During the 1914-18 war Sibelius was cut off from his income, and composed an abundance of miniatures including four sets of songs, Opp. 72, 86, 88 and 90, the latter to Runeberg texts. The first of the Opus 90 set is the most celebrated of the group: Norden
(‘The North’), as in all the nature poetry of Runeberg, touches a special vein of inspiration in the composer. A steady, gentle syncopated figure is sustained throughout and serves to focus attention on the changing harmonies and the eloquent vocal line.
from notes by Robert Layton © 2002