Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) Lemminkaeinen and the Maidens on the Island Op. 22/1
Lemminkäinen ja saaren neidot [orch] duration: 17'
2(2picc).2.2.2. – 188.8.131.52. – timp.perc. – str
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If we take a close look at Sibelius' Lemminkäinen, it would certainly be possible to regard this work as the composer's Symphony no. "0," since the early versions of these four tone poems go back to the years 1895/96, hence to the time preceding the 1st Symphony. It was not until 1954, however, that the self-contained, musical "novella" actually reached its completion, since this is when all four pieces were published together. Previously, Sibelius had had only two of the pieces printed; the other two had to spend 40 years in a drawer waiting for their big moment.
Today we know that it was well worth it, for Lemminkäinen takes us on a journey into Finnish mythology, unfolds the full breadth of the Finnish landscape, and relates the adventures of Lemminkäinen and his safe and sound return to his mother.