Erik Tawaststjerna embarked on his authoritative study of Sibelius in 1960, and it occupied him for over a quarter of a century. His book 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.
Translated by Robert Layton, himself a Sibelius specialist, this first volume (the first of three) takes us up to the period of the Second Symphony and the Violin Concerto, with perceptive and searching studies of the music including a number of early works, The Burning of the Boat, the Kullervo Symphony and the two versions of En Saga.
'A remarkable and deeply impressive book. The English text unquestionably succeeds in giving a subtle and scholarly rendering of a profound study of Sibelius and his music.' Economist
Erik Tawaststjerna (1916-93) devoted a lifetime to the study of Sibelius, and came to know him personally. After Sibelius's death in l957 he was given unrestricted access to the composer's papers. Tawaststjerna's three-volume study of Sibelius was awarded the prestigious Finlandia Prize and has been hailed as definitive.