Karelia Suite

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The Karelia Suite, Op. 11, is a collection of orchestral pieces composed by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

The pieces in this suite are drawn from several independent works he wrote in 1893 for a patriotic historical pageant to be presented by students of the University of Helsinki in Viipuri, Karelia, in the south-eastern corner of Finland. Sibelius subsequently compiled a "Concert Suite" of three pieces from the pageant's incidental music (an overture was published separately as Op. 10).

In 1997, composer Jouni Kaipainen reconstructed the complete Karelia Music for the first time, and it has since been recorded and released on CD. It consists of an Overture and ten pieces, and runs about 44 minutes, as opposed to the suite, which lasts about twelve minutes.

The rough-hewn character of the music was deliberate: the aesthetic intention was not to dazzle with technique but to capture the quality of "naive," folk-based authenticity. Historical comment has noted the nationalistic character of the music.

The suite is scored for 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd doubling english horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 5 horn in F and E, 3 trumpets in F and E, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, string. Ralph Wood has commented on the role of the percussion in this composition.

The suite is in three movements:
  • Intermezzo, a jaunty Allegro march-like theme, depicting a......
  • ...

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