Friday, September 20, 2013

The Swans of Ainola

"On the 20th of September in 1957, Jean Sibelius died. His 5th symphony was performed in Helsinki the same day. It had been his most beloved, and the one reminding him of 'a struggle with God'. The swans that had appeared to him while watching the sky in Ainola's garden gave a name to the main theme of the third movement, while he was still composing. There are two versions of the 5th symphony, and there are years between the first and the last. The famous Swan Theme is included in both of them, but while the original one is longer, the final version imitates the flight of those mythic birds in a more beautiful way." -A note written and originally published in 2007

"I visited Ainola X.X.X.X years ago for the first time, and as some people have been joking at my expense, in all honesty have to admit I was moved to tears while standing in the garden and looking at the sky. The remembrance of the swans had stayed there and it approached me. Was this because I had somehow wanted it? I did not see them with my eyes, but I could feel them - written into that place's memory. Sibelius is among the three most important composers for me. I could listen to his symphonies without an end. And I still see the nature-mythic spiritual Finnish landscape when I hear that music."

Also, on the 20th of September, 1913, the laying of a certain foundation stone.