Sibelius The Finn

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01Finlandia20151207
01Finlandia20151207

Donald Macleod on Sibelius's most famous celebration of the Finnish people, Finlandia.

01Finlandia20151207

Donald Macleod on Sibelius's most famous celebration of the Finnish people, Finlandia.

01Finlandia20151207

01Finlandia20151207

Donald Macleod explores how Jean Sibelius's music helped bring the nation of Finland into being, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

The week begins with Sibelius's most famous musical celebration of the Finnish people, "Finlandia", before Donald Macleod explores the composer's early life growing up in the provincial town of Hameenlinna, contrasting them with two of his last - and strangest - musical works. We hear from Sibelius's much-loved Violin Concerto, and his vast choral fresco "Kullervo" - his earliest and most radical setting of Finland's national poetic epic, the Kalevala, in which he sets the Finnish language for the first time.

Finlandia

Berlin Philharmonic

Herbert von Karajan, conductor

Hymn; Ode to Fraternity (Masonic Funeral Music, Op.113)

Hannu Jurmu, tenor

YL Male Voice Choir

Harri Viitanen, organ

Matti Hyökki, conductor

Violin Concerto: II. Adagio di molto; III. Finale

Sergei Khachatryan, violin

Sinfonia Varsovia

Emmanuel Krivine, conductor

To My Beloved

Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Peter Lonnqvist, piano

Kullervo Symphony: V. Kullervo's Death

London Symphony Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis, conductor.

01Finlandia20151207

Donald Macleod explores how Jean Sibelius's music helped bring the nation of Finland into being, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

The week begins with Sibelius's most famous musical celebration of the Finnish people, "Finlandia", before Donald Macleod explores the composer's early life growing up in the provincial town of Hameenlinna, contrasting them with two of his last - and strangest - musical works. We hear from Sibelius's much-loved Violin Concerto, and his vast choral fresco "Kullervo" - his earliest and most radical setting of Finland's national poetic epic, the Kalevala, in which he sets the Finnish language for the first time.

Finlandia

Berlin Philharmonic

Herbert von Karajan, conductor

Hymn; Ode to Fraternity (Masonic Funeral Music, Op.113)

Hannu Jurmu, tenor

YL Male Voice Choir

Harri Viitanen, organ

Matti Hyökki, conductor

Violin Concerto: II. Adagio di molto; III. Finale

Sergei Khachatryan, violin

Sinfonia Varsovia

Emmanuel Krivine, conductor

To My Beloved

Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Peter Lonnqvist, piano

Kullervo Symphony: V. Kullervo's Death

London Symphony Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis, conductor.

01Finlandia20151207

Donald Macleod on Sibelius's most famous celebration of the Finnish people, Finlandia.

Donald Macleod explores how Jean Sibelius's music helped bring the nation of Finland into being, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

The week begins with Sibelius's most famous musical celebration of the Finnish people, "Finlandia", before Donald Macleod explores the composer's early life growing up in the provincial town of Hameenlinna, contrasting them with two of his last - and strangest - musical works. We hear from Sibelius's much-loved Violin Concerto, and his vast choral fresco "Kullervo" - his earliest and most radical setting of Finland's national poetic epic, the Kalevala, in which he sets the Finnish language for the first time.

Finlandia

Berlin Philharmonic

Herbert von Karajan, conductor

Hymn; Ode to Fraternity (Masonic Funeral Music, Op.113)

Hannu Jurmu, tenor

YL Male Voice Choir

Harri Viitanen, organ

Matti Hyökki, conductor

Violin Concerto: II. Adagio di molto; III. Finale

Sergei Khachatryan, violin

Sinfonia Varsovia

Emmanuel Krivine, conductor

To My Beloved

Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Peter Lonnqvist, piano

Kullervo Symphony: V. Kullervo's Death

London Symphony Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis, conductor.

02Symposium20151208

Donald Macleod explores Sibelius's decadent life in 1890s Helsinki.

Donald Macleod explores Sibelius's decadent life in 1890s Helsinki, and the increasingly harsh restrictions placed on Finns by the Russian Empire.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

After decades of relatively contented existence within the Russian Empire, the 1890s saw Finland's autonomy being gradually eroded by the "Russian bear" to the West. Today's episode begins with a portrait of Sibelius by his colleague Busoni, before presenting a rare and highly-charged choral work, "The Boat Journey", whose premiere was described as "a bombshell" in the move towards independence. We also hear about Sibelius's drunken adventures as part of the notorious "Symposium": a group of artists who would congregate in Helsinki to debate, over considerable quantities of alcohol, the great philosophical and aesthetic questions of the time. The programme ends with two much-loved works that helped proclaim a distinct Finnish identity: Sibelius's "Karelia Suite" and "The Swan of Tuonela" from his "Lemminkäinen Suite", drawn from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.

Busoni: Orchestral Suite no.2, Op.34a: I. Prelude

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Neemi Järvi, conductor

Sibelius: Adagio In D Minor

Jean Sibelius Quartet

Sibelius: The Boat Journey, Op.18 no.3

YL Male Voice Choir

Matti Hyökki, director

Sibelius: Karelia Suite

Philharmonia Orchestra

Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor

Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Leif Segerstam, conductor.

03Crisis20151209

How Sibelius became caught up in the Finnish national fervour of the early 20th century.

Donald Macleod explores how the early years of the 20th century saw Finnish national fervour reach fever pitch - with Sibelius caught in the maelstrom.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

Today's episode pairs one of Sibelius's most hummed, and possibly most frivolous, works with a trio of politically-charged pieces written around the turn of the 20th century, when Finnish national fervour was reaching fever pitch. We also hear from his breakthrough First Symphony, a work which was to propel the thirtysomething composer into the concert halls of Europe.

Valse Triste

BBC Proms Orchestra

Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor

Song of the Athenians, Op.31 no.2

Lahti Boys' Choir

YL Male Voice Choir

Lahti Symphony Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä, conductor

Press Celebrations Music: Väinämöinen Delights Nature, and The Peoples of Kaleva and Pohjola, with His Song; The Finns In The Thirty Years War

Symphony No.1: III. Scherzo; IV. Finale

Tulen Synty (The Origin of Fire)

Laulun Ystavat Male Choir

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Neemi Järvi, conductor

Have You Courage?, Op.31 no.3

04War20151210

Three of Sibelius's most powerful - and unusual - evocations of the Finnish character.

Donald Macleod explores three of Sibelius's most powerful - and unusual - evocations of the Finnish character.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

After the dramatic political assassinations of the early 1900s, Finland found itself waiting for independence as the Russian Empire took its Grand Duchy into the First World War. Meanwhile, a weary Sibelius created two of his most powerful works based on Finland's national epic, the Kalevala: the symphonic poem Pohjola's Daughter, and the extraordinary scena for soprano and orchestra, Luonnotar. The programme also explores one of Sibelius's least-known chamber works, yet one full of profound and dramatic musical statements: his incidental music to the play Ödlan.

Erloschen (Burned Out)

Tom Krause, soprano

Irwin Gage, piano

Pohjola's Daughter, Op.49

Hallé Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder, conductor

Ödlan (The Lizard), Op.8

Laura Vikman, solo violin

Jaako Kuusisto, violin

Jykri Lasonpalo, violin

Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic, viola

Taneli Turunen, cello

Eero Munter, double bass

Luonnotar

Soile Isokoski, soprano

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Leif Segerstam, conductor

Give Me No Splendour, Gold, or Pomp

Lilla Academy Boys' Choir.

05Independence20151211

With Sibelius's most controversial work, plus perhaps his greatest symphonic statement.

Donald Macleod introduces Sibelius's most controversial political work - plus perhaps his greatest symphonic statement.

150 years after he was born, Jean Sibelius remains the most famous and important artistic figure in Finland's history, and indeed, their most famous celebrity in any field. His music helped rouse the Finnish people and galvanise their struggle for independence - and yet, the long life of this proud Finn (he lived to the age of 91) is a mass of contradictions. At home, Sibelius spoke Swedish, the language of his childhood, and it's often forgotten he was a Russian citizen until he was 52. This week, as part of BBC Radio 3's "Northern Lights" season, and in conversation with the Sibelius scholar Glenda Goss, Donald Macleod explores the key musical works by Sibelius that helped articulate the idea and essence of Finnish identity.

Despite his role as the torch-bearer of Finnish nationalism, Sibelius rarely ventured into nakedly political musical statements...with one highly-controversial exception. Donald Macleod explores his tubthumping "March of the Finnish Jaeger Battalion", a public statement written at the height of the First World War that sounds jarring even a century on. The programme also presents a rare opportunity to hear from the original version of Sibelius's symphonic masterpiece, his Fifth Symphony, plus his last works based on the great collection of Finnish national poetry, the Kalevala, the late cantata "Vainon Virsi" and the eerie tone poem "Tapiola".

Jääkärimarsi, Op.91 (March Of The Finnish Jäger Battalion)

YL Male Voice Choir

Symphony no.5 (original version of 1915): Movts. 1 and 2

Lahti Symphony Orchestra

Osmo Vänska, conductor

Vainon Virsi (Vaino's Song)

Finnish National Opera Chorus

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra,

Eri Klas, conductor

Tapiola

Leif Segerstam, conductor

Finlandia-Hymni

Dominante Choir

Seppo Murto, conductor.