Author Topic: Missing Members  (Read 636547 times)

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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3040 on: November 24, 2020, 03:09:15 PM »
Hi Mike,

I know that I barely know you, but I still am sorry for your loss.  He sounds like he was a smart, sensitive and lovely person.  And, wow!  To be able to translate (and care about translating) Sibelius' diaries!  Impressive!  I don't know whether or not he committed suicide (you had mentioned that he had issues with depression) or if it was something else...or a long-term result of depression.  In any event, it's hard for those left behind.  I'm sure that he appreciated your friendship and the visits by you and your wife over the years....what a special friendship.  All the best to you and your wife and his family.

Warmest of wishes,

PD

Offline knight66

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3041 on: November 25, 2020, 12:17:07 AM »

PD, Thanks for your kind remarks. Juha died of a sudden illness. He had been in good contact right up to the point he suddenly took ill. Below I have copied across a post I made about a visit to the Sibelius house when Juha, known as Matti here, was in the midst of the translations.



The House of Sibelius July 2014

This piece relates a visit I recently made to the house of Sibelius. I visited with my friend Juha and his colleague Arja. They have been engaged to produce the first translation from Swedish into Finnish of the diaries of Sibelius.

When I visit Finland, outside of the cities I almost continually heard Sibelius in my head when I traveled about Finland. The air is so clean and the northern light is distinctive, the music catches the light here in a remarkable way.

The highlight of this year's visit to Finland lay just outside Helsinki. Juha and Arja wanted to visit the Sibelius house, to marinade in the atmosphere of the man who has preoccupied them for very many months. I enjoyed the visit a great deal; we were fortunate that there was almost no one else there to disturb the domesticity of the house. When Arja told the guide that she and Juha were translating the Sibelius diaries into Finnish for the 150th Anniversary, we got to see rooms that are off limits.

In the now off-limits upstairs study, where he did a lot of his composing, there are boxes and boxes of his Cuban cigars. He never composed at the piano, instead wrote his scores laboriously once the music was complete in his head. He makes reference in the diaries to having a ‘sore arse from composing’ and that whereas he loves tables for bottles and glasses and booze they support, he hates them as the site for his laborious work.

Standing in the kitchen we had a long discussion about the composer, very interesting; with me acting as Dr Watson, a not uncommon role for me, to two versions of Sherlock Holmes. The translation has been a huge undertaking and it has been fascinating to get some insights into the process. Although one generation back, Sibelius came from a very comfortable middle class professional background; he hoped that research into the deeper roots of his family would expose a more exalted lineage. However, it discovered that he came from a line of farmers. This seemed to cause much public and disconcerting comment, even ridicule. He had married into Russian aristocracy and his humble ancestors caused him a deal of embarrassment and insecurity. Juha obtained Swedish/Finnish dictionaries from 1903 and 1911. Even though Sibelius was still quite young then, he was deploying an older, more formal, style of language and word usage than was in those dictionaries. I guess this may have been a subconscious way of trying to bolster the respect of the community in which he felt undermined. Some parallels here with the insecurities of Elgar.

He insisted on a deep green glazed brick fireplace in the lounge; as that colour denoted a specific musical key, as did brown. Little has been changed, despite the family living in the house until the 1970s. Though, Juha asked about the dining set which to him looked somehow incongruous. The guide explained that it had been brought from the Helsinki apartment after Sibelius died.

It was also interesting to see how he lived very well for many years utterly without money. Sibelius lived largely off the generosity of patrons, money from his wife's aristocratic family, of Russian origin, and by obtaining loans and loans to pay loans. He produced piano exercises and small pieces he thought little of. The best known of them now is 'Valse Triste' which would on its own have kept him comfortably afloat in royalties had he not sold the piece for a pittance, copyright and all.

His main compositions did not enable him to live well. However, unlike Wagner, Sibelius kept a meticulous track of all the money borrowed and he tried to pay it back, there are lists of the loans in the diaries. It was only in the last 10 years of his life, when lauded nationally and internationally that he became wealthy, seriously wealthy. A great preoccupation of the writings is the lack of money. But even in seeming penury there was a housekeeper and a maid, suits from Paris, Cuban cigars by the box etc. The house is wonderfully comfortable in a down to earth way, one could move straight in and live happily in it.

All this in great contrast to the the nearby house of the painter Askeli Gallen-Kallela, a friend of Sibelius. His house is huge with high ceilings, large rooms and vast windows to ensure good light and roof beams made out of logs that had been dragged across the ice. Whereas Sibelius surrounded himself with large deep upholstered chairs and couches, Gallen Kallela designed his bare wooden furniture which looks exceptionally uninviting. The family must have sat stiffly or basically gone to bed in the hope of obtaining some comfort.

Latterly as Sibelius' knees gave out, he lived downstairs in a bedroom produced from the nursery and used the library; no longer writing in the tiny room next to the main bedroom upstairs, well, no longer writing music at al by that time. That upper study has evidence of one other composer, a painted bust of Beethoven. Sibelius played the violin, the battered case is lying there and his granddaughter presently uses the violin professionally. For the 150th anniversary she will make a recording in the house using that violin.

There is a Steinway grand piano in the drawing room, a birthday gift to him, over which tension arises as to whether it should be kept intact or the innards pulled out for display in Helsinki. As he almost never touched it and composed in his head, this kind of thing makes me roll my eyes. The house seems quite dark now, as there are mature trees close to it which block the light in a way that they would not have even 60 years ago. The garden is lovely and both Sibelius and his wife are buried under a large very plain stone in the garden. The outlook is into the woods in one direction and across fields in the other direction. Rather like Beethoven, he took long walks to work out his ideas and refers to them in the diary as growing like a baby inside him, not to be written down until arriving at full term.

He was a sort of manic depressive, perhaps bi-polar. One entry in the diaries has him relating how very closed in he is, he walks to no good end, then he sees a group of swans rising and flying right over his head. He watches them wheel in the air and fly away. His mood transformed, he suddenly has a piece ready to write, yes that very one. He could be petty and then berate himself for it, as he did after an entry where he suspects the staff, who were with him for over 30 years, were pilfering the housekeeping. He was aware of his defects and fought against alcoholism, being dry for well over a decade.

The diary was written for him and his wife only to read, so there are many entries that cannot really be fully understood and seemingly some where he was certainly drunk. Luckily, both Juha and Arija very much like the maddening, rambling, self doubting man they encounter in his fractured writings. Due to the private nature of them, the diaries were only published in Swedish, (Sibelius' mother tongue), in 2005. The musicologist who prepared the original publication and whose footnotes are encyclopedic is now over 80. But he has been eager to re-explore and update his notes for this edition and has seemingly made many changes arising from conclusions suggested by Juha.

Although I did not sense the music of Sibelius in his house, again when travelling and down at the lake where we stayed with Juha's family, my head was filled with it, and in the peace here I have mulled over and written about the visit my head loud with that music and keen to understand more.


...
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3042 on: November 25, 2020, 03:05:31 AM »
What a nice memory to have of your friend and your visit to Sibelius's house Mike.
Coincidentally, my brother and I visited Sibelius's house in 2013 (just after my sister-in-law died) also with my Finnish friend called Juha. We also stayed at Juha's summer cottage on a lake. As we arrived my brother and I both had the opening of Sibelius's 2nd Symphony going through our heads! In fact the scene looked rather like a typical Sibelius LP or CD cover. We also visited the home of Gallen-Kallela. Those are happy memories (apart from the Finnish obsession with the sauna - fortunately my brother and I were usually drunk by the time we were obliged to participate in this ritual). I see that even Sibelius had a sauna.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 03:18:27 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline knight66

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3043 on: November 25, 2020, 04:11:07 AM »
It is quite a shock to move from the comforts of Sibelius's house to the severe austerity of Gallen-Kallela’s I do enjoy his paintings and what an interesting life he had. I quite enjoyed sauna and we even did the twigs thing, but they were always covered with leaves and produced a very nice scent.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3044 on: November 25, 2020, 05:25:53 AM »
PD, Thanks for your kind remarks. Juha died of a sudden illness. He had been in good contact right up to the point he suddenly took ill. Below I have copied across a post I made about a visit to the Sibelius house when Juha, known as Matti here, was in the midst of the translations.

The House of Sibelius July 2014

This piece relates a visit I recently made to the house of Sibelius. I visited with my friend Juha and his colleague Arja. They have been engaged to produce the first translation from Swedish into Finnish of the diaries of Sibelius.


...
Mike,

Thank you so much for reposting this!  I found it to be fascinating reading.  And, wow, you were able to see off-limits rooms too!  It must have been wonderful to go to Ainola--especially with your then current company and friend.  I really want to visit there....someday.

Were they able to finish the translation?  Interesting to read about Sibelius using an older and more formal style of writing too; I'd imagine that that could have made it even more difficult to properly translate--to get the appropriate meaning and feeling.

As were going a bit off topic here, perhaps this should be moved over to the Sibelius thread?  Just a thought.

Best wishes,

Pohjolas Daughter

Offline knight66

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3045 on: November 25, 2020, 06:20:13 AM »
Hi, yes the diaries were published ok. He offered me a copy, but my Finnish is restricted to a bunch of nouns that we used on the island.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Iota

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3046 on: November 25, 2020, 08:11:49 AM »
Very sorry to hear about your loss, Mike, and about Juha's struggle with depression. Impressive that he was still able to complete the translations. RIP

And thanks very much for the post about your 2014 visit to Sibelius' house, which I found very interesting indeed. It gives a very personal insight into his life, and I certainly feel a little better acquainted with him for it.

Offline knight66

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3047 on: November 25, 2020, 09:01:50 AM »
Very sorry to hear about your loss, Mike, and about Juha's struggle with depression. Impressive that he was still able to complete the translations. RIP

And thanks very much for the post about your 2014 visit to Sibelius' house, which I found very interesting indeed. It gives a very personal insight into his life, and I certainly feel a little better acquainted with him for it.

Thank you for that.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3048 on: December 10, 2020, 06:44:16 PM »
I miss Sarge. :(
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline The new erato

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3049 on: December 10, 2020, 11:01:27 PM »

Offline Florestan

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3050 on: December 11, 2020, 04:17:24 AM »
He seems to have deleted his account.  :o Does anyone know why?
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Online Papy Oli

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3051 on: December 11, 2020, 04:41:23 AM »
Sarge's account is still there and he posted only last week...maybe he is just enjoying interests other than classical music for now.

Still, it would be a very good thing to see the Sarge in a Christmas hat again for this time of year  ;D

https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=profile;u=122
Olivier

Offline Florestan

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3052 on: December 11, 2020, 06:26:49 AM »
Sarge's account is still there and he posted only last week...maybe he is just enjoying interests other than classical music for now.

Still, it would be a very good thing to see the Sarge in a Christmas hat again for this time of year  ;D

https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=profile;u=122

Yes, mea culpa. I searched for *Sarge* in the member list instead of Sgt. Rock.  :D
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3053 on: December 11, 2020, 07:39:06 AM »
It’s good to know that Sarge didn’t delete his account, because that would’ve been a clear indication that he wasn’t coming back. I have a feeling when Sarge says he’s ‘done’ with something, he truly means it.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Online vandermolen

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3054 on: December 11, 2020, 09:35:08 AM »
Yes, Sarge responded to a question from me recently which was nice.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3055 on: December 11, 2020, 12:41:51 PM »
Yes, Sarge responded to a question from me recently which was nice.

Very good to hear, Jeffrey.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3056 on: December 11, 2020, 01:29:12 PM »


Sarge and the boys are still here...just quieter than they normally are.

the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3057 on: December 11, 2020, 01:30:09 PM »
 ;D Good to see you’re stilling hanging out, Sarge. 8)
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3058 on: December 11, 2020, 01:33:29 PM »
;D Good to see you’re stilling hanging out, Sarge. 8)

Thank you, John.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Missing Members
« Reply #3059 on: December 11, 2020, 01:43:13 PM »


Sarge and the boys are still here...just quieter than they normally are.



Yo, buddy!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot