Finns go wild over Sibelius’s unfinished bottle

Finns go wild over Sibelius’s unfinished bottle


norman lebrecht

November 16, 2022

We all know the picture of Jan Sibelius’s boozy lunches. According to one account, lunch could last for three days.

Look carefully at the Axel-Gallela protrait and you will see two bottles, one empty, the other obscured.

The restaurant has been going downhill for years, but they’ve had the uilders in and guess what they’ve found behind a false door.

Not Sibleius’s 8th symphony. Just the bottle that inspired it.

Finns are going wild with indifference.


  • Novagerio says:

    The painting “Symposium” by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (from 1894) shows the painter, Oskar Merikanto, Robert Kajanus and Jean Sibelius. The venue is Hotel Kämp in Helsinki. It used to be Sibelius’ favourite spot.

    • Concertgebouw79 says:

      I think there are two versions of the paiting with the same persons. Gallen was used to do that and he did I think two portaits alone of Sibelius (the En saga we used to see on record covers and a small one less famous).

  • alan says:

    Seriously, how do they know it’s THE bottle? Could be another one just like it. I am guessing builders did not also find a note from JS saying “this is the bottle that inspired the 8th symphonie” – unless it can be proven, who cares? Even then, it’s pretty small news, so the indifference is justified I would say.

  • Shibalias says:

    “Wot’s all the fuss abaht, then? Hic!” (To be read aloud in a drunken accent.)

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
    (BTW, Sibelius spelled his name “Jean”.)