Sunday, October 11, 2015

Occasional Sunday music slot: Finlandia by Sibelius

For this week's Sunday music spot, here's Jean Sibelius's brilliant symphonic poem composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire. It is the last of seven pieces, each originally performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history.

A recurrent joke within Finland at this time was the renaming of Finlandia at various musical concerts so as to avoid Russian censorship. Titles under which the piece masqueraded were numerous, a famously flippant example being Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring.

Most of the piece is taken up with rousing and turbulent music, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people. But towards the end, a calm comes over the orchestra, and the serenely melodic Finlandia Hymn is heard.

And by the way - we still need consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital, so #SupportOption1

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