Weekend Art: Finlandia
|Finlandia , composed by Jean Sibelius, is a tone poem celebrating the land of the midnight sun. It opens with a harsh brass passage that segues into calm, then a low undercurrent rises in tone and transitions to a fast staccato theme. The tension is maintained by racing strings and the theme pushes forward before suddenly giving way to a quiet but passionate hymn-like melody (shown in the score to the left) that is expressed with a stark clarity. The piece ends with a return to the stormy mood and builds in a crescendo to the finale. Below the fold, some context for the piece and an embedded performance.|
The background and significance of this work are described here :
The music for the Finlandia Hymn was written by composer Jean Sibelius in 1899, while Finland was experiencing a rise in nationalism, beginning its rise against Russian oppression, and grappling toward independence as a nation.
The lyrics which are now most often associated with the work were composed in 1940 by V. A. Koskenniemi, when Finland had just finished fighting Russia in the Winter War.
[...] I don't think there's a person in Finland who doesn't get goosebumps at the first notes of the song. I tried singing it to someone who asked me a few months ago — I didn't make it through the first full verse before I was sobbing so hard I couldn't continue. It holds special significance to us Finns, especially on Independence Day.
The "hymn" portion has in fact been put to words as a hymn; here is a beautiful performance.
Finally, here is the piece -- what do you think?
Submitted by Brendan on Sun, 2008-04-13 14:30