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On music and composition


Music is for me like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.
(JS, quoted by Jalmari Finne to Anna Sarlin, 28th June 1905)

If I could express the same thing with words as with music, I would, of course, use a verbal expression. Music is something autonomous and much richer. Music begins where the possibilities of language end. That is why I write music.
(Interview with Berlingske Tidende, 10th June 1919)

Never write an unnecessary note. Every note must live.
(Radio interview with Kalevi Kilpi, 1948)

The framework of a symphony must be so strong that it forces you to follow it regardless of the environment and circumstances: [it is] an "ethical necessity".
(To Jussi Jalas, 1st October 1939)

The symphony must always be internally compelling and inevitable.
(To Jussi Jalas, 8th January 1943)


Some misprints remain on my scores, because for some reason I have always been in a rush to get the proofs to the publisher by the deadline. In the orchestral parts everything has usually been corrected.
(To Jussi Jalas, 27th July 1942)

The present time has to a great extent liberated itself from symphonic form from formalism. This started when the concert halls became empty, because that form has nothing to do with human beings. I believe that the present time is progressing.
(To Jussi Jalas, 17th July 1943)