Music for Freemasons
The seven symphonies are regarded as the main works of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Also the tone poems Satu, Lemminkäinen, Finlandia, Aallottaret (Oceanides) and Tapiola belong to the core works of his whole production. Unquestionably, into his main works belong also the following opuses for orchestra: Valse Triste, Rakastava Suite, Violin Concerto and music for the play The Tempest as well as the Opus 113 for organ, song and choir, also known as Musique Réligièuse.
Sibelius composed the main part of the Opus 113 i.e. his masonic ritual music in late 1926 and early 1927. Soon after began the famous "silence of Ainola" when Sibelius gave up publishing new compositions until the rest of his life. Gradually he also gave up composing with very rare exceptions such as the composition Surusoitto (Funeral Music) for the funeral of the famous Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1931 and as late as in 1946 the compositions Veljesvirsi (Ode to Fraternity) and Ylistyshymni (Hymn of Praise). Sibelius added the last two pieces to the Opus 113. These two were also the very last compositions of the great master. However, Sibelius still made some amendments and short additions to the Opus 113 in 1948 at the age of 82. He departed from this life at the age of 91.
Jean Sibelius’ Opus 113 is a priceless treasure for all Finnish freemasons and it is performed in every Finnish craft lodge meeting as an integral part of the masonic work.
The last two pieces in the recording, Sibelius’ compositions Impromptu, op. 5 and Intrada, op. 111, do not belong to the Opus 113, but due to their lofty spirit are often played at Finnish masonic occasions and are therefore included.