Wednesday, May 1, 2024

10:00 am - 11:30 am

Continuing our exploration of music to be performed with conductor Josh Condon and the Scottsdale Symphonic Orchestra on May 12, we look at Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s famous tone poem, FINLANDIA. Originally written as a covert protest piece against the occupying Russian Empire for the Press Celebrations of 1899, the piece was featured as an accompaniment a dramatic tableaux depicting the history of the Finnish people. The middle section, featuring a hymn-like chorale with winds–and later, strings–took the world by storm and has spun out countless adaptions, such as the songs Be Still My SoulAt the TableLand of the Pine, This is My Song, Our Farewell Song, and others.

Sibelius sums up the piece’s narrative thusly: “We fought 600 years for our freedom and I am part of the generation which achieved it. Freedom! My Finlandia is the story of this fight. It is the song of our battle, our hymn of victory.” While originally intended to rouse a spirit of patriotism of the Finnish people, the piece entered popular culture; and in the opinion of famed conductor Leopold Stokowski, the melody could be thought of as “a worldwide anthem”.