Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finlandia

At church this morning, we sung the song “Be Still, My Soul”.  The tune sounded familiar, and it was because it was also used for a song that I sang in church when I was a little kid: “A Christian Home”.

I sang “A Christian Home” in an Armstrongite church that I attended with my family.  It’s not a Dwight Armstrong hymn, though, but its words were written by Barbara Hart in 1916, before there even was an Armstrong movement.  I recall that, as a child, I would look at the lower part of the page, and I would see that “A Christian Home” was identified as a “Finlandia”, but I didn’t know what the heck that was.  Well, sure enough, this morning, when we were singing “Be Still, My Soul”, I noticed that it, too, was called a “Finlandia”.

I learned just now from wikipedia (see here and here) that the Finlandia was written in 1899 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.  It’s the music for “Be Still, My Soul” and “A Christian Home”, but also other hymns: “I Sought the Lord”, “We Rest on Thee”, “This Is My Song”, and “I Then Shall Live”.  It’s also been used for a national song of Finland, and as the national anthem for Biafra, which was in Africa. And my pastor (who is Welsh) would find this interesting (though he probably already knows this): the Finlandia is used for “A Prayer for Wales”.

To listen to the Finlandia, you can click on the “Be Still, My Soul” link at the beginning of this post, or here.  You can listen to the music while trying out some of the different hymns that go with it!

I don’t write too often about music, but I wasn’t in much of a mood to write a heavy theological write-up about church.  Plus, I enjoyed learning about the Finlandia.  I like the Finlandia, primarily because I think it sounds majestic, but it also is pretty.

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