Listening to this piece, one can imagine in the mind's eye some ancient bard from the days of chivalry and romance singing and accompanying his timeless song (here conveyed purely through music, of course, rather than music and words).
This image is particularly strong at the opening of the work as we listen to the broad melody played by the harp. The plot takes a surprising turn early on: the music becomes restless and the strings' glissando motion thickens into clusters, over which the harp plays feverish patterns. There follows a dialogue between the harp and strings and the story continues to become more dramatic, with extreme alternations in dynamic from pp to ff, until dense chords from the strings soothe the situation and prepare the way for the epilogue. The music is characterised predominantly by motivic development and variation. Typical Rautavaarian symmetries are present in many places in the strings' harmonies and the harp's melodic progressions. Many of the musical sections are linked together by abrupt changes, which serves to lend a loftiness or epic air to the work.