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22nd April 2010

Greatest Finnish Symphonies

Finland has produced so many great symphony composers, following in the tradition started by Jean Sibelius, that it has been tough narrowing down our choice to just ten composers and their finest symphonies.

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Sibelius is the composer who started the great Finnish symphonic tradition, and his fifth is justly his most popular symphony.

About this symphony...

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Sallinen's fifth symphony, Washington Mosaics, is captivating in the way it contrasts dance-like rhythms with bleak, dissonant sections.

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Considered Melartin's masterpiece, this is reminiscent of Mahler's seventh symphony.

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A symphony of extremes, it begins with primal drumming, proceeds through a choir, and ends with a violent storm.

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Subtitled the "Angel of Light", this mystical and meditative work is justly Rautavaara's most popular symphony.

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Kokkonen is one of the most famous Finnish composers after Sibelius, and his fourth is his best-known symphony.

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A student of Sallinen, he has written three symphonies.

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Leif Segerstam is one of the most prolific symphony composers, and to date he has written 220 symphonies.

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Madetoja followed in the romantic style established by Sibelius, and his third symphony is considered one of his finest works.

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Eero Hämeenniemi's music is inspired by Indian music, and other traditions from the Far East.

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