The Second Symphony quickly became one of Jean Sibelius' most popular compositions. With its easy-to-remember melodies, its initially pastoral and finally almost heroic character, this works seems to be a counter-proposal to the harsh and hermetic Fourth Symphony. The first and third movements owe their bright and friendly colours to Sibelius' stay in Italy in 1901, during which a large part of the symphony was written. The melancholy of the slow movement, on the other hand, could be related to the oppressive situation in Finland, which was then still under Russian rule. Finnish critics, in particular, did not hesitate to draw a parallel between the symphony's mood curve and the political situation: happy past - lamenting the present - rebellion - liberation. Before the country's independence (1917), such interpretations were frequent and up to 1945, the Second Symphony was referred to as "Finland's Fight for Freedom". But as is so often the case with Sibelius, the matter is more complicated. The composer himself admitted that he had been artistically inspired by the South and that this source of inspiration flowed into his new work: he had become "a completely different person in this beauty and warmth", he wrote during his stay in Rome. On the other hand, his private life was still full of contradictions. His growing artistic success was offset by financial worries, while the support offered by his family was overshadowed by his daughter Ruth's dangerous typhoid fever. Politically, Sibelius was, of course, an advocate of the Finnish cause, but he did not allow himself to be instrumentalised. Although all these different experiences left their mark on the Second Symphony, it is indeed an autonomous work that tells its very own story.