The Origin of Fire
|The Origin of Fire|
|Cantata by Jean Sibelius|
The composer in 1904, by Albert Engström
|Native name||Tulen Synty|
|Performed||9 April 1902|
The Origin of Fire (Tulen Synty), Op. 32, is a cantata composed by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and premièred on 9 April 1902 at the opening of the National Helsinki Theatre, conducted by the composer. It was later revised in 1910. The idea behind the cantata is taken from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. Some of the sketches for the piece can be related back to 1893/94.
Originally scored for baritone, men's chorus and orchestra, the piece begins sombrely with the soloist narrating the first part of the story:
The land of Kalevala is in darkness because the Mistress of Pohjola has captured the sun and the moon and stolen fire from Kalevala's homes. Ukko, chief of the gods, searches for them in vain.
The second part is faster and has the story taken up by the choir. In this Ukko creates new fire and entrusts it to the Maiden of the Air, who drops it.
Andrew Barnett, in the same article as above, says:
It would be easy to apply an allegorical interpretation to this Kalevala text. Finland under Russian rule could be said to be experiencing perpetual darkness – reason enough for the Finnish people to emulate Ukko and seek out new light.
In 1953, the piece was recorded by Remington Records in an early stereo recording by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thor Johnson, with baritone Sulo Saarits and the Helsinki University Chorus. The recording was reissued by Varèse Sarabande.
- "Works for choir and orchestra / The Origin of Fire". Jean Sibelius. Finnish Club of Helsinki. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- Andrew Barnett (2007). Sibelius. Yale University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-300-11159-2.