This is a Nordic Horizons podcast with a difference. It isn’t about policy, politics, climate change or kindergarten – it’s about culture.
And the enduring cultural impact of a very exceptional Finn.
Which famous composer heard different musical notes when he glimpsed different colours? Which composer was at the heart of his country’s successful bid for independence but grew reluctant to have his early work performed to avoid being dismissed as ‘just a romantic nationalist’? And which composer inspired the creation of Finland’s largest wooden concert hall and the world’s first orchestral live-stream?
The answer is Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957.
This special podcast was recorded and produced by Nordic Horizons Director Lesley Riddoch on a trip to the Sibelius Festival in Lahti, Finland during early September 2022 . Sadly, rules on copyright mean no excerpts of music can be included – but there’s mention of the Lemminkainen Suite (including the Swan of Tuonela), Violin Concerto, Tempest, Finlandia and the Wood Nymph. All are easy to sample online. The interviewees are former manager of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Tuomas Kinberg; the Chief Conductor of the Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival, Dalia Stasevska and Ainola museum guide at Sibelius’ former lakeside home, Christina Kananen – all pictured below.
Many thanks to Finnair, Visit Finland and the Sibelius Festival for making the trip possible – details of the 2023 festival will be online by December 7th 2022. Thanks to Maarit Kytöharju for permission to use her image of Dalia Stasevska in full flight and to Chris Smith for editing the audio material.