The Bard (Sibelius)

The Bard
Tone poem by Jean Sibelius

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

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

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

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


The piece has been recorded by Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and also by Okko Kamu and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.


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

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