Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jean Sibelius: Finland's Greatest Composer

After you start the video you can scroll down while listening. 
Jean Sibelius was born in 1865 and died in 1957.   He lived for over fifty years with his wife Aino in a lovely home some 30 miles north of Helsinki.  It is named Ainola after her and today is a pilgrimadge destination for music lovers from all over the world.  The grounds seem to evoke an almost cathedral like reverence.  Wildflowers carpet the paths. The predominant sounds come from the wind blowing through the trees and the calls of birds. It seems a fitting home space and resting place for a composer who spent a full life turning the sights and sounds of his native land into music.  

You reach his home from the modern visitor center on a winding path through the woods

Wildflowers line your way as you approach the house


Ainola is nestled on the brow of a hill among the trees. There is a nice open view from the living room window. 

Personal photography is not allowed inside the home, but I was able to reproduce a shot of the living room from a postcard I purchased. You can see the front window on the left of the frame. Sibelius' piano is in the rear center.

Nearby in the grounds there is an outbuilding

 that contains a bathroom,                                                         a laundry

                                                                         and a sauna.

There's a large woodshed that is still filled to the brim.  It is easy to forget how much wood would have been needed to heat a home through the long Finnish winters.  

A little further on is the shaded gravesite of Sibelius and his wife

Jean Sibelius and his wife Ainola around the time of their marriage


The gravestone

When you arrive here you can scroll back up and listen to the rest of the piece or just go on your way.
I'll be back to take you to Porvoo  in a few days.

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