Sibelius (1865 - 1957)

“Finlandia”, tone poem op.26 (Version for Male Chorus and Orchestra) (8')

Finlandia was composed in 1899 and revised in 1900 when Finland bore the oppression from the Russian Empire. Sibelius wrote the tone poem for a secretive gathering, the purpose of which was to protest against Russian censorship Finnish politics and ideology. The premiere on July 2, 1900 in Helsinki was performed by the Helsinki Orchestral Society. Towards the end of the tone poem Sibelius writes a serenely melody, which the composer later made into an independent hymn. This, known as Finlandia Hymn, has been touching many people in Finland, and the tone poem Finlandia is sometimes performed with a male chorus singing the hymn. This male chorus and orchestra version clearly brings out nationalistic feelings attached to the tone poem.

[Akira Ishii]