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Finlandia Hymn

The Finlandia Hymn (in Finnish Finlandia-hymni) refers to a serene hymn-like section of the patriotic symphonic poem Finlandia, written in 1899 and 1900 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was later re-worked by the composer into a stand-alone piece

With words written in 1941 by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi, the Finlandia Hymn is one of the most important national songs of Finland (though Maamme is the de facto national anthem).

Other words commonly sung to the same melody include three Christian hymns (Be Still, My Soul, We Rest on Thee, and This Is My Song), Gweddi dros Gymru or A Prayer for Wales (a national song of Wales), Ambrosian Oaks (alma mater of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa), and Land of the Rising Sun (national anthem of the short-lived African state of Biafra).

Finnish national song

After the success of the full-length symphonic poem (most of which consists of rousing and turbulent passages, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people), Sibelius published a stand-alone version of the hymn as the last of twelve numbers in his Masonic Ritual Music, Op. 113, with a text by opera singer Wäinö Sola. The version usually heard today has lyrics written by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi and was first performed in 1941. Sibelius himself arranged the hymn for choral performances.

The de facto national anthem of Finland is Maamme (Our Land), but it has never been officially recognised. There have been numerous suggestions that the Finlandia Hymn should become the national anthem. However, Maamme is already so widely recognised and used that it would be difficult to dislodge it. Furthermore, the Finlandia Hymn requires a more advanced musical skill to properly perform.

Lyrics

A literal translation of the lyrics would be:

O, Finland, behold, your day is dawning,
The threat of night has been banished away,
And the lark of morning in the brightness sings,
As though the very firmament would sing.
The powers of the night are vanquished by the morning light,
Your day is dawning, O land of birth.

O, rise, Finland, rise up high
Your head, wreathed with great memories.
O, rise, Finland, you showed to the world
That you drove away the slavery,
And that you did not bend under oppression,
Your day is dawning, O land of birth.

Another verse by Josh Mitteldorf, for difficult times:

When nations rage, and fears erupt coercive,
The drumbeats sound, invoking pious cause.
My neighbors rise, their stalwart hearts they offer,
The gavels drop, suspending rights and laws.
While others wield their swords with blind devotion;
For peace I'll stand, my true and steadfast cause.

Other songs

The tune was adopted by Biafra for its national anthem "Land of the Rising Sun" during its attempted secession from Nigeria.

The Christian hymn Be Still, My Soul, written in German (Stille meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen) in 1752 by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697-1768) and translated into English in 1855 by Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897), is usually sung to this tune. It begins:

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He, faithful, will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Another slightly different version is worded:

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on my side,
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
In every change He, faithful, will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Father,
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.

The Christian hymn We Rest on Thee, written by Edith G. Cherry around 1895 is also commonly sung to the tune of Finlandia. This hymn is probably most famous because it was the last hymn sung by the five missionaries involved in Operation Auca before their deaths and a line from the hymn's final verse provided the title for Elisabeth Elliot's book about that incident, Through Gates of Splendor. The hymn's first verse is:

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

The Unitarian Universalists sing:

We would be one as now we join in singing,
Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew.
To that high cause of greater understanding
Of who we are, and what in us is true.
We would be one in living for each other,
to show to all a new community.

Cedar Grace, set to the tune of Finlandia:

The pleasant trees and silver, ripling waters,
the flow'rs and clouds, the un-dimmed, sunlit sky
and bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take of thy so rich supply.
And bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take from thy so rich supply.

From the Methodists:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

See also

References

External links

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