Monday, 6 August 2012

Oma Maa

Here is the cantata Oma Maa ('Our Homeland') by Jean Sibelius, composed in 1918. I've had the complete symphonies and tone poems of Sibelius in my CD collection for three years but heard this piece for the first time only a week ago. It was like finding twenty quid in the pocket of an old pair of jeans. The reason I had never played it is that it follows Symphony no 7, the ending of which leaves me spent, limp and in need of a refractory period, so the CD never got played in its entirety. As usual with music, I cannot say anything intelligent or instructive about Oma Maa other than that I hope you find it as fine a piece as I do. There's some background information here for anyone interested.   



The CD booklet has the Finnish text and a parallel English translation, a rather clumsy bit of translatese which I have tidied up a little in this excerpt, just so we have some idea what they're sounding so ecstatic about:

'Clear were the wintery days, beautiful to behold: Northern Lights in the heavens blazing, glorious to behold. Oh, the Midsummer time, days without end, when the sun does not cease to shine over water and over land! Once more, O Fate, I pray, carry me there' etc., etc. I'm sure it sounds a whole lot better in Finnish. 

3 comments:

Candy said...

Sibelius! Reminds me of home and my mother.....

Vilges Suola said...

Is that good or bad?

Candy said...

Good question - mostly good. I remember being intorduced to Sibelius by my mother who was a classical pianist of note and had what seemed like encyclopaedic knoeldege of music. The Swaziland Broadcasting Corp had chosen the intermezzo from the Karelia as their intro music and beefed it up to be loud and stirring. My mother was at one and the same time my nemesis and my mentor.

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