggests that he no longer wrote music solely for the delight of companions, the profit of publishers, or the entertainment of the public. At his best, he was now writing essentially for himself—and for the future. Ironically, the desire to transcend musical history requires one to subscribe to a Western canonical understanding of history: a historiography saturated with Germanic figures, and epitomised by Schoenberg’s statement, ‘I have made a discovery which will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years’ (Stuckenschmidt, 1977). Burnham writes that Wagner, ‘clamorously proclaimed Beethoven’s music as a transhistorical force leading to the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk’ (2001). In this statement, historical transcendence is tied up with the Western canonical historiographic tradition. Aspirations towards ahistoricism are not absent from Sibelius reception. In Christopher Nupen’s documentary, Jean Sibelius: 1865, 1957, 1984, aspirations towards ‘timelessness’ and ‘eternal truth’, achieved through ‘profound logic’, are repeatedly cited. The notion of transcendence in old age plays out on a different level – of artistic exertion. Painter & Crow summarise the mid-19th-century interpretation as one which, ‘presupposed that the artist had mastered aesthetic rules and structures during a long lifetime of labor and was now able to transcend them because the wearying battle with convention had been won’ (2006, p. 4). This finds parallel in a text central to ‘late’ studies, Cicero’s Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on Old-Age and Friendship, in which the narrator claims, ‘the composition of this book has been so delightful that it has not only wiped away all the disagreeables of old age, but has even made it luxurious and delightful too’ (44BC [1795]). Sibelius’s own reports on compositional effort in old age, however, considerably differ: My work has the same fascination for me as when I was young, a fascination bound up with the difficulty of the task. Let no one imagine that composing is easier for an old composer if he takes his art seriously. The demands one makes on oneself have increased in the course of years. Greater sureness make[s] one scorn solutions that come too easily, that follow the line of least resistance, in a higher degree than formerly. One is always faced with new problems. (Goss, 1995, p. 88) Sibelius’s own words about his creative ‘silence’ are significant, as they represent the self-fashioning of a composer in his final decades of life. Mäkelä reports that Sibelius also justified his creative ‘silence’ in terms of the anxieties of war, the latter writing, ‘dictatorship and war disgust me. The mere idea of tyranny and oppression, slave camps and the persecution of human beings, destruction and mass murder make me mentally and physically sick’ (2011, p. 391). Painter & Crow read into the implications of Sibelius’s statement, arguing that he, like Elgar, felt ‘increasingly alienated from their surroundings’ (2006, p. 169). Though Sibelius opts to justify such alienation in terms of the political atmosphere of his later years, the implication of ‘surroundings’ in the above quote implies that Sibelius was also alienated in the face of his changing musical surroundings. Though a sweeping notion of ‘late style’ may not be directly applicable to Sibelius’s career in any objective sense, it could be considered a historically-relevant framework in which to view his works. As Painter & Crow put it, ‘the guiding interest is in the discourse on lateness, rather than lateness itself. Lateness […] is a concept more relevant to the reception of art than to its production’ (2006, p. 7). Interestingly, Painter & Crow further argue that Mahler, in ‘radically undermin[ing] direct connections to the nineteenth-century symphonic form through irony and excess’, was working within the very 19th-century tradition which he was engaged in subverting, thus aligning himself with other late Romantic artists who, ‘self-consciously [reflected] on endings, not merely of their own creative struggles but also of the genres within which they worked’ (2006, p. 4). A post-Death of the Author (Barthes, 1984) reading of such late-19th-century works excludes biographical and intentional fallacies characteristic of ‘late style’ analyses, but it may be worth using the flawed category of ‘lateness’ to explore what may have lay behind Sibelius artistic decisions, both compositional (e.g. the single-movement structure for the Seventh Symphony) and administrative (e.g. the supposed destruction of the Eighth Symphony). ‘Late style’ is thus rendered a quasi-legitimate category by virtue of it being adopted in some form by late-19th-century composers themselves, as will be explored below. Sibelius’s personal ‘life narrative’ is, to all intents and purposes, inaccessible. However, Hutcheon & Hutcheon argue, ‘the external image that we present to the outside world is […] always the result of a process of construction. As we age, this act of self-fashioning becomes the creation of a last and, we hope, lasting identity’ (2016, p. 97). Ironically, the authors themselves make a sweeping generalisation about late style, here, which betrays the complexities underlying a complete dismissal of ‘lateness’ as a topic. Michael Millgate’s theory of ‘testamentary acts’ proves useful here (1992, pp. 1-2). A clear example is Tennyson who––having been seriously ill and without artistic inspiration (he had recently completed ‘Romney’s Remorse’, ‘which even the most fervent Tennysonians do not defend’)––penned ‘Crossing the Bar’, only to subsequently request its placement at the end of future collected editions on account of its quality (Clark, 1972, p. 78). Both Tippett (Clarke, 2001, p. 207) and Carter could be used as further examples – the latter of which was said to be in his ‘late late style’ at the age of 103 (Jenkins, 2010), thus highlighting a major problem with biographical readings of ‘late style’; that people are rarely able to predict the onset of their late period. McMullan & Smiles argue that Georg Simmel’s (incorrect) conviction that a particular piece of Leonardo da Vinci was a late ‘work’, ‘predisposed him to detect [an] extraordinary imaginative quality in Leonardo’s fresco’ (2016, p. 21). As is the case with so many academic binaries, the ‘early’/‘late’ divide under question might be productively applied, despite all its inherent contradictions, to prop up an argument which allows for an exploration of the possibilities contained within that binary. ‘Late style’ becomes useless when applied dogmatically, but recognising it for what it is––an interpretative framework––may be constructive. Howell, in the context of his re-evaluation of Sibelius as a ‘progressive’, argues for a stylistic pairing of symphonies Four and Six, and Five and Seven, in terms of ‘relative degrees of formal restraint and freedom’ which he expresses in the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’, which themselves ‘emanate from Sibelius’s personality’ (2001, p. 38). Here, he invokes argument from biography, as well as the traditional classical/romantic dichotomy. Furthermore, Howell not only identifies the culmination of ‘formal compression’ in the Seventh Symphony, but claims that this particular teleology originated in the Second Symphony (2001, p. 38). Such fallacies call into question any objective ‘truths’ in Howell’s methodology, but do not preclude him from making valuable insights into Sibelius’s work. Scholars have persistently questioned the reasons behind Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’. Goss provides, amongst others, a neatly concise explanation: ‘it is of course possible that Sibelius did not subscribe to the Romantic notion that genius never retires; he may simply have claimed for himself a privilege that most of us take for granted’ (1995, p. 88). Enticing as this is, the so-called ‘silence of Ainola’ did not constitute a complete termination of compositional activity; from the composition of Tapiola to his death in 1957, Sibelius made substantial arrangements and revisions, and composed small-scale works such as the Op. 15 and 16 chamber pieces (1929), and various organ pieces. Nor was it a comfortable ‘retirement’, in any case; arguably the most important compositional act of these years, was the loss of the Eighth Symphony. Its (presumed) destruction constitutes a ‘testamentary act’ in its own right – and perhaps one more profound, in terms of ‘late style’, than if he had completed it. Brahms, who was born only thirty-two years before Sibelius, has been described as ‘the first major composer who grew up within, and learned to cope with, our modern conception of “classical music”’ (Taruskin, 2005). Between this canonical awareness on one hand, and the heightened historical anxieties enacted by the fin-de-siècle, Sibelius found himself at a point in history in which composers were intensely self-conscious of their position within a shared understanding of ‘the’ history of music. Furthermore, Olin Downes had done much to pit Sibelius against Stravinsky and Schoenberg, thus thrusting Sibelius into a state of competition with which he was ill-equipped to cope. Hutcheon & Hutcheon speculate, ‘he had always been known to be prone to insecurity, lack of confidence, and depression; did such multiple and complex pressures lead to the willed silencing of his creativity or to an extended and paralyzing creative despondency?’ (2016, p. 102). Inherent to the notion of ‘late style’ is the assumption that style follows a developmental path, or otherwise changes according to a particular (imposed) narrative over the course of an artist’s life. Here, the very notion of style comes into question. An infinite number of analytical methods can be used to analyse style, and it is the prioritisation of certain analytical options over others that introduces necessary bias into the analytical process. Schenkerian analysis, for example, prioritises certain harmonic features of a work over others; and the fact that varying graphs can be derived from the same piece points to a degree of subjectivity inherent to the method. It is this idea––that style analysis is inherently biased––to which Elkins responds in describing style as, ‘a moment in the ongoing dialogue between the constructing of history and the constructing of the self, a moment that is sustained by not pressing the illogic of the argument of style on towards its crippling conclusions’ (2003). A tension exists between the notion of a teleologically summarising, evolutionary, ‘late style’, and Elkins’s argument, ‘it is primarily style analysis that permits the post-modern perception that art is not progressing in a unified way but is an ongoing, overlapping succession of schools, with none better or more advanced than any other’ (2003). The former is an analysis of the individual composer’s works in relation to a historical narrative, and the latter is a historiography into which the works of individual composers can fit. Stylistic analyses of Sibelius’s output frequenly invoke teleological terminology. One explaination of this lies in the prioritisation of the symphonies in Sibelius’s reception history, as well as problems inherent to the notion of a symphonic ‘cycle’. Britannica Encyclopedia introduces Sibelius as ‘the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia’ (2019); Collins Dictionary as ‘Finnish composer, noted for his seven symphonies, his symphonic poems […] and his violin concerto (1905)’; and the online music database AllMusic as ‘Finland's leading post-Romantic composer of symphonies and a national icon, regarded as the foremost Nordic symphonist of the 20th century’ [italics mine]. Does Sibelius’s symphonic output invite a reading whereby these ‘core’ works display a continuous line of development, regardless of style, in a way that (for example) Stravinsky’s output does not? Furthermore, can this terminology, of organic growth, find origin in Sibelius’s reception as a Nordic composer? When, in July 1932, Koussevitzky suggested that Sibelius conduct his Eighth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the former ‘wanted to present the symphonies in chronological order, and he envisioned the Eighth as the crowning finish’ (Goss, 1995, pp. 86-87). Again, feeding such a narrative was Sibelius himself, who claimed that the Eighth Symphony ‘will be the reckoning of my whole existence – sixty-eight years. It will probably be my last’ (Sirén & Martina). To any composer of symphonies, Beethoven is ‘treated time and time again as the most imposing feature in the landscape of 19th-century music, the mountainside from which the music of the rest of the century would echo’ (Burnham, 2001). Quoting his mother (somewhat remarkably) in a letter to Sibelius of October 14, 1937, Olin Downes writes, ‘he must crown his series of works in this form with a ninth symphony which will represent the summit and the synthesis of his whole achievement and leave us a work which will be worthy of one of the elected few who are the true artistic descendants and inheritors of Beethoven”’ (Goss, 1995, p. 88). Reference is also made to the hypothetical Ninth in Adorno’s aforementioned Glosse über Sibelius, in which Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’–––in which he had been ‘brooding for years over his eighth symphony as if it were the Ninth’––is interpreted as an admission of the composer’s own technical inadequacy (Grimley, 2011, p. 334). Notions that the developmental ‘early-’ to ‘middle-’ to ‘late-style’ frameworks began with Beethoven would be to apply yet another unwarranted teleology to this composer’s reception history. Yet, Burnham (2001) claims: […] the attractions of a triadic framework are manifest: they include the importance of the triad as a venerable organizing strategy (beginning, middle, end) and as a narrative structure that can support both an organic view of Beethoven’s compositional development (the middle period as bloom, the late period as decay) as well as a teleological view (the first two periods as preparatory to, and culminating in, the third) Though particularly prevelant in the symphonies, narratives of organic stylistic development apply elsewhere in Sibelius’s output. The official website for Sibelius claims that Sibelius reached a ‘compositional peak’ in the mid-1920s; ‘his incidental music culminated in the music for Shakespeare's The Tempest in 1925, and the orchestral poems reached their climax in 1926 in Tapiola’ (Sirén & Martina). In the context of a stylistic overview of a composer’s works in a biographical context, teleological interpretations of stylistic development are often in conflict with temporal divisions included to orientate the reader. Therefore, the webpage from which the above quote is taken is titled, ‘Stylistic Development: Main Tendencies’ [italics mine]. Conversely, the opening chapters of Goss’s The Sibelius Companion (1996) are titled, ‘From Youth to Maturity’, ‘Sibelius in the 1890s’, ‘Masterworks’, ‘1900-1914’, and ‘A Bridge to the World’. Familiar biographical tropes are active; a sense of development is present from the first chapter, and confirmed as a hermeneutic feature through the use of ‘Masterworks’ as a category. The dates conform to decade and century divisions, and the beginning of WWI, respectively. Writing a decade later, Painter & Crow argue, ‘the rationale for defining and interpreting an artist’s late style became less pressing once teleological or periodising historiography (as codified by Winckelmann and Hegel) has been discredited’ (2006, p. 5), though for pragmatic and pedagogical reasons, ‘late style’ is still in regular use as an interpretative category. Elkins (2003) comprehensively dismisses the common tripartite division of early, middle and late style – whether posed in biological (i.e. youth, maturity and senescence), historical (i.e. archaic, classic/mannerist, and baroque), or natural (i.e. budding, flowering/fruiting, decay) terms. His extensive examples of problematic ‘late styles’, including ‘simultaneous styles, lifetimes subdivided into “separate” oeuvres, [and] sequences dividing and fusing’, however, do not align with Sibelius’s later years. Ironically, Stravinsky’s career would be easier to periodise, despite being more problematic to reconcile as a whole in Elkins’s terms. Elkins writes, ‘occasionally an artist’s career will embrace styles so different that they seem incompatible (or […] incoherent)’, citing Jacques-Louis David’s, Edvard Munch’s, André Derain, Gino Severini, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner as examples (2003). To conclude: Though the concept of ‘late style’ has been thoroughly dismantled in the 21st century––and though it appears to be a framework counter-intuitive to Sibelius, whose late creative ‘silence’ is so well-known––‘late style’ is still persistently invoked as a valid hermeneutic category. Though stylistic ‘development’ within Sibelius’s output might be clear to those familiar with his works (and particularly to scholars, composers, and critics intent on imposing upon him a narrative which suits their academic agenda) two closing points place his ‘late style’ into perspective. Firstly, is that of Rossini (1792-1868), who ‘happily retired from the opera stage at the age of thirty-eight, a successful and wealthy composer of some thirty-nine operas’ (Hutcheon & Hutcheon, 2016, p. 97). The very fact that Rossini’s late narrative can coexist with that of Sibelius, suggests that ‘late style’ is not as universal as some suggest. Secondly, Sibelius historically overlapped with such diverse figures as Wagner, Brahms, Messiaen, and Britten, not to mention the birth of jazz and rock’n’roll. Within this radically changing stylistic landscape, Sibelius’s output is striking for its remarkable consistency. Despite general criticism of both teleological development of style and notions of ‘late’ style, this essay argues that the latter can be utilised as a hermeneutic category in relation to Sibelius’s work, if treated with sufficient caution.   Bibliography Barnett, A., 2007. Sibelius. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press. Barthes, R., 1984. ‘Death of the Author’. In: Image, Music, Text. London: Fontana Paperbacks: Flamingo Series. Britannica Encyclopedia, 2019. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jean-Sibelius Burnham, S. G., 2001. Beethoven, Ludwig Van. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.40026 [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cicero, M., 44BC [1795]. Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on old-age and friendship. London: Pall-Mall: Printed for J. Dodsley. Clarke, D., 2001. The Music and Thought of Michael Tippett: Modern Times and Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clark, K., 1972. The artist grows old (Rede lecture; 1970). London: Cambridge University Press. Cohen-Shalev, A., 1989. Old Age Style- Developmental Changes in Creative Production from a Life-Span Perspective. Journal of Aging Studies, 3(1), pp. 21-37. Collins English Dictionary, n.d. Sibelius. [Online] Available at: www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sibelius [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cummings, R., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jean-sibelius-mn0000690353/biography [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Elkins, J., 2003. Style. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T082129 [Accessed 6 April 2019]. Gibbs, C. H., 2000. The Life of Schubert. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goss, G., 1996. The Sibelius Companion. Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press. Goss, G., 2012. Sibelius: A composer’s life and the awakening of Finland. Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press. Goss, G. D., 1995. Jean Sibelius and Olin Downes: Music, Friendship, Criticism. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Grimley, D., 2004. The Cambridge companion to Sibelius (Cambridge companions to music). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grimley, D., 2011. Jean Sibelius and his World. Princeton, N.J. Howell, T., 2017. After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish music. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Howell, T., Murtomäki, V., Virtanen, T. & Grimley, D., 2017. Jean Sibelius's legacy: Research on his 150th anniversary. Newcastle upon Tyne.: s.n. Hutcheon, L. & Hutcheon, M., 2016. Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Jackson, T. & Murtomäki, V., 2001. Sibelius Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957. 1984. [Film] Directed by Christopher Nupen.: Allegro Films. Jenkins, J. D., 2010. After the Harvest: Carter’s Fifth String Quartet and the Late Late Style. Music Theory Online, 16(3). Kallberg, J., 1985. Chopin's Last Style. Journal of the American Musicological Society, Summer, 38(2), pp. 264-315. Layton, R., 1992. Sibelius (Master Musicians Series). 4th Edition ed. London: Dent. Levas, S., 1972. Jean Sibelius: A Personal Portrait. Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. Mäkelä, T., 2011. Jean Sibelius. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. McMullan, G. & Smiles, S., 2016. Late Style and its Discontents: Essays in Art, Literature, and Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Millgate, M., 1992. Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press. Painter, K. & Crow, T., 2006. Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work. Los Angeles, California: Getty Research Institute. Ross, A., 2007. Apparition in the Woods: Rescuing Sibelius from Silence. [Online] Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/07/09/apparition-in-the-woods [Accessed 4 April 2019]. Sibelius, J., Newmarch, R. & Bullock, P., 2011. The correspondence of Jean Sibelius and Rosa Newmarch, 1906-1939. Woodbridge: Boydell. Sirén, V. & Martina, K., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: http://www.sibelius.fi/english/ [Accessed 29 March 2019]. Slonimsky, N., 1965. Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers since Beethoven’s Time. 2nd Edition ed. New York: Coleman-Ross. Sohm, P., 2007. The Artist Grows Old: The Aging of Art and Artists in Italy, 1500–1800. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Stuckenschmidt, H. H., 1977. Schoenberg: His Life, World and Work. New York: Schirmer Books. Taruskin, R., 2005. Chapter 13 ‘The Return of the Symphony’. In: The Oxford History of Western Music. New York: Oxford University Press. Tunbridge, L., 2016. [Chapter 7] ‘Saving Schubert: The Evasions of Late Style’. In: G. McMullan & S. Smiles, eds. Late Style and its Discontents. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 120-130.

Subject: Music Theory

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Question:

Assess The Applicability of the Idea of ‘Late Style’ in Interpreting the Music of Jean Sibelius

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David P.
Answer:

In writing, ‘every composer has a late style nowadays’, Laura Tunbridge (2016, p. 120) neatly summarises a problem central to notions of ‘lateness’; it is an inherently modern category, and is therefore prone to anachronism. Much modern scholarship is now wary of generalised application of the term (hence ‘every composer’) and recognises its inherent contradictions. This begs the question, why does it matter if ‘late style’ is an anachronistic notion if its credibility has otherwise been so thoroughly dismantled? This essay will examine the sweeping incorporation of ‘late style’ into the reception history of many composers (here, Sibelius), and the fact that ‘late style’ is a concept which is still operative in current thought, despite a general discrediting of teleological and biographical fallacies and, to a lesser extent, a questioning of the validity of stylistic analysis itself. Furthermore, this essay will address composers to whom the concept of ‘late style’ is not anachronistic, and who did recognise this concept as valid; e.g. can the idea can be legitimately applied to Sibelius, insofar as it may have affected his artistic output? Sibelius is an interesting subject for ‘late style’ analysis for two reasons. He was born into a world of changing attitudes to ‘lateness’, and he died having barely composed for circa thirty years, thus rendering useless the common conflation of ‘old age style’ and ‘late style’. Old age was, for a long time, associated with creative decline (Sohm, 2007), and McMullan & Smiles suggest that George Miller Beard’s Legal Responsibility in Old Age––published in 1874, when Sibelius was nine years old––was one of the earliest attempts to correlate age with achievement’ (2016, p. 17). Painter & Crow note, ‘Mozart’s premature death allowed the composer to escape the decline and decay that likely awaited him and his genius. As one contemporary put it, “Mozart died in his most beautiful period of blooming”’ (2006, p. 2). No doubt, if Sibelius had died in the late 1920s, prior to his so-called creative ‘silence’, commentators would have expressed regret over the loss of an artist who had not yet reached the pinnacle of the teleological ‘renewal and crystallisation of symphonic thought’ (Sirén & Martina). Painter & Crow argue that the teleological re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was a Romantic, not Modernist shift (2006, p. 2), thus aligning it with other 19th-century teleological shifts (as will be later explored in relation to Beethoven reception). Laura Tunbridge, however, identifies ‘connection between the aesthetic values of lateness and those of the modernist canon’ (2016, p. 122). McMullan & Smiles argue that ‘late style’ borrows from both Romantic and Modernist tropes; from the former, its ‘emphasis on biography, subjectivism [and] the relationship between creativity and selfhood’, and from the latter, its ‘interest in tradition, the avant-garde, abstraction, the subordination of self to epoch [and] the loss of linearity’ (2016, p. 11), hence their claim that ‘lateness’ ‘both highlights and obscures the nature of modernity’ (p. 2). Therefore, the concept of ‘late style’ is, arguably, historically appropriate to Sibelius, whose position within the Romantic/Modernist dichotomy––a dichotomy severely escalated by Adorno, whose views on Sibelius will be discussed below––is so often debated. In his 1938 article, Glosse über Sibelius (reprinted in translation in Grimley, 2011, pp. 331-337) Adorno frames Sibelius in opposition to the ‘advanced New Music’ of the Second Viennese School. Though the attack largely centres around technical criticism, the Germanic/‘Other’ dichotomy is thinly veiled. Adorno makes explicit reference to ‘the criteria of musical quality that has endured from Bach to Schoenberg’, and postulates Sibelius’s ‘justified feelings of inferiority’ upon returning from his German composition studies, continuing, ‘there was probably no one more astonished than he to discover that his failure was being interpreted as success, his lack of technical ability as necessity’. The question, ‘is late style a Germanic notion?’, is as multifaceted as the question, ‘is Modernism inherently Germanic?’. The German terms Spätstil (‘late style’) and Altersstil (‘the style of the aged’) are still in international use. McMullan & Smiles argue that the re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was concurrent with critical re-evaluations of Beethoven and Goethe (2016, p. 3). For Tunbridge, ‘late style’ is tied up with the now-antiquated notion of ‘genius’. The latter exists in relation to a commonly-understood historiography: namely that of the Germanic canon. Tunbridge’s view is reinforced by Schubert biographer Christopher H. Gibbs’s (2000, p. 155–156) argument that Schubert’s ‘late style’ is characterised by: […] a new seriousness, subjectivity, and rigorous self-examination that go well beyond the pleasure principle of cozy Schubertiades. The integrity he attained suggests that he no longer wrote music solely for the delight of companions, the profit of publishers, or the entertainment of the public. At his best, he was now writing essentially for himself—and for the future. Ironically, the desire to transcend musical history requires one to subscribe to a Western canonical understanding of history: a historiography saturated with Germanic figures, and epitomised by Schoenberg’s statement, ‘I have made a discovery which will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years’ (Stuckenschmidt, 1977). Burnham writes that Wagner, ‘clamorously proclaimed Beethoven’s music as a transhistorical force leading to the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk’ (2001). In this statement, historical transcendence is tied up with the Western canonical historiographic tradition. Aspirations towards ahistoricism are not absent from Sibelius reception. In Christopher Nupen’s documentary, Jean Sibelius: 1865, 1957, 1984, aspirations towards ‘timelessness’ and ‘eternal truth’, achieved through ‘profound logic’, are repeatedly cited. The notion of transcendence in old age plays out on a different level – of artistic exertion. Painter & Crow summarise the mid-19th-century interpretation as one which, ‘presupposed that the artist had mastered aesthetic rules and structures during a long lifetime of labor and was now able to transcend them because the wearying battle with convention had been won’ (2006, p. 4). This finds parallel in a text central to ‘late’ studies, Cicero’s Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on Old-Age and Friendship, in which the narrator claims, ‘the composition of this book has been so delightful that it has not only wiped away all the disagreeables of old age, but has even made it luxurious and delightful too’ (44BC [1795]). Sibelius’s own reports on compositional effort in old age, however, considerably differ: My work has the same fascination for me as when I was young, a fascination bound up with the difficulty of the task. Let no one imagine that composing is easier for an old composer if he takes his art seriously. The demands one makes on oneself have increased in the course of years. Greater sureness make[s] one scorn solutions that come too easily, that follow the line of least resistance, in a higher degree than formerly. One is always faced with new problems. (Goss, 1995, p. 88) Sibelius’s own words about his creative ‘silence’ are significant, as they represent the self-fashioning of a composer in his final decades of life. Mäkelä reports that Sibelius also justified his creative ‘silence’ in terms of the anxieties of war, the latter writing, ‘dictatorship and war disgust me. The mere idea of tyranny and oppression, slave camps and the persecution of human beings, destruction and mass murder make me mentally and physically sick’ (2011, p. 391). Painter & Crow read into the implications of Sibelius’s statement, arguing that he, like Elgar, felt ‘increasingly alienated from their surroundings’ (2006, p. 169). Though Sibelius opts to justify such alienation in terms of the political atmosphere of his later years, the implication of ‘surroundings’ in the above quote implies that Sibelius was also alienated in the face of his changing musical surroundings. Though a sweeping notion of ‘late style’ may not be directly applicable to Sibelius’s career in any objective sense, it could be considered a historically-relevant framework in which to view his works. As Painter & Crow put it, ‘the guiding interest is in the discourse on lateness, rather than lateness itself. Lateness […] is a concept more relevant to the reception of art than to its production’ (2006, p. 7). Interestingly, Painter & Crow further argue that Mahler, in ‘radically undermin[ing] direct connections to the nineteenth-century symphonic form through irony and excess’, was working within the very 19th-century tradition which he was engaged in subverting, thus aligning himself with other late Romantic artists who, ‘self-consciously [reflected] on endings, not merely of their own creative struggles but also of the genres within which they worked’ (2006, p. 4). A post-Death of the Author (Barthes, 1984) reading of such late-19th-century works excludes biographical and intentional fallacies characteristic of ‘late style’ analyses, but it may be worth using the flawed category of ‘lateness’ to explore what may have lay behind Sibelius artistic decisions, both compositional (e.g. the single-movement structure for the Seventh Symphony) and administrative (e.g. the supposed destruction of the Eighth Symphony). ‘Late style’ is thus rendered a quasi-legitimate category by virtue of it being adopted in some form by late-19th-century composers themselves, as will be explored below. Sibelius’s personal ‘life narrative’ is, to all intents and purposes, inaccessible. However, Hutcheon & Hutcheon argue, ‘the external image that we present to the outside world is […] always the result of a process of construction. As we age, this act of self-fashioning becomes the creation of a last and, we hope, lasting identity’ (2016, p. 97). Ironically, the authors themselves make a sweeping generalisation about late style, here, which betrays the complexities underlying a complete dismissal of ‘lateness’ as a topic. Michael Millgate’s theory of ‘testamentary acts’ proves useful here (1992, pp. 1-2). A clear example is Tennyson who––having been seriously ill and without artistic inspiration (he had recently completed ‘Romney’s Remorse’, ‘which even the most fervent Tennysonians do not defend’)––penned ‘Crossing the Bar’, only to subsequently request its placement at the end of future collected editions on account of its quality (Clark, 1972, p. 78). Both Tippett (Clarke, 2001, p. 207) and Carter could be used as further examples – the latter of which was said to be in his ‘late late style’ at the age of 103 (Jenkins, 2010), thus highlighting a major problem with biographical readings of ‘late style’; that people are rarely able to predict the onset of their late period. McMullan & Smiles argue that Georg Simmel’s (incorrect) conviction that a particular piece of Leonardo da Vinci was a late ‘work’, ‘predisposed him to detect [an] extraordinary imaginative quality in Leonardo’s fresco’ (2016, p. 21). As is the case with so many academic binaries, the ‘early’/‘late’ divide under question might be productively applied, despite all its inherent contradictions, to prop up an argument which allows for an exploration of the possibilities contained within that binary. ‘Late style’ becomes useless when applied dogmatically, but recognising it for what it is––an interpretative framework––may be constructive. Howell, in the context of his re-evaluation of Sibelius as a ‘progressive’, argues for a stylistic pairing of symphonies Four and Six, and Five and Seven, in terms of ‘relative degrees of formal restraint and freedom’ which he expresses in the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’, which themselves ‘emanate from Sibelius’s personality’ (2001, p. 38). Here, he invokes argument from biography, as well as the traditional classical/romantic dichotomy. Furthermore, Howell not only identifies the culmination of ‘formal compression’ in the Seventh Symphony, but claims that this particular teleology originated in the Second Symphony (2001, p. 38). Such fallacies call into question any objective ‘truths’ in Howell’s methodology, but do not preclude him from making valuable insights into Sibelius’s work. Scholars have persistently questioned the reasons behind Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’. Goss provides, amongst others, a neatly concise explanation: ‘it is of course possible that Sibelius did not subscribe to the Romantic notion that genius never retires; he may simply have claimed for himself a privilege that most of us take for granted’ (1995, p. 88). Enticing as this is, the so-called ‘silence of Ainola’ did not constitute a complete termination of compositional activity; from the composition of Tapiola to his death in 1957, Sibelius made substantial arrangements and revisions, and composed small-scale works such as the Op. 15 and 16 chamber pieces (1929), and various organ pieces. Nor was it a comfortable ‘retirement’, in any case; arguably the most important compositional act of these years, was the loss of the Eighth Symphony. Its (presumed) destruction constitutes a ‘testamentary act’ in its own right – and perhaps one more profound, in terms of ‘late style’, than if he had completed it. Brahms, who was born only thirty-two years before Sibelius, has been described as ‘the first major composer who grew up within, and learned to cope with, our modern conception of “classical music”’ (Taruskin, 2005). Between this canonical awareness on one hand, and the heightened historical anxieties enacted by the fin-de-siècle, Sibelius found himself at a point in history in which composers were intensely self-conscious of their position within a shared understanding of ‘the’ history of music. Furthermore, Olin Downes had done much to pit Sibelius against Stravinsky and Schoenberg, thus thrusting Sibelius into a state of competition with which he was ill-equipped to cope. Hutcheon & Hutcheon speculate, ‘he had always been known to be prone to insecurity, lack of confidence, and depression; did such multiple and complex pressures lead to the willed silencing of his creativity or to an extended and paralyzing creative despondency?’ (2016, p. 102). Inherent to the notion of ‘late style’ is the assumption that style follows a developmental path, or otherwise changes according to a particular (imposed) narrative over the course of an artist’s life. Here, the very notion of style comes into question. An infinite number of analytical methods can be used to analyse style, and it is the prioritisation of certain analytical options over others that introduces necessary bias into the analytical process. Schenkerian analysis, for example, prioritises certain harmonic features of a work over others; and the fact that varying graphs can be derived from the same piece points to a degree of subjectivity inherent to the method. It is this idea––that style analysis is inherently biased––to which Elkins responds in describing style as, ‘a moment in the ongoing dialogue between the constructing of history and the constructing of the self, a moment that is sustained by not pressing the illogic of the argument of style on towards its crippling conclusions’ (2003). A tension exists between the notion of a teleologically summarising, evolutionary, ‘late style’, and Elkins’s argument, ‘it is primarily style analysis that permits the post-modern perception that art is not progressing in a unified way but is an ongoing, overlapping succession of schools, with none better or more advanced than any other’ (2003). The former is an analysis of the individual composer’s works in relation to a historical narrative, and the latter is a historiography into which the works of individual composers can fit. Stylistic analyses of Sibelius’s output frequenly invoke teleological terminology. One explaination of this lies in the prioritisation of the symphonies in Sibelius’s reception history, as well as problems inherent to the notion of a symphonic ‘cycle’. Britannica Encyclopedia introduces Sibelius as ‘the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia’ (2019); Collins Dictionary as ‘Finnish composer, noted for his seven symphonies, his symphonic poems […] and his violin concerto (1905)’; and the online music database AllMusic as ‘Finland's leading post-Romantic composer of symphonies and a national icon, regarded as the foremost Nordic symphonist of the 20th century’ [italics mine]. Does Sibelius’s symphonic output invite a reading whereby these ‘core’ works display a continuous line of development, regardless of style, in a way that (for example) Stravinsky’s output does not? Furthermore, can this terminology, of organic growth, find origin in Sibelius’s reception as a Nordic composer? When, in July 1932, Koussevitzky suggested that Sibelius conduct his Eighth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the former ‘wanted to present the symphonies in chronological order, and he envisioned the Eighth as the crowning finish’ (Goss, 1995, pp. 86-87). Again, feeding such a narrative was Sibelius himself, who claimed that the Eighth Symphony ‘will be the reckoning of my whole existence – sixty-eight years. It will probably be my last’ (Sirén & Martina). To any composer of symphonies, Beethoven is ‘treated time and time again as the most imposing feature in the landscape of 19th-century music, the mountainside from which the music of the rest of the century would echo’ (Burnham, 2001). Quoting his mother (somewhat remarkably) in a letter to Sibelius of October 14, 1937, Olin Downes writes, ‘he must crown his series of works in this form with a ninth symphony which will represent the summit and the synthesis of his whole achievement and leave us a work which will be worthy of one of the elected few who are the true artistic descendants and inheritors of Beethoven”’ (Goss, 1995, p. 88). Reference is also made to the hypothetical Ninth in Adorno’s aforementioned Glosse über Sibelius, in which Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’–––in which he had been ‘brooding for years over his eighth symphony as if it were the Ninth’––is interpreted as an admission of the composer’s own technical inadequacy (Grimley, 2011, p. 334). Notions that the developmental ‘early-’ to ‘middle-’ to ‘late-style’ frameworks began with Beethoven would be to apply yet another unwarranted teleology to this composer’s reception history. Yet, Burnham (2001) claims: […] the attractions of a triadic framework are manifest: they include the importance of the triad as a venerable organizing strategy (beginning, middle, end) and as a narrative structure that can support both an organic view of Beethoven’s compositional development (the middle period as bloom, the late period as decay) as well as a teleological view (the first two periods as preparatory to, and culminating in, the third) Though particularly prevelant in the symphonies, narratives of organic stylistic development apply elsewhere in Sibelius’s output. The official website for Sibelius claims that Sibelius reached a ‘compositional peak’ in the mid-1920s; ‘his incidental music culminated in the music for Shakespeare's The Tempest in 1925, and the orchestral poems reached their climax in 1926 in Tapiola’ (Sirén & Martina). In the context of a stylistic overview of a composer’s works in a biographical context, teleological interpretations of stylistic development are often in conflict with temporal divisions included to orientate the reader. Therefore, the webpage from which the above quote is taken is titled, ‘Stylistic Development: Main Tendencies’ [italics mine]. Conversely, the opening chapters of Goss’s The Sibelius Companion (1996) are titled, ‘From Youth to Maturity’, ‘Sibelius in the 1890s’, ‘Masterworks’, ‘1900-1914’, and ‘A Bridge to the World’. Familiar biographical tropes are active; a sense of development is present from the first chapter, and confirmed as a hermeneutic feature through the use of ‘Masterworks’ as a category. The dates conform to decade and century divisions, and the beginning of WWI, respectively. Writing a decade later, Painter & Crow argue, ‘the rationale for defining and interpreting an artist’s late style became less pressing once teleological or periodising historiography (as codified by Winckelmann and Hegel) has been discredited’ (2006, p. 5), though for pragmatic and pedagogical reasons, ‘late style’ is still in regular use as an interpretative category. Elkins (2003) comprehensively dismisses the common tripartite division of early, middle and late style – whether posed in biological (i.e. youth, maturity and senescence), historical (i.e. archaic, classic/mannerist, and baroque), or natural (i.e. budding, flowering/fruiting, decay) terms. His extensive examples of problematic ‘late styles’, including ‘simultaneous styles, lifetimes subdivided into “separate” oeuvres, [and] sequences dividing and fusing’, however, do not align with Sibelius’s later years. Ironically, Stravinsky’s career would be easier to periodise, despite being more problematic to reconcile as a whole in Elkins’s terms. Elkins writes, ‘occasionally an artist’s career will embrace styles so different that they seem incompatible (or […] incoherent)’, citing Jacques-Louis David’s, Edvard Munch’s, André Derain, Gino Severini, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner as examples (2003). To conclude: Though the concept of ‘late style’ has been thoroughly dismantled in the 21st century––and though it appears to be a framework counter-intuitive to Sibelius, whose late creative ‘silence’ is so well-known––‘late style’ is still persistently invoked as a valid hermeneutic category. Though stylistic ‘development’ within Sibelius’s output might be clear to those familiar with his works (and particularly to scholars, composers, and critics intent on imposing upon him a narrative which suits their academic agenda) two closing points place his ‘late style’ into perspective. Firstly, is that of Rossini (1792-1868), who ‘happily retired from the opera stage at the age of thirty-eight, a successful and wealthy composer of some thirty-nine operas’ (Hutcheon & Hutcheon, 2016, p. 97). The very fact that Rossini’s late narrative can coexist with that of Sibelius, suggests that ‘late style’ is not as universal as some suggest. Secondly, Sibelius historically overlapped with such diverse figures as Wagner, Brahms, Messiaen, and Britten, not to mention the birth of jazz and rock’n’roll. Within this radically changing stylistic landscape, Sibelius’s output is striking for its remarkable consistency. Despite general criticism of both teleological development of style and notions of ‘late’ style, this essay argues that the latter can be utilised as a hermeneutic category in relation to Sibelius’s work, if treated with sufficient caution.   Bibliography Barnett, A., 2007. Sibelius. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press. Barthes, R., 1984. ‘Death of the Author’. In: Image, Music, Text. London: Fontana Paperbacks: Flamingo Series. Britannica Encyclopedia, 2019. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jean-Sibelius Burnham, S. G., 2001. Beethoven, Ludwig Van. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.40026 [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cicero, M., 44BC [1795]. Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on old-age and friendship. London: Pall-Mall: Printed for J. Dodsley. Clarke, D., 2001. The Music and Thought of Michael Tippett: Modern Times and Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clark, K., 1972. The artist grows old (Rede lecture; 1970). London: Cambridge University Press. Cohen-Shalev, A., 1989. Old Age Style- Developmental Changes in Creative Production from a Life-Span Perspective. Journal of Aging Studies, 3(1), pp. 21-37. Collins English Dictionary, n.d. Sibelius. [Online] Available at: www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sibelius [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cummings, R., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jean-sibelius-mn0000690353/biography [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Elkins, J., 2003. Style. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T082129 [Accessed 6 April 2019]. Gibbs, C. H., 2000. The Life of Schubert. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goss, G., 1996. The Sibelius Companion. Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press. Goss, G., 2012. Sibelius: A composer’s life and the awakening of Finland. Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press. Goss, G. D., 1995. Jean Sibelius and Olin Downes: Music, Friendship, Criticism. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Grimley, D., 2004. The Cambridge companion to Sibelius (Cambridge companions to music). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grimley, D., 2011. Jean Sibelius and his World. Princeton, N.J. Howell, T., 2017. After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish music. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Howell, T., Murtomäki, V., Virtanen, T. & Grimley, D., 2017. Jean Sibelius's legacy: Research on his 150th anniversary. Newcastle upon Tyne.: s.n. Hutcheon, L. & Hutcheon, M., 2016. Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Jackson, T. & Murtomäki, V., 2001. Sibelius Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957. 1984. [Film] Directed by Christopher Nupen.: Allegro Films. Jenkins, J. D., 2010. After the Harvest: Carter’s Fifth String Quartet and the Late Late Style. Music Theory Online, 16(3). Kallberg, J., 1985. Chopin's Last Style. Journal of the American Musicological Society, Summer, 38(2), pp. 264-315. Layton, R., 1992. Sibelius (Master Musicians Series). 4th Edition ed. London: Dent. Levas, S., 1972. Jean Sibelius: A Personal Portrait. Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. Mäkelä, T., 2011. Jean Sibelius. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. McMullan, G. & Smiles, S., 2016. Late Style and its Discontents: Essays in Art, Literature, and Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Millgate, M., 1992. Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press. Painter, K. & Crow, T., 2006. Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work. Los Angeles, California: Getty Research Institute. Ross, A., 2007. Apparition in the Woods: Rescuing Sibelius from Silence. [Online] Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/07/09/apparition-in-the-woods [Accessed 4 April 2019]. Sibelius, J., Newmarch, R. & Bullock, P., 2011. The correspondence of Jean Sibelius and Rosa Newmarch, 1906-1939. Woodbridge: Boydell. Sirén, V. & Martina, K., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: http://www.sibelius.fi/english/ [Accessed 29 March 2019]. Slonimsky, N., 1965. Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers since Beethoven’s Time. 2nd Edition ed. New York: Coleman-Ross. Sohm, P., 2007. The Artist Grows Old: The Aging of Art and Artists in Italy, 1500–1800. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Stuckenschmidt, H. H., 1977. Schoenberg: His Life, World and Work. New York: Schirmer Books. Taruskin, R., 2005. Chapter 13 ‘The Return of the Symphony’. In: The Oxford History of Western Music. New York: Oxford University Press. Tunbridge, L., 2016. [Chapter 7] ‘Saving Schubert: The Evasions of Late Style’. In: G. McMullan & S. Smiles, eds. Late Style and its Discontents. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 120-130.

Subject: Music

TutorMe
Question:

Assess the Applicability of the Idea of ‘Late Style’ in Interpreting the Music of Jean Sibelius

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David P.
Answer:

In writing, ‘every composer has a late style nowadays’, Laura Tunbridge (2016, p. 120) neatly summarises a problem central to notions of ‘lateness’; it is an inherently modern category, and is therefore prone to anachronism. Much modern scholarship is now wary of generalised application of the term (hence ‘every composer’) and recognises its inherent contradictions. This begs the question, why does it matter if ‘late style’ is an anachronistic notion if its credibility has otherwise been so thoroughly dismantled? This essay will examine the sweeping incorporation of ‘late style’ into the reception history of many composers (here, Sibelius), and the fact that ‘late style’ is a concept which is still operative in current thought, despite a general discrediting of teleological and biographical fallacies and, to a lesser extent, a questioning of the validity of stylistic analysis itself. Furthermore, this essay will address composers to whom the concept of ‘late style’ is not anachronistic, and who did recognise this concept as valid; e.g. can the idea can be legitimately applied to Sibelius, insofar as it may have affected his artistic output? Sibelius is an interesting subject for ‘late style’ analysis for two reasons. He was born into a world of changing attitudes to ‘lateness’, and he died having barely composed for circa thirty years, thus rendering useless the common conflation of ‘old age style’ and ‘late style’. Old age was, for a long time, associated with creative decline (Sohm, 2007), and McMullan & Smiles suggest that George Miller Beard’s Legal Responsibility in Old Age––published in 1874, when Sibelius was nine years old––was one of the earliest attempts to correlate age with achievement’ (2016, p. 17). Painter & Crow note, ‘Mozart’s premature death allowed the composer to escape the decline and decay that likely awaited him and his genius. As one contemporary put it, “Mozart died in his most beautiful period of blooming”’ (2006, p. 2). No doubt, if Sibelius had died in the late 1920s, prior to his so-called creative ‘silence’, commentators would have expressed regret over the loss of an artist who had not yet reached the pinnacle of the teleological ‘renewal and crystallisation of symphonic thought’ (Sirén & Martina). Painter & Crow argue that the teleological re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was a Romantic, not Modernist shift (2006, p. 2), thus aligning it with other 19th-century teleological shifts (as will be later explored in relation to Beethoven reception). Laura Tunbridge, however, identifies ‘connection between the aesthetic values of lateness and those of the modernist canon’ (2016, p. 122). McMullan & Smiles argue that ‘late style’ borrows from both Romantic and Modernist tropes; from the former, its ‘emphasis on biography, subjectivism [and] the relationship between creativity and selfhood’, and from the latter, its ‘interest in tradition, the avant-garde, abstraction, the subordination of self to epoch [and] the loss of linearity’ (2016, p. 11), hence their claim that ‘lateness’ ‘both highlights and obscures the nature of modernity’ (p. 2). Therefore, the concept of ‘late style’ is, arguably, historically appropriate to Sibelius, whose position within the Romantic/Modernist dichotomy––a dichotomy severely escalated by Adorno, whose views on Sibelius will be discussed below––is so often debated. In his 1938 article, Glosse über Sibelius (reprinted in translation in Grimley, 2011, pp. 331-337) Adorno frames Sibelius in opposition to the ‘advanced New Music’ of the Second Viennese School. Though the attack largely centres around technical criticism, the Germanic/‘Other’ dichotomy is thinly veiled. Adorno makes explicit reference to ‘the criteria of musical quality that has endured from Bach to Schoenberg’, and postulates Sibelius’s ‘justified feelings of inferiority’ upon returning from his German composition studies, continuing, ‘there was probably no one more astonished than he to discover that his failure was being interpreted as success, his lack of technical ability as necessity’. The question, ‘is late style a Germanic notion?’, is as multifaceted as the question, ‘is Modernism inherently Germanic?’. The German terms Spätstil (‘late style’) and Altersstil (‘the style of the aged’) are still in international use. McMullan & Smiles argue that the re-evaluation of ‘lateness’ was concurrent with critical re-evaluations of Beethoven and Goethe (2016, p. 3). For Tunbridge, ‘late style’ is tied up with the now-antiquated notion of ‘genius’. The latter exists in relation to a commonly-understood historiography: namely that of the Germanic canon. Tunbridge’s view is reinforced by Schubert biographer Christopher H. Gibbs’s (2000, p. 155–156) argument that Schubert’s ‘late style’ is characterised by: […] a new seriousness, subjectivity, and rigorous self-examination that go well beyond the pleasure principle of cozy Schubertiades. The integrity he attained suggests that he no longer wrote music solely for the delight of companions, the profit of publishers, or the entertainment of the public. At his best, he was now writing essentially for himself—and for the future. Ironically, the desire to transcend musical history requires one to subscribe to a Western canonical understanding of history: a historiography saturated with Germanic figures, and epitomised by Schoenberg’s statement, ‘I have made a discovery which will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years’ (Stuckenschmidt, 1977). Burnham writes that Wagner, ‘clamorously proclaimed Beethoven’s music as a transhistorical force leading to the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk’ (2001). In this statement, historical transcendence is tied up with the Western canonical historiographic tradition. Aspirations towards ahistoricism are not absent from Sibelius reception. In Christopher Nupen’s documentary, Jean Sibelius: 1865, 1957, 1984, aspirations towards ‘timelessness’ and ‘eternal truth’, achieved through ‘profound logic’, are repeatedly cited. The notion of transcendence in old age plays out on a different level – of artistic exertion. Painter & Crow summarise the mid-19th-century interpretation as one which, ‘presupposed that the artist had mastered aesthetic rules and structures during a long lifetime of labor and was now able to transcend them because the wearying battle with convention had been won’ (2006, p. 4). This finds parallel in a text central to ‘late’ studies, Cicero’s Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on Old-Age and Friendship, in which the narrator claims, ‘the composition of this book has been so delightful that it has not only wiped away all the disagreeables of old age, but has even made it luxurious and delightful too’ (44BC [1795]). Sibelius’s own reports on compositional effort in old age, however, considerably differ: My work has the same fascination for me as when I was young, a fascination bound up with the difficulty of the task. Let no one imagine that composing is easier for an old composer if he takes his art seriously. The demands one makes on oneself have increased in the course of years. Greater sureness make[s] one scorn solutions that come too easily, that follow the line of least resistance, in a higher degree than formerly. One is always faced with new problems. (Goss, 1995, p. 88) Sibelius’s own words about his creative ‘silence’ are significant, as they represent the self-fashioning of a composer in his final decades of life. Mäkelä reports that Sibelius also justified his creative ‘silence’ in terms of the anxieties of war, the latter writing, ‘dictatorship and war disgust me. The mere idea of tyranny and oppression, slave camps and the persecution of human beings, destruction and mass murder make me mentally and physically sick’ (2011, p. 391). Painter & Crow read into the implications of Sibelius’s statement, arguing that he, like Elgar, felt ‘increasingly alienated from their surroundings’ (2006, p. 169). Though Sibelius opts to justify such alienation in terms of the political atmosphere of his later years, the implication of ‘surroundings’ in the above quote implies that Sibelius was also alienated in the face of his changing musical surroundings. Though a sweeping notion of ‘late style’ may not be directly applicable to Sibelius’s career in any objective sense, it could be considered a historically-relevant framework in which to view his works. As Painter & Crow put it, ‘the guiding interest is in the discourse on lateness, rather than lateness itself. Lateness […] is a concept more relevant to the reception of art than to its production’ (2006, p. 7). Interestingly, Painter & Crow further argue that Mahler, in ‘radically undermin[ing] direct connections to the nineteenth-century symphonic form through irony and excess’, was working within the very 19th-century tradition which he was engaged in subverting, thus aligning himself with other late Romantic artists who, ‘self-consciously [reflected] on endings, not merely of their own creative struggles but also of the genres within which they worked’ (2006, p. 4). A post-Death of the Author (Barthes, 1984) reading of such late-19th-century works excludes biographical and intentional fallacies characteristic of ‘late style’ analyses, but it may be worth using the flawed category of ‘lateness’ to explore what may have lay behind Sibelius artistic decisions, both compositional (e.g. the single-movement structure for the Seventh Symphony) and administrative (e.g. the supposed destruction of the Eighth Symphony). ‘Late style’ is thus rendered a quasi-legitimate category by virtue of it being adopted in some form by late-19th-century composers themselves, as will be explored below. Sibelius’s personal ‘life narrative’ is, to all intents and purposes, inaccessible. However, Hutcheon & Hutcheon argue, ‘the external image that we present to the outside world is […] always the result of a process of construction. As we age, this act of self-fashioning becomes the creation of a last and, we hope, lasting identity’ (2016, p. 97). Ironically, the authors themselves make a sweeping generalisation about late style, here, which betrays the complexities underlying a complete dismissal of ‘lateness’ as a topic. Michael Millgate’s theory of ‘testamentary acts’ proves useful here (1992, pp. 1-2). A clear example is Tennyson who––having been seriously ill and without artistic inspiration (he had recently completed ‘Romney’s Remorse’, ‘which even the most fervent Tennysonians do not defend’)––penned ‘Crossing the Bar’, only to subsequently request its placement at the end of future collected editions on account of its quality (Clark, 1972, p. 78). Both Tippett (Clarke, 2001, p. 207) and Carter could be used as further examples – the latter of which was said to be in his ‘late late style’ at the age of 103 (Jenkins, 2010), thus highlighting a major problem with biographical readings of ‘late style’; that people are rarely able to predict the onset of their late period. McMullan & Smiles argue that Georg Simmel’s (incorrect) conviction that a particular piece of Leonardo da Vinci was a late ‘work’, ‘predisposed him to detect [an] extraordinary imaginative quality in Leonardo’s fresco’ (2016, p. 21). As is the case with so many academic binaries, the ‘early’/‘late’ divide under question might be productively applied, despite all its inherent contradictions, to prop up an argument which allows for an exploration of the possibilities contained within that binary. ‘Late style’ becomes useless when applied dogmatically, but recognising it for what it is––an interpretative framework––may be constructive. Howell, in the context of his re-evaluation of Sibelius as a ‘progressive’, argues for a stylistic pairing of symphonies Four and Six, and Five and Seven, in terms of ‘relative degrees of formal restraint and freedom’ which he expresses in the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’, which themselves ‘emanate from Sibelius’s personality’ (2001, p. 38). Here, he invokes argument from biography, as well as the traditional classical/romantic dichotomy. Furthermore, Howell not only identifies the culmination of ‘formal compression’ in the Seventh Symphony, but claims that this particular teleology originated in the Second Symphony (2001, p. 38). Such fallacies call into question any objective ‘truths’ in Howell’s methodology, but do not preclude him from making valuable insights into Sibelius’s work. Scholars have persistently questioned the reasons behind Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’. Goss provides, amongst others, a neatly concise explanation: ‘it is of course possible that Sibelius did not subscribe to the Romantic notion that genius never retires; he may simply have claimed for himself a privilege that most of us take for granted’ (1995, p. 88). Enticing as this is, the so-called ‘silence of Ainola’ did not constitute a complete termination of compositional activity; from the composition of Tapiola to his death in 1957, Sibelius made substantial arrangements and revisions, and composed small-scale works such as the Op. 15 and 16 chamber pieces (1929), and various organ pieces. Nor was it a comfortable ‘retirement’, in any case; arguably the most important compositional act of these years, was the loss of the Eighth Symphony. Its (presumed) destruction constitutes a ‘testamentary act’ in its own right – and perhaps one more profound, in terms of ‘late style’, than if he had completed it. Brahms, who was born only thirty-two years before Sibelius, has been described as ‘the first major composer who grew up within, and learned to cope with, our modern conception of “classical music”’ (Taruskin, 2005). Between this canonical awareness on one hand, and the heightened historical anxieties enacted by the fin-de-siècle, Sibelius found himself at a point in history in which composers were intensely self-conscious of their position within a shared understanding of ‘the’ history of music. Furthermore, Olin Downes had done much to pit Sibelius against Stravinsky and Schoenberg, thus thrusting Sibelius into a state of competition with which he was ill-equipped to cope. Hutcheon & Hutcheon speculate, ‘he had always been known to be prone to insecurity, lack of confidence, and depression; did such multiple and complex pressures lead to the willed silencing of his creativity or to an extended and paralyzing creative despondency?’ (2016, p. 102). Inherent to the notion of ‘late style’ is the assumption that style follows a developmental path, or otherwise changes according to a particular (imposed) narrative over the course of an artist’s life. Here, the very notion of style comes into question. An infinite number of analytical methods can be used to analyse style, and it is the prioritisation of certain analytical options over others that introduces necessary bias into the analytical process. Schenkerian analysis, for example, prioritises certain harmonic features of a work over others; and the fact that varying graphs can be derived from the same piece points to a degree of subjectivity inherent to the method. It is this idea––that style analysis is inherently biased––to which Elkins responds in describing style as, ‘a moment in the ongoing dialogue between the constructing of history and the constructing of the self, a moment that is sustained by not pressing the illogic of the argument of style on towards its crippling conclusions’ (2003). A tension exists between the notion of a teleologically summarising, evolutionary, ‘late style’, and Elkins’s argument, ‘it is primarily style analysis that permits the post-modern perception that art is not progressing in a unified way but is an ongoing, overlapping succession of schools, with none better or more advanced than any other’ (2003). The former is an analysis of the individual composer’s works in relation to a historical narrative, and the latter is a historiography into which the works of individual composers can fit. Stylistic analyses of Sibelius’s output frequenly invoke teleological terminology. One explaination of this lies in the prioritisation of the symphonies in Sibelius’s reception history, as well as problems inherent to the notion of a symphonic ‘cycle’. Britannica Encyclopedia introduces Sibelius as ‘the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia’ (2019); Collins Dictionary as ‘Finnish composer, noted for his seven symphonies, his symphonic poems […] and his violin concerto (1905)’; and the online music database AllMusic as ‘Finland's leading post-Romantic composer of symphonies and a national icon, regarded as the foremost Nordic symphonist of the 20th century’ [italics mine]. Does Sibelius’s symphonic output invite a reading whereby these ‘core’ works display a continuous line of development, regardless of style, in a way that (for example) Stravinsky’s output does not? Furthermore, can this terminology, of organic growth, find origin in Sibelius’s reception as a Nordic composer? When, in July 1932, Koussevitzky suggested that Sibelius conduct his Eighth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the former ‘wanted to present the symphonies in chronological order, and he envisioned the Eighth as the crowning finish’ (Goss, 1995, pp. 86-87). Again, feeding such a narrative was Sibelius himself, who claimed that the Eighth Symphony ‘will be the reckoning of my whole existence – sixty-eight years. It will probably be my last’ (Sirén & Martina). To any composer of symphonies, Beethoven is ‘treated time and time again as the most imposing feature in the landscape of 19th-century music, the mountainside from which the music of the rest of the century would echo’ (Burnham, 2001). Quoting his mother (somewhat remarkably) in a letter to Sibelius of October 14, 1937, Olin Downes writes, ‘he must crown his series of works in this form with a ninth symphony which will represent the summit and the synthesis of his whole achievement and leave us a work which will be worthy of one of the elected few who are the true artistic descendants and inheritors of Beethoven”’ (Goss, 1995, p. 88). Reference is also made to the hypothetical Ninth in Adorno’s aforementioned Glosse über Sibelius, in which Sibelius’s creative ‘silence’–––in which he had been ‘brooding for years over his eighth symphony as if it were the Ninth’––is interpreted as an admission of the composer’s own technical inadequacy (Grimley, 2011, p. 334). Notions that the developmental ‘early-’ to ‘middle-’ to ‘late-style’ frameworks began with Beethoven would be to apply yet another unwarranted teleology to this composer’s reception history. Yet, Burnham (2001) claims: […] the attractions of a triadic framework are manifest: they include the importance of the triad as a venerable organizing strategy (beginning, middle, end) and as a narrative structure that can support both an organic view of Beethoven’s compositional development (the middle period as bloom, the late period as decay) as well as a teleological view (the first two periods as preparatory to, and culminating in, the third) Though particularly prevelant in the symphonies, narratives of organic stylistic development apply elsewhere in Sibelius’s output. The official website for Sibelius claims that Sibelius reached a ‘compositional peak’ in the mid-1920s; ‘his incidental music culminated in the music for Shakespeare's The Tempest in 1925, and the orchestral poems reached their climax in 1926 in Tapiola’ (Sirén & Martina). In the context of a stylistic overview of a composer’s works in a biographical context, teleological interpretations of stylistic development are often in conflict with temporal divisions included to orientate the reader. Therefore, the webpage from which the above quote is taken is titled, ‘Stylistic Development: Main Tendencies’ [italics mine]. Conversely, the opening chapters of Goss’s The Sibelius Companion (1996) are titled, ‘From Youth to Maturity’, ‘Sibelius in the 1890s’, ‘Masterworks’, ‘1900-1914’, and ‘A Bridge to the World’. Familiar biographical tropes are active; a sense of development is present from the first chapter, and confirmed as a hermeneutic feature through the use of ‘Masterworks’ as a category. The dates conform to decade and century divisions, and the beginning of WWI, respectively. Writing a decade later, Painter & Crow argue, ‘the rationale for defining and interpreting an artist’s late style became less pressing once teleological or periodising historiography (as codified by Winckelmann and Hegel) has been discredited’ (2006, p. 5), though for pragmatic and pedagogical reasons, ‘late style’ is still in regular use as an interpretative category. Elkins (2003) comprehensively dismisses the common tripartite division of early, middle and late style – whether posed in biological (i.e. youth, maturity and senescence), historical (i.e. archaic, classic/mannerist, and baroque), or natural (i.e. budding, flowering/fruiting, decay) terms. His extensive examples of problematic ‘late styles’, including ‘simultaneous styles, lifetimes subdivided into “separate” oeuvres, [and] sequences dividing and fusing’, however, do not align with Sibelius’s later years. Ironically, Stravinsky’s career would be easier to periodise, despite being more problematic to reconcile as a whole in Elkins’s terms. Elkins writes, ‘occasionally an artist’s career will embrace styles so different that they seem incompatible (or […] incoherent)’, citing Jacques-Louis David’s, Edvard Munch’s, André Derain, Gino Severini, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner as examples (2003). To conclude: Though the concept of ‘late style’ has been thoroughly dismantled in the 21st century––and though it appears to be a framework counter-intuitive to Sibelius, whose late creative ‘silence’ is so well-known––‘late style’ is still persistently invoked as a valid hermeneutic category. Though stylistic ‘development’ within Sibelius’s output might be clear to those familiar with his works (and particularly to scholars, composers, and critics intent on imposing upon him a narrative which suits their academic agenda) two closing points place his ‘late style’ into perspective. Firstly, is that of Rossini (1792-1868), who ‘happily retired from the opera stage at the age of thirty-eight, a successful and wealthy composer of some thirty-nine operas’ (Hutcheon & Hutcheon, 2016, p. 97). The very fact that Rossini’s late narrative can coexist with that of Sibelius, suggests that ‘late style’ is not as universal as some suggest. Secondly, Sibelius historically overlapped with such diverse figures as Wagner, Brahms, Messiaen, and Britten, not to mention the birth of jazz and rock’n’roll. Within this radically changing stylistic landscape, Sibelius’s output is striking for its remarkable consistency. Despite general criticism of both teleological development of style and notions of ‘late’ style, this essay argues that the latter can be utilised as a hermeneutic category in relation to Sibelius’s work, if treated with sufficient caution.   Bibliography Barnett, A., 2007. Sibelius. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press. Barthes, R., 1984. ‘Death of the Author’. In: Image, Music, Text. London: Fontana Paperbacks: Flamingo Series. Britannica Encyclopedia, 2019. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jean-Sibelius Burnham, S. G., 2001. Beethoven, Ludwig Van. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.40026 [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cicero, M., 44BC [1795]. Cato and Lælius: Or, Essays on old-age and friendship. London: Pall-Mall: Printed for J. Dodsley. Clarke, D., 2001. The Music and Thought of Michael Tippett: Modern Times and Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clark, K., 1972. The artist grows old (Rede lecture; 1970). London: Cambridge University Press. Cohen-Shalev, A., 1989. Old Age Style- Developmental Changes in Creative Production from a Life-Span Perspective. Journal of Aging Studies, 3(1), pp. 21-37. Collins English Dictionary, n.d. Sibelius. [Online] Available at: www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sibelius [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Cummings, R., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jean-sibelius-mn0000690353/biography [Accessed 17 April 2019]. Elkins, J., 2003. Style. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T082129 [Accessed 6 April 2019]. Gibbs, C. H., 2000. The Life of Schubert. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goss, G., 1996. The Sibelius Companion. Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press. Goss, G., 2012. Sibelius: A composer’s life and the awakening of Finland. Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press. Goss, G. D., 1995. Jean Sibelius and Olin Downes: Music, Friendship, Criticism. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Grimley, D., 2004. The Cambridge companion to Sibelius (Cambridge companions to music). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grimley, D., 2011. Jean Sibelius and his World. Princeton, N.J. Howell, T., 2017. After Sibelius: Studies in Finnish music. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Howell, T., Murtomäki, V., Virtanen, T. & Grimley, D., 2017. Jean Sibelius's legacy: Research on his 150th anniversary. Newcastle upon Tyne.: s.n. Hutcheon, L. & Hutcheon, M., 2016. Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Jackson, T. & Murtomäki, V., 2001. Sibelius Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957. 1984. [Film] Directed by Christopher Nupen.: Allegro Films. Jenkins, J. D., 2010. After the Harvest: Carter’s Fifth String Quartet and the Late Late Style. Music Theory Online, 16(3). Kallberg, J., 1985. Chopin's Last Style. Journal of the American Musicological Society, Summer, 38(2), pp. 264-315. Layton, R., 1992. Sibelius (Master Musicians Series). 4th Edition ed. London: Dent. Levas, S., 1972. Jean Sibelius: A Personal Portrait. Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. Mäkelä, T., 2011. Jean Sibelius. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. McMullan, G. & Smiles, S., 2016. Late Style and its Discontents: Essays in Art, Literature, and Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Millgate, M., 1992. Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press. Painter, K. & Crow, T., 2006. Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work. Los Angeles, California: Getty Research Institute. Ross, A., 2007. Apparition in the Woods: Rescuing Sibelius from Silence. [Online] Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/07/09/apparition-in-the-woods [Accessed 4 April 2019]. Sibelius, J., Newmarch, R. & Bullock, P., 2011. The correspondence of Jean Sibelius and Rosa Newmarch, 1906-1939. Woodbridge: Boydell. Sirén, V. & Martina, K., n.d. Jean Sibelius. [Online] Available at: http://www.sibelius.fi/english/ [Accessed 29 March 2019]. Slonimsky, N., 1965. Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers since Beethoven’s Time. 2nd Edition ed. New York: Coleman-Ross. Sohm, P., 2007. The Artist Grows Old: The Aging of Art and Artists in Italy, 1500–1800. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Stuckenschmidt, H. H., 1977. Schoenberg: His Life, World and Work. New York: Schirmer Books. Taruskin, R., 2005. Chapter 13 ‘The Return of the Symphony’. In: The Oxford History of Western Music. New York: Oxford University Press. Tunbridge, L., 2016. [Chapter 7] ‘Saving Schubert: The Evasions of Late Style’. In: G. McMullan & S. Smiles, eds. Late Style and its Discontents. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 120-130.

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