Karelia Suite, Op. 11

In 1893, a lottery fundraiser was organized by the Vyborg Students’ Association to promote the education of the people of Vyborg Province (Karelia). Rising Nationalist composer, Jean Sibelius, was asked to compose the music to accompany its “pageant,” a theatrical genre in vogue at the time that depicted scenes (tableaus) of historical interest, acted and pantomimed by live actors, with musical accompaniment. … Sibelius wrote eight vignettes for the pageant, finishing up with the Finnish National Anthem, but it’s impossible to tell how successful they were – the event was so nationalistically charged that the audience’s rowdiness drowned out every note. Sibelius soon refashioned a suite…