The last quarter-century has seen musical talent bursting out of Finland, a country of only 5.3 million that, owing to ample public funding of music education, has produced a steady stream of great conductors, performers, and composers. Among the prominent composers are Aulis Sallinen, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen (who also conducts), and Magnus Lindberg. This week, conductor Sakari Oramo — another Finn — brought to the San Francisco Symphony a program that included Lindberg's 2007 tone poem Seht die Sonne (Behold the sun). Co-commissioned by the Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic, the work has already been performed in Berlin, New York, and Toronto. The summer solstice, especially given last week's blazing temperatures, might be the most auspicious time for the local premiere of a piece called Seht die Sonne. The title is an allusion to the radiant chorus that closes Schoenberg's immense Gurrelieder, but Seht die Sonne lies a great emotional distance from that chorus, being altogether grimmer and less conclusive. Scored for a big orchestra replete with winds, brass, many percussion instruments, and a pair of harps, it opens with a broad, majestic theme of massive solemnity, played by the horns over sustained notes in the strings. Throughout Seht die Sonne, sections of overwhelming orchestral density and volume alternate with lightly scored, rapidly moving sections dominated by the strings or woodwinds. Every now and again, a remarkable texture or solo emerges from the clamor, such as the rapid, repeated harp glissandos about a third of the way through, so sharply harmonized and percussive as to be worlds away from the stereotype of swooping, angelic harps. This is followed by a pounding timpani solo, then by a clacking multiplayer percussion riff over chromatically rising harmonies in the rest of the orchestra, somehow combining the bitter and the sweet at once. After this comes perhaps the greatest stroke in Seht die Sonne. The entire orchestra falls away, leaving only a solo cello playing a frantic cadenza that explores, and exploits, the full range of the instrument, including scurrying, haunted phrases in harmonics. The single cello — played magnificently by associate principal cellist Peter Wyrick — is slowly joined by the basses and the remainder of the cellos, in a long development incorporating echoes of the opening brass theme. The violins, violas, and woodwinds enter at staggered intervals, and eventually the percussion and brass. Seht die Sonne builds to a huge, syncopated climax, then calms, dying away quietly with yet another allusion to the opening, this time in the timpani. Special kudos are owed to timpanist David Herbert for brilliant work here and in the Beethoven that concluded the program, and to principal percussionist Jack Van Geem and his associates.