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Finlandia by Jean Sibelius


By Jean Sibelius

web Brown Bear in Finnish Landscape
web Brown Bear in Finnish Landscape

The time of Christmas and the New Year holiday is a time of rich emotions. A time to reflect, a time to remember time spent with friends, some still around and some sadly gone

For me, a self-confessed Finophile, who has had some of my happiest times with my best friend Nicky and her Finnish partner, Antti, I have memories of spending Summer time, Finnish style – in a simple log house beside a lake, fishing, collecting fungi, firewood and berries from the beautiful moss and lichen covered forest floor, eating what we caught and collected, then saunas and swimming in the lake and the endless light of Summer nights

This music evokes all of the above, but also portrays the struggles that the Finnish people have had so many times throughout their history with their more powerful neighbour, Russia. And it has parallels today with the struggle of Ukraine against Russia

In the Winter war of 1939/40 the Soviet’s Red Army invaded Finland. This war left over 25,000 Finns dead and the Soviets lost at least 126,000 soldiers. For Finland with such a small population this was a massive loss. When the peace treaty was signed in March 1940 Finland kept its independence but lost more than half of Karelia to the Russians. Finland put into action a huge evacuation process with Finns taking the fleeing Karelians into their own homes until the government were able to accomodate them

Finlandia is a symphonic or tone poem, written in 1899. This music and my love of Finland and its own bitter struggles against Russia resonates today

Listen Here

Athene English

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