Today marks the birthday of Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, Finland’s greatest composer. Finland has actually celebrated this day as “Flag Day” since 2011 in honor of Sibelius whose music is credited with helping Finland establish its national identity when seeking its independence from Russia (Declaration of Independence was adopted on December 6, 1917). My first exposure to Sibelius was in band class (during Junior High and High School) where we often performed his work “Finlandia.” For your listening enjoyment, here is Opus 26, Sibelius’ symphonic poem which was a covert protest against Russian censorship!
“Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” (Jean Sibelius)