The South Birmingham Sinfonia will be performing this overture as part of the Winter 2014 series of concerts.
Finlandia is a well-known and much-loved tone poem by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Composed in 1899 (with a revision in 1900) it is a powerful statement of Finnish nationalism against the Russian Empire (part of which Finland was at the time) and particularly against Russian censorship.
With this background one can expect some turbulent music and strong statements, and we are not disappointed. The conflict grows out of the slow introduction and is transformed to a more joyful march, before giving way to perhaps the best known of all Sibelius's tunes. Its folk-like melody has been used as a hymn tune and as a national song in Finland, but was composed orignally by Sibelius for this very work.
The piece ends on a with a final affirmation of the march-like theme.
See also Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandia.