Conducting a full cycle of the seven Sibelius symphonies is very much a journey through idealism and insecurity. Although Jean Sibelius enjoyed international fame, he was a troubled man. He battled alcoholism and depression, lived as a recluse and doubted his craft. His photo appeared several times on the cover of Time Magazine. However, he strove to write grand symphonies in the mold of Anton Bruckner: idealistic works that did not refer to any text, story, or recognizable images, in deliberate contrast to those of his more famous contemporaries, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Like Bruckner's, Sibelius's symphonies are not without faults; but they take us deeper and deeper into an essential world of tight thematic connections, subtle gradations, sudden revelations and wisdom. Here are seven one-minute samples of this wonderful odyssey through the seven symphonies - with the hope that you will someday take the full journey yourself.