Jääkärimarssi

March of the Finnish Jäger Battalion


3B2.mp3 = Original version
YL Male Voice Choir, Matti Hyökki, cond.; Folke Gräsbäck, piano

At the University festivities on 19th January 1918 Sibelius's March of the Finnish Jäger Battalion was performed in public for the first time, which identified Sibelius strongly with the White faction within Finnish politics. Even if the composer's name was not mentioned in the manuscript of the march, his authorship was already widely known, and was mentioned in the newspapers the following day.

The omission of the composer's name probably had financial reasons. It has been assumed that the composer wanted to keep it outside his contract with Breitkopf & Härtel, and thereby to direct any income from the piece to the Jäger movement. This explanation is nevertheless contradicted by the fact that Sibelius sent a piano arrangement of the piece to his publisher.

Fridolin's Folly


3B1.mp3 = Fridolin’s Folly (02:27)
Akademiska Sångföreningen, Henrik Wikström, cond.

Foodstuffs were in very short supply in Finland in 1917 and 1918, and in the spring of 1918 Sibelius lost 20 kg in weight. Two of his works for male choir, Fridolins dårskap (Fridolin's Folly) and Jone havsfärd (Jonah's Voyage), were written as payment for food.

With the first of these songs Sibelius paid for a leg of lamb that the architect Torkel Nordman had managed to acquire on the black market. To be sure that the package would reach Ainola, Norman ingeniously packed the meat in a violin case (in Swedish a leg of lamb is a "fårfiol" – literally a "lamb violin"), so the package addressed to the composer did not arouse suspicion.

With the song Jone havsfärd Sibelius thanked Nordman for a package of lampreys. This song became an unexpected hit with male-voice choirs. Even Sibelius himself was surprised, as he regarded the piece as more of a joke: Jone havsfärd is a variant – distorted into a drinking song – of the Bible story of how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale.