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A Symphony as Cool as Water

Classical Academy | Orchestral Music


"Some composers mix colourful cocktails", said Jean Sibelius. "I offer pure, cool water". Surely there's no piece of music that's purer or more invigorating than his great Fifth Symphony.


The symphony was commissioned by the government of Finland, one of the chilliest places on earth. Its second movement of this piece features the crisply cool sound of the flute over pizzicato strings with chirping woodwinds giving it a cheerful feel. The third movement is said to be inspired by swan-calls with the horns replicating the sound. The composer was profoundly moved when he once saw 16 of these majestic birds taking flight at once.


In the heat of summer, take a sip of cool water with a selection of icy classics in our Sibelius playlist, which includes the Fifth Symphony in full.


Discover more music for summer with our recommended music for August.