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Published on Jan 19, 2012
Hymn of the Earth.
Sibelius - Cantatas.
Ellerhein Girls' Choir. Estonian National Male Choir. Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Paavo Jârvi, conductor.
Op. 95 Maan virsi (Hymn of the Earth), cantata for mixed choir and orchestra; words by Eino Leino. Completed January 1920; first performance in Helsinki, 4th April 1920 (Suomen laulu, Helsinki City Orchestra under Heikki Klemetti). Sibelius promised the Hymn of the Earth to the choir Suomen Laulu to show his gratitude, since the choir had performed all his choral works for no financial reward at all. The first public performance took place at the jubilee concert of Suomen Laulu under Heikki Klemetti. The critic Bis thought the work was a translation of Jordens Sång, and since then many people have made the same mistake. The second performance of the Hymn of the Earth was conducted by Sibelius at Finland's first National Fair, in the grounds of the Church of St John. The composer wore a morning coat and a top hat. According to Armi Klemetti Sibelius gave very clear directions to the performers, and was an easier conductor for the choral singers than Robert Kajanus, whose vague floating gestures were hard to follow. Sibelius also conducted Jordens Sång at the fair. Hymn of the Earth stayed in Sibelius's concert repertoire for a few years. Its festive patriotic pathos does not leave room for the composer's most personal strains. "His writing for voices in no way reflects the ground he has won elsewhere [in the 1920s]," was Robert Layton's opinion.