Charles E. Burchfield in his own words Share Tweet

Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, December 8, 1940

Saturday, December 8, 2018

  Dec. 8. (Sun.)
An all Sibelius program by Toscanini last night, in honor of the composer’s birthday (which is today).
Symphony # 2 — Pohjola’s Daughter — The Swan of Tuonela — Return of Lemminkäinen — Finlandia.
Altho he played all of these superbly, the Swan of Tuonela affected me the most – (and he put new life into “Finlandia”

[Burchfield bracketed this next section in red pencil.]

After the concert I came out to the studio and wrote down the following: -
“Swan of Tuonela” — (as played by Toscanini – Dec. 7 – 1940)
The high quavering tones in the background — the elemental sounds of nature — the roar of a woods in November? — high tones from the Zenith looking north —?
(I think of the March days of 1917 — the telegraph harp out Ellsworth Rd. — North – coal mines – long level March sunlight over the bottoms — wet clay – blue clay gleaming in sunlight – sticky drip–drip–drip of water from the clay –)
As I wrote this a surge of home-sickness assailed — homesickness for my lost boyhood.
A Sibelius concert by the N. Y. Philharmonic today – but due to the national championship football game somewhere or other we could not get it – So I played the 5th & the 7th as our own celebration, while Martha, Mary Alice & Catherine knitted or worked on a bed-spread.
— Charles E. Burchfield, December 8, 1940