Tag Archives: Jean Sibelius

On Creatively Misreading Peter Cole’s The Invention of Influence

Invention_of_Influence_300_448. . . thinking we know where we’re going and then
getting somewhere, despite our intention.

—Peter Cole, from Actual Angels

I was tempted into reading poet Peter Cole’s book, The Invention of Influence, by a review in Jacket2.  From the get-go, the signs augured that I’d be in well over my head. Cole is, among other things, “a translator of Hebrew and Arabic poetries, modern and medieval” [Jacket 2], about which I know nothing. But I was intrigued by the idea that his work with translation so powerfully informed his poetry—that Cole was, in this sense among others, a Pasternakian sponge:

[Cole] practices writing as a form of translation, as a “being between” fixed places, with the poet as a transponder, not an orator, a conduit, not a usurper.” [Jacket 2]

I don’t have “proper” receptors for understanding this book of poems, but I’m attracted by its ideas and methods and impelled to attempt to “make it mine.” Here are three examples of my admittedly peculiar process. Continue reading

When Sibelius’s Third Symphony Was New Music

Jean Sibelius, standing at the fireplace at Ainola (1907)

Jean Sibelius, standing at the fireplace at Ainola (1907)

After hearing my third symphony Rimsky-Korsakov shook his head and said: “Why don’t you do it the usual way; you will see that the audience can neither follow nor understand this.” And now I am certain that my symphonies are played more than his.
Sibelius to Jussi Jalas, 18th June 1940
Continue reading

My Year in Music, 2014

Contemporaneous "Living Toys" Concert at Roulette (David Bloom conducting)

Contemporaneous “Living Toys” Concert at Roulette (David Bloom conducting)

I’ve had a particularly memorable “year in music” this year. While I’ve listed a “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, this year-end post isn’t a “best of” list in the usual sense, but rather an opportunity to gather together the “best of” my musical experiences throughout the year. The post is divided into three sections: A “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, Live Performances, and Other Significant Music-Related Activities. Continue reading

Colors of the Day & Music of the Night

1 IMG_5780_edited-1

1 IMG_5775_edited-1I’ve been down in New York City the past few days. As marathoners on Fifth Avenue faced frigid winds, the maidens in the Central Park Conservatory Garden danced blithely amid chrysanthemums in bloom. Continue reading

In Aino’s Garden

View of the house at Ainola from Aino's garden

View of the house at Ainola from Aino’s garden

Love is a strange thing.

—Jean Sibelius to Aino Sibelius, 1892
[Tawaststjerna v. 1, Loc 2314-2326]

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to tell a tale about our visit to Ainola, where the Sibeliuses lived from 1904 until the death of Jean (1957, age 91) and Aino (1969, age 98). I’ve been flummoxed, though, about where to start. The thing is, there isn’t a single, straight-line narrative to be had. The story of Ainola isn’t a one story, but many, and even perspectives on the same strand of story conflict and multiply without cease. Continue reading