wed 24/07/2024

At home with Jean Sibelius | reviews, news & interviews

At home with Jean Sibelius

At home with Jean Sibelius

One of the most unforgettable times of my life

It will remain one of the most unforgettable times of my life - the privilege of spending four hours alone with the curator in the house of Jean Sibelius outside Helsinki, deep in a snowbound March scene.

In fact, I just couldn't stop writing about it once the initial commissions had been put to bed, so vivid had the impression been that the composer might walk into the room at any moment. Slowly, the images of the composer working or relaxing at home, sometimes in the company of his long-suffering but devoted wife Aino, are coming to light. Now the film company Aho & Soldan has produced a book of 50 photographs punctuated by essays.

More extraordinary still is that you can see (via the link below to the relevant page on a Finnish Broadcasting Archive website) the six minutes of home movies from which the photographs were taken, accompanied by a soundtrack of Sibelius's music. Since the two years covered are 1927 and 1945, we don't encounter the composer in his dashing, Bohemian youth. But it's a surprise to see the impassive face of many an image so mobile in conversation - and, of course, usually puffing away at his beloved cigars. The 1927 film, especially, is clearly made by a master of landscape cinematography. Don't be put off by the unintelligible Finnish - just press the start button on the film and enjoy.


David, THANK YOU for the Sibelius clip. Sheer gold dust. All best from Moscow, nick

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