April 26, 2013

Pohjolan tytär

The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Leif Segerstam, conductor

Op. 49 Pohjola's Daugter tytär (Pohjolan tytär), symphonic fantasy. Completed in 1906; first public performance in St Petersburg, 29th December 1906 (Orchestra of the Marinsky Theatre under Jean Sibelius).
Pohjola's Daughter is one of Sibelius's most popular symphonic poems. It was not until the late 1990s that scholars were able to work out the complicated stages of its composition.
The difficulties were caused by several intertwining ideas and projects that were going on at the same time. One of these comprised the "Daughter of Nature" material. Another project was the third symphony, and a third was Night Ride and Sunrise. A fourth project consisted of the sketches to In memoriam and a fifth the oratorio . Marjatta, which Sibelius was planning on the basis of Jalmari Finne's libretto, starting from June 1905. Finne wrote enthusiastically about this project:
"Sibelius talked about music in such a beautiful way. He also said: 'Music is for me like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.'"
The mosaic metaphor is apt. Without knowing it, Sibelius was unknowingly already composing Pohjola's Daughter, but initially he called the earliest form of the work "Luonnotar" (Daughter of Nature). This is not the Luonnotar we know from 1913, which is why it is customary to write about the earlier project using quotes. It is not surprising that the Marjatta and Luonnotar ideas were equally fascinating to Sibelius. The female figures are mythologically very close to each other. Marjatta gives birth to the Saviour, Luonnotar to the world.

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