’Wide-spread they stand, the Northland’s dusky forests,
Ancient, mysterious, brooding savage dreams:
Within them dwells the Forest’s mighty God,
And wood-sprites in the gloom weave magic secrets.’
Jean Sibelius, preface to Tapiola
Nowhere in music are the landscape, myths, legends and politics of a composer’s country so inextricably hard-wired into his sound world as in the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957).
The vast pine forests, lakes and rivers of Finland, the midnight sun, the endless winter nights, the penetrating cold, and the brief warm summers combine, along with the epic national poem The Kalevala to provide a rich vein for Sibelius to exploit in his unique Symphonic Poems and his seven symphonies.
From the early En Saga of 1891, via Finlandia to the vast, shattering experience of Tapiola of 1926 his unique musical voice became the voice of the new Finnish nation emerging from centuries of domination by Sweden and Russia.
This 3 album set contains all the symphonic poems, including The Four Legends (The Swan of Tuonela is the second of these), the famous Finlandia, and the masterful Pohjola’s Daughter, the mysterious Oceanides and Luonnotar, and the final last symphonic work Tapiola. After completing this work, Sibelius lived another 31 years in musical silence, completing and destroying his 8th Symphony.