Pacius, Friedrik



Called "The father of Finnish music," though a native of Hamburg. He was a pupil of Spohr and Hauptmann, and on emigrating from Germany was for some time Court violinist at Stockholm. In 1834 he went to Finland to become master of music at Helsingfors University, where he remained until his death. From limited resources he organized at the capital a symphony society in 1845, and a singing society in 1848, and stimulated a taste for good music by presenting the works of the great masters. He was a talented composer as well as violinist, and his works, though not essentially national in themselves, are the foundation of the national music of Finland. His Rung Carl's Jagt (King Carl's Hunt), the first Finnish opera, was given at Helsingfors in 1852. It was also given at Stockholm for the coronation of Charles XV., and was taken into the regular repertory of the Royal Theatre there. He also composed a singspiel, Die Princessan von Cypern (The Princess of Cyprus); the cantatas, Weihe der Tone and Porthan Cantata; a Fantasia, and concerto for violin; Kvarnsangen; Miriam's Siegiesang; and patriotic song, among them the national hymn Vartland (Our Country) to Runeberg's poem, first sung at the Students' May Festival in 1848; Suomis* Song, Soldatgassen (The Soldier Boy); and Fridsboner (The Prayers for Peace). His music drama, Lorelei, was not presented till 1887.