Thursday's Child: Sibelius Park, Helsinki

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You may not associate the country of Finland with music, but this is my second post about Helsinki, and they’ve both been on the topic of music.  (If you missed my story on Finnish bridal music, it’s here.) 

Helsinki’s best-known city park is Sibelius Park, named in honour of its renowned classical composer, Jean Sibelius.  His most popular piece of music, Finlandia, is a tribute to the pride and patriotism of the Finnish people. 

At the time the park was inaugurated, a competition was launched to build a memorial statue to him.  Hundreds of applications were submitted, and the winning one was designed by Eila Hiltunen.  Comprised of more than 600 hollow steel pipes welded together, it represents the essence of music rather than a particular instrument. (Although it resembles organ pipes, Sibelius didn’t write organ music).  Built in a wooded area, it’s also evocative of a forest, and harmonizes surprisingly well with its surroundings.


People either love the statue or hate it and, as it was being built, there were many more in the “hate it” camp.  After it was finished, there was so much outrage over the statue that a second one was added, responding to people’s concerns that a statue dedicated to someone actually depict what they looked like.  Because if any of us had a statue built in our honour, we’d want to be remembered like this:





27 comments:

Valerie said...

That's exactly how my head feels after wearing a headband for more than 2 hours.
The pipe structure is strangely beautiful! Does it make a noise when the wind passes through it?

nancy at good food matters said...

Very good, Beth! The primary sculpture has intriguing beauty, (and the other does not!)
The push-pull of contemporary art and conservative viewers never ends, anywhere, does it?

Beth said...

Valerie, it was a very calm day when we visited, but apparently when it's windy the sculpture makes a beautiful sound. I'm sorry I missed that!

Belinda said...

No, I guess you don't associate it! I missed this park! Looks awesome. Helsinki is the strange little awesome gem of a city.

Pam said...

I can't believe people didn't like the first sculpture... I think it's really cool!

Carol said...

I like the first sculpture, I thought of music and instruments, too, at first look. And the park was named for him. I guess you can't make everyone happy.

Claire Davis said...

I bet it sounds beautiful on a windy day. People are funny, have to say the first statue is a little more attractive!

Cucina49 said...

Wow, that's spectacular! I was just talking to someone yesterday about how the Nordic countries were on my wish list for my next trip.

Jeanne said...

What a unique statue! At first I thought it was a giant windchime, but I love the organ pipe reference too.

Rita said...

They both are very original,ultra modern and different. IT must be enchanting to hear that music. Should be here in Victoria, we have had Lots of wind this past month.
Rita

bakewithjill.com said...

Love the abstract one - it's so much nicer than the silver head!

Claudia said...

I love how art can inspire conversation (and controversy!). I like both - but the first fascinated. Interestingly, some school in Helsinki ordered one of my plays today. So I have had Helsinki "on the brain."

Barbara Jean said...

I only saw this from the bus, and I admit I hated it. Later I looked up the significance, and I'm sure I'd be much more impressed if I saw it with that knowledge. :)

julie said...

Yea, I'm not as sure about the headless horseman. I do like the first one though; it reminds me of an organ which, if it's supposed to represent a composer, seems to fit better with me. Honestly, I'd be more than excited to have the opportunity to see them both. Finland is on my list of places to see. :) Thanks for another great post Beth!

Julie said...

I love the first one, beautiful Another fascinating adventure.

Lizzy said...

LOL...yeah, I think statue #2 needs more help than #1. Hope to someday see it myself :)

Vicki Bensinger said...

Sounds like a great place to visit. I love the statue. It reminds me of a Dali!

Raina said...

Ha ha...yes that last one is strange. I think the first statue is so beautiful and unique. Art is subjective I guess:)

Asmita said...

Beautiful photographs!

Neesie said...

Jean Sibelius looks like he's not pleased with his likeness either, unless he just wasn't a happy man?
I much prefer the first tribute...and I'm sure the wind would make it even more impressive :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

You show us the most amazing pictures. Very impressive!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

looks cool love your travel posts

Pacheco Patty said...

This is one place I have to visit! Thanks for a wonderful inspiring post;-)

Angie's Recipes said...

The pipe one looks interesting and fun.

Elaine said...

Oh, my, that must be something to see. I just love the first sculpture.

Katerina said...

I don't know so much steel among woods makes music look very harsh, very strict. I would prefer something that would show how music calms our anger, how good it makes us feel!But still it is an experience to visit this park and see this monument!

sally said...

The statue looks pretty amazing to me. I immediately thought of an organ when I saw the first picture.

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