Photo: Christian Steiner


 Thea Musgrave


Song of the Enchanter
(1990) For orchestra
Duration: 6'
Commissioned by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra to honour the 125th anniversary of Sibelius's birth

World Premiere: 14 February 1991
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
James Loughran, conductor

Publisher:  Novello & Co Ltd

Critical Acclaim:

Played before the Symphony (Sibelius' fifth) it seemed designed as a prelude, poised on ambiguous preparatory harmony and restless watery ripples. It illustrated the Kalevala story of a hero whose tears fall into the sea and are transformed into pearls...
— Raymond Monelle, The Independent

Composer's Note:

This short work, written in the winter and spring of 1990, was commissioned by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra to honour the 125th anniversary of Sibelius' birth. It is based on an episode from the Kalevala, the great Finnish epic, where Väinämäinen, the hero-God, has fashioned a magical five-stringed instrument from the bones of a giant pike. Orpheus-like, he plays upon it and enchants the people. All listen and all weep, their hearts melted. Even Väinämäinen weeps and his tears 'bigger than cranberries' fall into the clear waters of the deep blue sea. A sea bird dives down to retrieve his tears — they have ripened into pearls.


Song of the Enchanter
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Sergiu Comissiona, conductor
Ondine ODE 767-2

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