Lahti orchestra embraces technology for online Sibelius celebration

More than 60 Sinfonia Lahti musicians took part in recording their own parts for Sibelius' iconic piece Finlandia, and then each video was stitched together to form a whole orchestra.

Sinfonia Lahti musicians record Sibelius' Finlandia for YouTube / Credit: Sinfonia Lahti

More than 60 Finnish classical musicians have joined together online – but remotely – to record a coronavirus-inspired version of the Sibelius classic Finlandia.

Sinfonia Lahti recorded the new version last week, and it’s already become a YouTube hit.

“We have made really many recordings, and Finlandia is a wonderful piece, a statement of please let us be here in our beautiful Finland with this virus, and so it’s like a prayer for the whole Finnish people that everybody could be in a safe place” explains Concert Master Maaria Leino.

“But it’s also because for orchestras, it’s really difficult to work now. The situation is difficult so it’s nice to do something meaningful for other people and people have reacted! It’s nice to have this music coming when everyone is in self isolation. It’s really important for the public!” she tells News Now Finland.

The technical aspect of putting together the performance was probably the most strange aspect for the musicians, who had to record themselves at home on their mobile phones, while listening to a tick-tock sound in lieu of conductor, and a piano  backing track to ensure they were playing along at the right time.

The final piece, when mixed together by sound engineers, was something rather special.

“I was amazed a little bit because when i was listening to my part in my phone it was terrible, because it’s a very small loudspeaker. But the result of the whole thing was amazing for me” says Eero Munter, the Principal Double Bass player who’s been with the orchestra almost 40 years.

“I think it was a very nice experience for me and everybody else. We really wanted to show something that we can still work, even if we don’t have a whole audience. For musicians, you can’t stop playing. It’s just not possible. And this was the way to get something done” he says.

The Sinfonia’s new version of Finlandia has already been viewed more than 90,000 times since it was uploaded on Friday, and double bassist Eero Munter says he really didn’t think so many people would watch it, and enjoy the performance.

“It’s amazing! I didn’t expect anything like this! I thought we would get something like two thousand, three thousand views but now it’s something different, so maybe there’s a place for a performance like this” he says.

“Finlandia is played at the beginning of the Unknown Soldier film, so it’s deep in our Finnish souls. We are fighting hard now, the whole society and all the people, and that’s the key partly for the performance’s great success.”



You might also be interested in: