FREDERIK PACIUS, the "father of the Finnish music"
(1809–1891) has been given the honorific ‘the father of Finnish music’,
due probably as much to his efforts as an organizer as to his work as a
He was born in Hamburg and studied in Kassel; his violin teacher was Louis Spohr. Before coming to Helsinki, he played violin with the Royal Court Orchestra in Stockholm. In Helsinki, he held the post of music teacher at the University from 1835 to 1867, but he also acted as an organizer in all manner of musical events. He organized orchestra concerts, often appearing as violin soloist himself, and great oratorio performances unprecedented in Helsinki.
Pacius’s roles as a composer and an organizer merged in the highly successful premiere of his principal work, the opera "Kung Karls jakt" (The eHunt of King Charles) in Helsinki in March 1852. The work reflects both German and Italian opera: Beethoven’s "Fidelio" and Weber’s "Der Freischütz" and "Oberon" on one hand, and Bellini, Donizetti and early Verdi on the other. "Kung Karls jakt" is, like "Fidelio", an opera of redemption with a plucky young heroine. It is scarcely a coincidence that Pacius’s heroine is named Leonora.
Pacius wrote another opera, "Die Loreley", based on German mythology, and a Singspiel entitled "Princessan af Cypern" (The Princess of Cyprus, 1860), which despite its Mediterranean title is based on a story from the Kalevala. "Die Loreley" was premiered in 1887 but has been completely overshadowed by "Kung Karls jakt". Pacius also wrote instrumental music and vocal works. His early works written in Germany include the Overture in E flat major and the string Quartet in E flat major, both written in 1826. While in Finland, hewrote the single-movement Violin Concerto in F sharp minor (1845), rhapsodic in form but idiomatically written, and a movement for a Symphony in D minor (1850). Pacius’s vocal output includes cantatas, choral songs and solo songs; he also wrote the song that became the Finnish national anthem, "Vårt land" (Our land, 1848). This and certain other patriotic songs have further strengthened his epithet, ‘the father of Finnish music’.
The first Finnish opera
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from Medieval to Modern