Finlandia hymn

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The Finlandia hymn (Finnish: Finlandia-hymni) refers to a serene hymn-like section of the patriotic symphonic poem Finlandia, written in 1899 and 1900 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was later re-worked by the composer into a stand-alone piece.[1]

With words written in 1940 by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi,[2] the Finlandia hymn is one of the most important national songs of Finland (though Maamme is the de facto national anthem).[3]

Other words commonly sung to the same melody include at least six Christian hymns including "Be still, my soul"; "I sought the Lord"; "We rest on Thee"; "A Christian Home"; "This Is My Song"; "I then shall live"; and possibly others, "Gweddi dros Gymru" or "A Prayer for Wales" (a national song of Wales), "Ambrosian Oaks" (the alma mater of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa), "Land of the Rising Sun" (the national anthem of the short-lived African state of Biafra), and "At Thy call we gather" (the alma mater of Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii). It is also serves as the music for Capital University's alma mater, "O Capital."

Finnish national song[edit]

After the success of the full-length symphonic poem (most of which consists of rousing and turbulent passages, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people), Sibelius published a stand-alone version of the hymn as the last of twelve numbers in his Masonic Ritual Music, Op. 113, with a text by opera singer Wäinö Sola. The version usually heard today has lyrics written by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi and was first performed in 1941. Sibelius himself arranged the hymn for choral performances.[4] Today, during modern performances of Finlandia in its entirety, a choir is sometimes involved, singing the Finnish lyrics with the hymn section.[5]

The de facto national anthem of Finland is Maamme (Our Land), but it has never been officially recognised. There have been numerous suggestions that the Finlandia Hymn should become the national anthem. However, Maamme is already so widely recognised and used that it would be difficult to dislodge it.[3]

Finnish lyrics:
Oi Suomi, katso, sinun päiväs koittaa,
yön uhka karkoitettu on jo pois,
ja aamun kiuru kirkkaudessa soittaa,
kuin itse taivahan kansi sois.
Yön vallat aamun valkeus jo voittaa,
sun päiväs koittaa oi synnyinmaa.

Oi nouse, Suomi, nosta korkealle
pääs seppelöimä suurten muistojen,
oi nouse, Suomi, näytit maailmalle
sa että karkoitit orjuuden
ja ettet taipunut sa sorron alle
on aamus alkanut synnyinmaa.

English translation:
Oh Finland, behold, thy daylight is dawning,
the threat of night has now been driven away.
The skylark sings across the light of morning,
like the firmament itself was chiming,
and now the day the powers of night is scorning:
thy daylight dawns, oh motherland!

Oh Finland arise, and raise towards the highest
thy head now crowned with mighty memories.
Oh Finland arise, for to the world thou criest
that thou hast thrown off thy slavery,
beneath oppression's yoke thou never liest.
Thy morning's come, motherland!

Christian hymns[edit]

Other words commonly sung to the same melody include at least seven Christian hymns, including "Be still, my soul"; "We rest on Thee"; "I sought the Lord"; "A Christian Home"; "This is my song"; and "I then shall live"; and "Gloria al Señor, ha llegado la Pascua"[citation needed]

"Be Still, My Soul"[edit]

The Christian hymn "Be still, my soul", written in German ("Stille meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen") in 1752 by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697–1768) and translated into English in 1855 by Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813–1897), is usually sung to this tune.[6] It begins:

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He, faithful, will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

"We rest on Thee"[edit]

The Christian hymn "We rest on Thee", written by Edith G. Cherry around 1895 is also commonly sung to the tune of Finlandia.

This hymn is also famous because it was the last hymn sung by the five missionaries involved in Operation Auca before their deaths and a line from the hymn's final verse provided the title for Elisabeth Elliot's book about that incident, Through Gates of Splendor. The hymn's first verse is:

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

"A Christian Home"[edit]

The Christian hymn "A Christian Home", written by Barbara Hart, is found in many Protestant hymnbooks and is sung to the tune of Finlandia.

Oh give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is head and counselor and guide;
Where ev-'ry child is taught his love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ the crucified:
How sweet to know that though his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

"I sought the Lord"[edit]

Calvinist Churches sing a version called "I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew", by an anonymous lyricist:

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew,
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me;
it was not I that found, O Savior true,
no, I was found, was found of thee.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found, was found of thee.

"Land of the Rising Sun" (national anthem of Biafra)[edit]

During Biafra's attempted secession from Nigeria, the tune of "Finlandia" was also adopted by Biafra for its National Anthem:

Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish,
Beloved homeland of our brave heroes;
We must defend our lives or we shall perish,
We shall protect our lives from all our foes;
But if the price is death for all we hold dear,
Then let us die without a shred of fear.

"This is my song"[edit]

In 1934, Lloyd Stone wrote "This is My Song", a text that appears in many hymnals.[citation needed]

Other hymns[edit]

An older version from Unitarian Universalists:

We would be one as now we join in singing,
Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew.
To that high cause of greater understanding
Of who we are, and what in us is true.
We would be one in living for each other,
To show to all a new community.

We would be one in building for tomorrow
A nobler world than we have known today.
We would be one in searching for that meaning
Which binds our hearts and points us on our way.
As one, we pledge ourselves to greater service,
With love and justice, strive to make us free.[7]

Cedar Grace, set to the tune of Finlandia:

The pleasant trees and silver, rippling waters,
the flow'rs and clouds, the un-dimmed, sunlit sky
and bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take of thy so rich supply.
And bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take from thy so rich supply.

A verse by Josh Mitteldorf, for difficult times:

When nations rage, and fears erupt coercive,
The drumbeats sound, invoking pious cause.
My neighbors rise, their stalwart hearts they offer,
The gavels drop, suspending rights and laws.
While others wield their swords with blind devotion;
For peace I'll stand, my true and steadfast cause.

From The Salvation Army:

Thou art the way, none other dare I follow...
Thou art the truth, and thou hast made me free.
Thou art the life, the hope of my tomorrow
Thou art the Christ who died for me.
This is my creed, that 'mid Earth's sin and sorrow
My life may guide men unto thee.

A hymn recorded by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

On great, lone hills, where tempests brood and gather,
Primeval Earth, against primeval sky,
We, faring forth, possessed by fervent longing,
Have found a throne, eternal and high,
Have knelt at last in wordless adoration,
Till fire and whirlwind have both gone by.

With ardent song we greet the golden morning.
By faith upborne, remember not the night.
The whole wide world, triumphant hails the dawning.
God walks abroad in garments of might,
The hills, behold, are now a path of splendor,
Transfigured all, and all crowned with light.

The combined Brigham Young University Men's Choirs sang the following at the end of April 2007 Priesthood Session of the LDS Church's 177th Annual General Conference. The words are paraphrased from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 4:16-35, often referred to as "The Psalm of Nephi",[8]

I love the Lord, he gives my soul delight
Upon His word I ponder day and night.
He's heard my cry, brought visions to my sleep
And kept me safe o'er deserts and the deep.
He's filled my heart with His consuming love,
And borne me high on wings of His great dove.

Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin.
Rejoice, my heart! And let me praise again
The Lord my God, who is my rock and stay
To keep me strict upon His straight, plain way.
O let me shake at the first sight of sin
And thus escape my foes without and in.

Band covers[edit]

The symphonic metal band Nightwish played Finlandia in their Dark Passion Play tour, featuring Troy Donockley on the uilleann pipes.

The band Indigo Girls frequently performed "This is my song", the Lloyd Stone version. It is included on their 2005 album Rarities.


  1. ^ "Hymn Tune Finlandia". Hymnary.
  2. ^ "Finlandia". Finlandia.
  3. ^ a b ""Maamme" (Our country), brief history of the Finnish national anthem". Europeana Sound.
  4. ^ Arnold, Elliott. Finlandia: the story of Sibelius. H. Holt and Company, 1941.
  5. ^ Schwarm, Betsy. "Finlandia, Tone Poem For Orchestra By Sibelius". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Be Still, My Soul". Cyberhymnal. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  7. ^ Words by Samuel Anthony Wright, ©1933, renewed 1961 by Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, as published in Singing the Living Tradition #318 (Boston: Beacon Press, ©1993 by the Unitarian Universalist Association)
  8. ^ "I Love The Lord" – TTBB, copyrighted by John S. Tanner and arranged by Ronald Staheli, Sonos Music Resources Inc.

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