You may have been wondering why I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks. Well, the answer is that I’ve been in Finland celebrating Jean Sibelius’s 150th. I went with my Rotary friends, John C and Chris F and two new friends, Steve and Richard. We had the most amazing time in Lahti which is where the celebrations were held. Over the period of six days, various orchestras, including the Lahti Symphony, conducted by Osmo Vanska, played all seven of Sibelius’s symphonies and many of his brilliant tone poems.
The high spot, for me, was Kullervo, a symphony like piece for orchestra, male voice choir, mezzo-soprano and baritone. It’s subject is a legend from the Kalevala. It is a truly stunning work which richly rewards following the words in the programme. Even the sword, which Kullervo the hero eventually impales himself on, has its own musical voice! If you don’t know this work, I strongly recommend it to you.
Not only did we attend these wonderful concerts, we also toured Helsinki and visited Sibelius’s house at Ainola and his birthplace at Hameenlinna.
My thanks are mainly due to John who suggested that we went on this pilgrimage. He’s a true expert on Sibelius and it was great to have him guide us through these wonderful works. But we all played our part and mine was to be the driver, aided of course by Chris the navigator! Here are a few snaps I took at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti. Apologies for the sloping lake outside. It’s used for down hill skating!