Celebrating 150 years on Jean Sibelius

07-03-2015 07:44 PM

Mary Fikry

The Cairo Opera House and the Finnish Embassy in Cairo will be celebrating throughout 2015 the passage of 150 years on the birth of the famous Finnish classical composer Jean Sibelius (1865 –1957). The celebration includes concerts by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Ahmed al-Saedi, of the works of Sibelius. 

Sibelius belongs to the famous line of European composers of the late romantic period among whom were Beethoven, Mahler and Wagner. His music was important in expressing Finnish national identity; in the same way Egyptian national compose Sayed Darwish (1892-1923) used authentic Egyptian folk music to express modern Egyptian national identity. Not surprisingly the music of Sibelius was generously borrowed in many dramatic Egyptian films particularly his famous national piece, Finlandia.

Sibelius was so important in Finnish history that the old 100 Finnish Markka bill had featured his image until it was taken out of circulation in 2002 when the Euro was adopted as a national currency. Since 2011, Finland has celebrated on 8 December, the composer’s birthday, the ‘Day of Finnish Music’. 

Especially for his famous seven symphonies, Finlandia, Karelia Suite, the tone poem Tapiola, Valse Triste, the Violin Concerto in D minor, Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela, Sibelius is a well-known figure in the world of classical music. He loved nature, and the Finnish landscape often served as material for his music as in his 6th symphony and Tapiola. Sibelius remains one of the most popular 20th century symphonists, both in the concert hall and on record.

The Cairo Opera House is planning to play many of his famous works throughout 2015, including all seven symphonies, the first concert being held at the Main Hall of the Opera House on Saturday 7 March conducted by Maestro Ahmed El-Saedi and featuring soloist Anastasia Chebotareva. The all-Sibelius repertoire will include the Karelia Suite, Op. 11, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Minor and Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39.

During the spring of 2015, two concerts are planned for 11 April J. featuring Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43; and 23 May 2015 playing Symphony No. 3 in C Major, Op. 52
Watani International
7 March 2015
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