Lemminkäinen Suite (includes The Swan of Tuonela)
Jean Sibelius

207

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Re-entry, after a 4-year absence. Sibelius has 7 entries on our chart this year — and this is the 2nd.

Written in the early 1890s, Sibelius' mythical suite was originally conceived as an opera, Veneen luominen. It's based on the legendary character Lemminkäinen, who travels to the island of the dead. Sibeliuss opulent string writing is a particular highlight in the second movement, The Swan of Tuonela — there are up to seventeen separate string parts, as well as a beautiful cor anglais solo.

Lemminkäinen's Mother by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1897).