The Kalevala

            In 1835, Finnish physician and philologist Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) published the first version of the Finnish national epic, Kalevala. This collection contains stories based on authentic Finnish mythology and folklore texts sung by rune singers.[1] The Kalevala had a profound impact on Finnish Nationalism during a time Finland sought to build a national identity.[2] Characters and stories from this work have been adopted into theater and music, including art song. Jean Sibelius composed at least nine works based on the Kalevala, two of those works for solo voice “Kullervon Valitus” from Kullervo Symphony, op. 7, and Luonnotar, op. 70The text for Luonnotar, comes from the Kalevala’s prologue and is based on the Finnish mythological creation story. 


[1] Pentikäinen, Juha. Kalevala Mythology, p. 2

[2] Ibid, p. 221

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