“It is the new, young Finland that will be described, and the composer gives us the description in the form of a song, a simple, four-part chorus, peculiar due to certain rhythmic accents […]. It is a whole new folk song, or more correctly, […] the song of our democratic Finnish folk.” This is how Karl Flodin described his first aural impression of the tone poem Finlandia in 1899.
In the aftermath of the “February Manifesto“ implemented on 15 February 1899 by the Russian Emperor Nicholas II, artists expressed their support for the press and the freedom of speech in diverse cultural events arranged in Finland in the beginning of November 1899. A group of artists joined forces in arranging a performance of six historical tableaus. Jean Sibelius composed “Music for the Press Celebration Days” for this occasion. After several revisions, the music composed for the last tableau, Suomi herää (“Finland Awakes”), became known as the tone poem Finlandia op. 26. As an independent work Finlandia quickly became part of the repertoire and is now one of the most frequently played and best known works by Sibelius. Today there are quite a number of arrangements of this popular composition. The original version is now published in our established Urtext-quality based on the complete edition “Jean Sibelius Works”.