Sunday 3 December 2017

Reality checking Mark Mardell's knowledge of Finnish classical music

Continuing with today's The World This Weekend with Mark Mardell...

If there's one thing I do know something about it's Finland's finest Jean Sibelius (my favourite composer), so the closing feature on Finland's centenary as an independent nation aroused my interest.

"It's a hundred years since Finland became a nation," said Mark. The stirring opening chords of Sibelius's most famous work Finlandia then resounded, and Mark continued, "And it's a hundred years since the first performance of Sibelius's Finlandia."

I immediately thought, "Oh no it isn't!". It was in fact premiered in Helsinki in 1900 and then performed widely around the world in the years running up to World War I, spreading the composer's fame. 

Tut, tut! Alternative facts from Mark there!

Still, it was interesting to hear (from someone else) that there are 3 million saunas in Finland. The population is only 5 million. There are more saunas than cars in Finland. They certainly do like their saunas.

1 comment:

  1. You'd enjoy a sauna if the alternative was being frozen to death in Winter or bitten to death (by flies) in Summer! Plus they need to sweat out all that hard liquor. :) Sibelius is one of my favourite classical composers.

    Anyway, it's a bit odd to say Finland "became" a "nation" in 1917. They became an independent state. You can be a nation without having an independent state. A nation is really a collection of people with a common cultural identity. Where a tribe stops and a nation begins is difficult to say. Language is a strong element. A nation is really a kind of mega-tribe I guess.


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