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Marshall Walker in the RNZ studio.
Photo: Claúdia Pacce
This radio series takes the form of letters from Marshall Walker to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Walker was a retired Professor of English who lived in Hamilton, New Zealand. He grew up in Glasgow and at an early age he was hooked by the music of Sibelius. It became a lifelong passion.
These programmes recount episodes in Walker’s life and the powerful effect that Sibelius had in them – on Walker himself and on the members of his family. They were produced by Tim Dodd of RNZ Concert.
"The first thing that strikes you on the phone or on the radio is the voice. It’s tangy, it shoots you a bolt, but it warms you and makes you smile and it hints at mysteries of the soil and of Celtic… Read more
18 Jan 2013
The final of the series. Walker relates of his encounters with his boyhood hero, conductor, Ian Whyte. As a student, he has to banish the music of Sibelius until he finishes his degree. Later, he… Read more Audio
17 Jan 2013
Walker escapes dreary post-war Glasgow and emigrates to South Africa where he becomes involved in the anti-Apartheid movement. However he becomes gravely ill with encephalitis. As always, Sibelius is… Read more Audio
16 Jan 2013
Walker's mother informs him that Sibelius' music - especially the famous Valse Triste - was also important in her own family. We hear stories about Walker's grandfather and uncle, both of whom he… Read more Audio
15 Jan 2013
Walker tells of his early encounters with the music of Sibelius and how it helped him confront and overcome the ordeals of his childhood - poor eyesight and bullying - in wartime Glasgow.'The Fog and… Read more Audio
14 Jan 2013
Although the introduction to the series, in chronological terms this programme deals with the most recent events in Walker's life. In 1996, he made a pilgrimage to Finland to visit the places of… Read more Audio