Almost a quarter of Sibelius’s songs are settings of Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), the great Finnish poet writing in Swedish, and without doubt Sibelius’s favourite poet. The Opus 13 settings are all Runeberg and they come from the early 1890s: indeed, they were announced in the press as early as 1892, the same year in which he had scored his breakthrough with the Kullervo Symphony. They include Våren flyktar hastigt
(‘Spring is flying’), one of his most perfect miniatures whose flexible, pliable phrases suggest the transience of the seasons.
from notes by Robert Layton © 2002