Symphony No. 6, Op. 104

While working on his titanic Fifth Symphony (1915 – 1920), Sibelius was also thinking about its twin symphony, his Sixth. Where his Fifth conquers, his Sixth reflects, and it is certainly more enigmatic. Often at some point, composers begin sorting out the big questions of existence in varied ways simultaneously (for example, Beethoven wrote his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies concurrently). Such was the case with Sibelius starting in 1914 and these existential questions would dog him the rest of his career. While working on both Symphonies, Sibelius’s diaries often referred to his “struggle with God,” his questioning of his place in the Universe, as well as his increasing spiritual enchantment with Nature.