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Erik Tawaststjerna embarked on his monumental and acclaimed study of Jean Sibelius’s life and music in 1960 and it occupied him for over a quarter of a century. His study differs from other work on the composer in one important respect: he had unrestricted access to the composer’s papers, diaries and letters as well as the advantage of numerous conversations with the composer’s widow and other members of the family. Thus his researches can justifiably claim to have thrown entirely fresh light on the great Finnish composer. Far from the remote personality of the Sibelius legend, Sibelius emerges as a highly colourful figure.
This second volume covers the crucial period from 1904 and the beginning of the Third Symphony through to the outbreak of the First World War ten years later. During this period Sibelius began keeping a diary which, together with his letters to his wife, Aino, and to his friend, Axel Carpelan, helped the author give us a day-by-day, intimate account of the turbulent years that saw the gestation and completion of many of his finest works, culminating in the Fourth Symphony.
Translated by Robert Layton, himself a Sibelius specialist, this is a compelling and insightful account of the music of one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers.
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