Nightride and Sunrise

Sibelius is frequently grouped with the ‘Romantic Nationalist’ composers (think Wagner or Tchaikovsky).  Certainly Finlandia is one of his best known works though contrary to some opinions it is not the National Anthem of Finland (that would be Maamme), but was used as the melody of the National Anthem of the short lived African country of Biafra (Land of the Rising Sun).

But rather than point you at the short (7 to 9 minutes) and cliche, I’d much rather bore you with the obscure and trivial.  The piece I have selected, Nightride and Sunrise, is a tone poem meant to evoke the emotions of an actual experience, in this case a night time ride and the rise of the sun (duh).

This recording is not the famous 1956 version by Boult and the London Philharmonic but the rather less famous undated performance of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra posted by billystewart4.

Sibelius lived quite a long time despite an early diagnosis of throat cancer.  He died in 1957 at the age of 91.  However after his 7th Symphony in 1926 his published output was very slight and in 1945 he destroyed many personal papers, presumably including the score of an unfinished 8th Symphony.

While he’s considered a national hero by the Finns, his music has received uneven reviews in other quarters with many critics calling it ‘conservative’ and ‘simplistic’ (among less kind opinions).

His reply?

“Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

1 comment

  1. “Who is actually riding, and why?”- Novoye Vremya

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