Jean Sibelius, Finlandia, Op. 26 (piano arr.)

Finlandia, Op. 26 is a symphonic poem by J. Sibelius. Written in 1899 and revised in 1900, it was conceived for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against censorship from the Russian Empire, and was performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history. The premiere was in 1900 in Helsinki with the Helsinki Philharmonic Society. A typical performance takes anywhere from 7½ to 9 minutes. In order to avoid Russian censorship, Finlandia had to be performed under alternate names: the titles under which the piece masqueraded were numerous, a famously flippant example being Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring, and A Scandinavian Choral March. Most of the piece consists of turbulent music, evoking the struggle of the Finnish. Towards the end, a calm comes over the orchestra, and the Finlandia Hymn is heard. Incorrectly cited as a folk melody, the Hymn section is of Sibelius’s creation. Although initially composed for orchestra, in 1900 Sibelius arranged the entire work for piano.


Instruments Piano
Forms Symphonic Poem
Performers Peter J

Jean Sibelius born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the late Romantic period. His music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity.
The core of Sibelius’s oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies. Like Beethoven, Sibelius used each successive work to further develop his own personal compositional style. His works continue to be performed frequently in the concert hall and are often recorded.
In addition to the symphonies, Sibelius’s best-known compositions include Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste, the Violin Concerto in D minor and The Swan of Tuonela (one of the four movements of the Lemminkäinen Suite). Other works include pieces inspired by the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala; over 100 songs for voice and piano; incidental music for 13 plays; the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower); chamber music; piano music; Masonic ritual music; and 21 separate publications of choral music.
Sibelius composed prolifically until the mid-1920s. However, after completing his Seventh Symphony (1924), the incidental music to The Tempest (1926), and the tone poem Tapiola (1926), he produced no large scale works for the remaining thirty years of his life. Although he is reputed to have stopped composing, he in fact attempted to continue writing, including abortive efforts to compose an eighth symphony. He wrote some Masonic music and re-edited some earlier works during this last period of his life, and retained an active interest in new developments in music, although he did not always view modern music favorably.
The Finnish 100 mark bill featured his image until it was taken out of circulation in 2002 when the euro was adopted as a cash currency. Since 2011, Finland has celebrated a Flag Day on 8 December, the composer’s birthday, also known as the ‘Day of Finnish Music’.

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