Music From Finland Via France on Symphony @ 7

Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947) was a younger contemporary of Jean Sibelius, and this evening on Symphony @ 7, I’ll have what is regarded as the finest of his three symphonies, the Third Symphony from 1926.  Like his more famous older contemporary, Madetoja’s music also inhabits its own unique sound world, but the influence of Russian Romanticism and that of Sibelius can also be heard.

Madetoja studied with Sibelius for two years in his late teens and later studied music in Paris, Vienna and Berlin as well.  Also, the traditional music of Ostrobothnia, the area where he grew up, played a role in shaping his musical ideas.

In the Third Symphony, a distinctly French influence is present as well.  The composer began writing it while vacationing in France with his wife, the poet L. Onerva, and completed it the following year back in Finland.  It opens in a decidedly pastoral mood and is more restrained than his Second Symphony.  The sound has been described as “refined and translucent” and possessing a French elegance.  It’s been suggested that although it is clearly Finnish, perhaps the Third Symphony should have been subtitled “Sinfonia Gallica.”

Join me for a musical voyage to Finland via France here on Classical 101 for music of Leevi Madetoja.

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