Högtärade Maestro! Högtärade Herr Baron! [Correspondence between Axel Carpelan and Jean Sibelius,1900–1919]

17 December 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Högtärade Maestro! Högtärade Herr Baron! Korrespondensen mellan Axel Carpelan och Jean Sibelius 1900–1919
[My dear Maestro! My dear Herr Baron! Correspondence between Axel Carpelan and Jean Sibelius, 1900–1919]
Red. [Ed. by] Fabian Dahlström
Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 2010. 549 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-583-200-9
€40, hardback

‘For whom shall I compose now?’ wrote Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in his diary upon hearing of the death of his good friend Axel Carpelan (1858 –1919). Carpelan was a penniless baron, who considered music and his friendship with Sibelius to be the most vital aspects of his life. Using his natural-born talent and instinct, he gained acceptance as Sibelius’ trusted musical confidant, to whom the composer dedicated his second symphony. Axel came to be known by the wider public in 1986, when his great-nephew, the author Bo Carpelan, made him the protagonist of his award-winning novel entitled simply Axel. This volume, edited by Fabian Dahlström, contains the surviving Swedish-language correspondence between Sibelius and Carpelan, as well as letters to Sibelius’ wife, Aino. Carpelan wrote to her when the composer was too busy. These letters contain interesting details such as Aino Sibelius’ account of the origins of her husband’s violin concerto. The comprehensive foreword to this book sheds additional light on Carpelan’s life.

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