Sillanpää

Sillanpää

[sil-lahn-pa]
Sillanpää, Frans Eemil, 1888-1964, Finnish novelist. As a young man Sillanpää studied natural science at Helsinki and came under the influence of an artistic circle that included the composer Sibelius. He soon won acclaim with his short stories and his first novel, Life and Sun (1916). Meek Heritage (1919, tr. 1938) won him recognition as Finland's foremost writer; it described the period of the Finnish civil war of 1917 with sympathy and realism. Fallen Asleep while Young (1931; tr. The Maid Silja, 1933) treats the conflicts of the same era caused by the disintegration of older values. His People in a Summer Night (1934, tr. 1966) concerns the mysteries of nature. Sillanpää was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Sillanpään marssilaulu (Finnish) is a Finnish patriotic song composed by Aimo Mustonen, with words by Frans Emil Sillanpää.

A few months before the start of winter war, the Finnish army held extra war training for its troops. One day, Sillanpää watched as some troops passed his house, singing a quite non-military song Maailman Matti. Sillanpää became frustrated, he wondered why the Finnish soldiers did not sing something more fitting to the age of war they lived. Almost immediately, he wrote new, far more patriotic words to the Maailman Matti theme. The new words of Maailman Matti were published by the Suomen Kuvalehti -magazine, cathing the eye of captain Palmroth of the Finnish Defence Forces. Palmroth immediately recognized the potential of the song, thinking it was perfect for raising the morale of the Finnish forces. He quickly organized a composing contest to create a more fitting theme for Sillanpää's song. Rising out of obscurity was Aimo Mustonen, winning over many well-known composers. The coming of winter war proved Palmroth's instinct correct, as Sillanpään marssilaulu became a huge success among the Finnish troops.

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