Friday, April 18, 2008

A little note from Sibelius

From Alex Ross, "The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century" (New York: FSG, 2007)

The "swan hymn" -- the second movement of the fifth symphony came from this:

"The composer...recorded it in his notebook next to a description of sixteen swans flying in formation over his Ainola home.

'One of my greatest experiences!...Lord God that beauty! They circled over me for a long time. Disappeared into the solar haze like a gleaming, silver, ribbon..That this should have happened to me, who have so long been the outsider.'

The swans reapppeared three days later:

'The swans are always in my thoughts and give splendor to my life. It's strange to learn that nothing in the wole world affects me -- nothing in art, literature, or music -- in the same way as do these swans and cranes and wild geese. Their voices and being.'

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