Based in Copenhagen, Andrew Mellor has long been fascinated by the music and musicians of the Nordic countries. In his new book, The Northern Silence, he examines how the distinctive culture – including its folklore, landscape, politics and Nordic noir mindset – continues to shape the region’s composers and musicians.
In this excerpt, which features a visit to Lahti in Finland, he discusses Sibelius’s composition of his Symphony No 5, and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, which hosts the internationally acclaimed Sibelius Festival. As Mellor attempts to define the introspective melancholy said to underpin the Nordic psyche, his references span Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen, Lars von Trier, Ingmar Bergman, August Strindberg and the Danish television series The Killing.
A Finnish find features as our Recording of the Month, plus Tognetti’s resounding Beethoven, Vänskä’s blockbuster Mahler and a perfect pairing of Whitwell and Withers.