Jean Sibelius

Have You Courage? (Har du Mod?), (I) for male chorus & orchestra, Op. 31/2

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    This is a brief, bright, and stirring march song. In common with many of Sibelius' shorter pieces and patriotic items, it is in a straightforward musical style rather than the austere and often subtle style associated with his symphonic music.

    The text is by Josef Julius Wecksell (1838 - 1907) who, like Sibelius, was an ethnic Swede. Sibelius set several poems by Wecksell, culminating in this vigorous chorus with orchestra.

    The message of the Swedish language poem has some similarities to Rudyard Kipling's famous poem "If...in that it asks a youth if he has courage and a steady mind and spirit." Wecksell's poem also asks the youth to join his brothers, and so seems also to be an appeal for military enlistment.

    It is a brief song, depending on which version is performed. The original 1904 version clocks at about a minute and a half. It is for full orchestra, with a few short measures of introduction. The orchestra plays a strictly utility role, merely supporting the chorus. The march rhythm is pronounced, with strong drum and cymbal on the off-beats. The 1911 - 1912 revision makes the song somewhat less brusque in tone by adding a longer introduction in a gentler contrasting mood.

    Sibelius made several arrangements of it, and published it as one of his Three Songs for Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 31. However, in common with the other two numbers in that collection, it was written independently and was grouped with the others only for convenience.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2008 BIS 1433
    2007 BIS 1525
    2007 BIS 1906
    1994 BIS 314