at 6 p.m. Pre-concert Talk, Carpenter´s Hall(in English and free of charge)
Terry Barfoot and Andrew Barnett: Myths and Legends; Ainola and the Kalevala
‘I think we Finns ought not to be ashamed to show more pride in ourselves. Let us wear our caps at an angle! Why should we be ashamed of ourselves? That is the underlying sentiment throughoutLemminkäinen’s Return. Lemminkäinen is just as good as the noblest of earls. He is an aristocrat, without question an aristocrat!’ With these words Sibelius described the hero of hisKalevala-inspired masterpieceLemminkäinen, the most popular movement of which –The Swan of Tuonela– is often performed separately.
Jean Sibelius’s last symphonic composition wasTapiola, completed in 1926. This work marks the culmination of Sibelius’s œuvre, the central focus of which had become the condensation of his message into as concise a form as possible.
Among the most important influences on Sibelius were his relationship with nature and his identity as a Finn, which found its most potent expressive outlet via theKalevala. These two aspects are to the fore in the festival’s opening concert, in which Leif Segerstam conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra – an orchestra that Sibelius also conducted.