2015-2016 – A Celebration of the Montgomery Philharmonic’s 10th Anniversary Season

Finlandia, Opus 26 (1899, revised 1900) – Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
One of Sibelius’ early tone poems was Finlandia. Originally intended to be the seventh movement of seven pieces forming a tableau depicting Finnish history, “Finland Awakens,” it was a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian empire. To avoid Russian censorship, Finlandia was performed under several names at first. It has been thought that the theme was originally a folk tune, but it is, in fact, Sibelius’ own work.
Eventually, the
Finlandia section of the tableau became so popular that Sibelius decided to re-work the piece as a stand-alone work. The Finlandia Hymn was not sung in Finland until opera singer Wäinö Sola wrote Finnish words for it in 1937. The words for the hymn section were re-written after Russian aggression against Finland in 1941 by Veirko Antero Koskenniemi, and that was when Finlandia started to become an important Finnish National Hymn. This second set of words is the text that has been used ever since. Because of this, Finlandia is one of the most recognizable melodies in classical music.
Instrumentation 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, strings