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Fredrik Pacius

03 Pacius

Fredrik Pacius – born on 19 March 1809 in Hamburg, died on 8 January 1891 in Helsinki. German composer and conductor who lived most of his life in Finland, where he was actively participating in the creation of the Finnish music culture and earned epithet the “father of Finnish music”.


Pacius was appointed music teacher at the University of Helsinki in 1834. In Helsinki he founded a musical society, the student choir Akademiska Sångföreningen and an orchestra. In 1848 Pacius wrote the music to the poem “Vårt land” by Johan Ludvig Runeberg, which was to become Finland’s national anthem. Pacius’s music was also used for the Estonian national anthem “Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja room” and the Livonian national anthem “Min izāmō, min sindimō”.


In 1852 he composed “Kung Karls jakt” (The Hunt of King Charles) which was the first Finnish opera. The libretto, which was written by Zacharias Topelius in close collaboration with the composer, was written in the style of Romantic nationalism. Balancing between the influences of the Swedes and Russian, it was designed to convince Finland’s grand duke (i.e. the Russian Emperor Nicholas I) of the total loyalty of his subjects in Finland.
His compositions also include several other operas, a symphony, a violin concerto, a string quartet and some pieces of choral music.


Fredrik Pacius is a notable figure in the Livonian choral music as the composer of the anthem.


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