Other orchestral works

The Lover

Rakastava (The Lover), cycle for male choir. 1. Miss’ on kussa minun hyväni, 2. Eilaa, eilaa, 3. Hyvää iltaa lintuseni, 4. Käsi kaulaan, lintuseni. Words from Kanteletar. Completed 1894. Arrangement for male choir and string orchestra 1894, arrangement for mixed choir 1898. (See also orchestral works op. 14.)

Op. 14 Rakastava (The Lover) for string orchestra:
1. Rakastava, 2. Rakastetun tie, 3. Hyvää iltaa - jää hyvästi. Completed 1912. Based on the earlier work for male choir; first performance in Helsinki, 29th March 1912 (Orchestra of Helsinki Philharmonic Society under Jean Sibelius).

For Sibelius the years 1911-1912 showed a dichotomy. On the one hand, he completed a great masterpiece, the fourth symphony – a work which involved a substantial change in style and baffled his contemporaries. On the other hand, he arranged for orchestra several works dating from the 1890s. The tableau music for the Days of the Press gave rise to Scènes historiques I. From the Rakastava piece for male choir (1894) he prepared a delightful and deeply-felt suite for string orchestra.

It was the first movement that gained most from the revision. Here, Sibelius's writing for strings is full of lightness and beauty. In the second movement the choir part was modified with amazing flexibility into murmurs on the strings and wonderfully flexible melodic progressions. The third movement retained the deeply affecting emotional qualities of the earlier piece.

The composer noticed that he had created a piece that captivated audiences, and he often conducted The Lover between his symphonies, up until the 1920s.