Scenes of Finland and its capital Helsinki, the interlinked islands of Savonlinna, site of an ancient castle and Kerimäki, with its wooden church, suggest a vision of a remarkable country, moulded by its geographical features and its varied and long history.
Finland found its musical identity largely through the work of Jean Sibelius. The son of a doctor, Sibelius belonged to a class of which the culture and language was Swedish. He learned Finnish and acquired his knowledge of Finnish literature and legend at school, developed his understanding of music in Germany, principally in Berlin, and established himself as one of the most considerable of the late Romantic symphonists, exploring new possibilities in a vein that might have seemed overworked. Here and in his tone-poems, based largely on Finnish legend, he created a national music that has defied imitation in the very breadth of his conception of the symphonic form.
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