Programmes for the 2019 BBC Proms season have been announced. For Sibelius enthusiasts the season is notable for including a rarity of exceptional importance: the four-movement 1915 version of the Fifth Symphony.
Sibelius is represented at the following concerts:
Wednesday 31 July 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 17 Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – Suite Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons Lisa Batiashvili, violin Seats £18 to £72 (plus booking fee)
Saturday 3 August 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 20 Violinist Pekka Kuusisto traces the evolution of Finland’s classical tradition, from improvised folk beginnings to the sophisticated brilliance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. The concert closes with the rarely heard original version of the Fifth Symphony. Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 (original version, 1915) Pekka Kuusisto, violin Taito Hoffrén, Ilona Korhonen, Minna-Liisa Tammela, singers Vilma Timonen, kantele; Timo Alakotila, harmonium BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard Seats £7.50 to £41 (plus booking fee)
Tuesday 6 August 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 25 Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite Mieczysław Weinberg: Cello Concerto Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, ‘Pathétique’ BBC Symphony Orchestra / Dalia Stasevska Sol Gabetta, cello Seats £9.50 to £52 (plus booking fee)
Sunday 8 September 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 67
Modest Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain (orch. Rimsky-Korsakov) Louis Andriessen: The Only One Judith Weir: Forest Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 (final version, 1919)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Srkari Oramo Nora Fischer, singer
Seats £7.50 to £41 (plus booking fee)
A new addition to the Sibelius One website is Sibelius Reconsidered, presenting papers from the Fifth International Jean Sibelius Conference, held in September 2010 in Oxford, UK. Included here are in-depth articles by leading scholars on Sibelius reception, analyses and sketch studies of his works, discussions of his position in the early 20th-century music as well as his relationship to the political events of his time.
The papers may be downloaded free of charge.
Authors who have contributed papers are: Barry Wiener; Ilkka Oramo; Timothy L. Jackson; Veijo Murtomäki; Antti Vihinen; Folke Gräsbeck; Tim Howell; Marc Vignal; Mart Humal; Sakari Ylivuori; Ron Weidberg; Timo Virtanen; Colin Davis; Tuija Wicklund; Nors S. Josephson; Olli Väisälä; Les Black; Kerri Kotta
A concert focusing on Sibelius’s music for violin and piano will be given at Cedars Hall, Wells Cathedral School, on Sunday 5 May 2019 by two of Britain’s outstanding recitalists, Fenella Humphreys and Joseph Tong.
Described in the press as ‘alluring’ and ‘unforgettable’, Fenella Humphreys is one of the UK’s most established and versatile violinists. The award-winning British pianist Joseph Tong enjoys a busy and varied career as soloist, duo pianist, chamber musician, festival director and teacher. Both have wide experience of performing the music of Sibelius, which they have recorded to great acclaim.
Works by Sibelius share the programme with the lush mysticism of Rautavaara and Arvo Pärt’s famous, breath-catching meditation on reflection, Spiegel im Spiegel.
The concert is sponsored by Sibelius One and will also be recorded for issue on CD.
The first CD release in what will be a complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies has been announced by the Grand Philharmonic Symphonic Society Orchestra of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted by Kim Tik-tok.
The orchestra is newly established and is only the second large orchestra of Western style in North Korea, alongside the State Symphony Orchestra of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The first disc will include Symphony No. 2. To quote a press release: ‘Grand Philharmonic Symphonic Society Orchestra of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea makes known to all dongmu in People’s Republic for the first time music of Finnish SIBELIUS Jean-Christian-Julius. Sibelius is in Finland very famous. His Second Symphony is a revolting work, Finnish people against Russia.’
A collection of poetry by the award-winning poet, critic, editor and teacher (and Sibelius One member) John Greening that concentrates on Jean Sibelius and his struggle with the Eighth Symphony is to be published by Carcanet.
The title poem is a meditation on Sibelius and the thirty years he spent grappling with an eighth symphony that he eventually burned. The poem is emblematic of a broader concern with the mystery of the creative process, explored in the work of other artists but also grappled with first-hand, in the composition of poems.
Death, that most emphatic of silences, is a recurring theme; but so too is the bright potentiality of the unknown, the beyond. Greening visits the Peak District, the Ancient Egypt of Nebamun, Sibelius’s Finland and the vanished settlements beneath Heathrow Airport, listening to the strange music each place contains.
Sibelius One members are planning a group visit to the Sibelius Festival that is being organized by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2019, at de Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam, on 17–19 May 2019.
Jukka-Pekka Saraste will conduct the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the two orchestral concerts, with soloists Helena Juntunen (soprano) and Pekka Kuusisto (violin). Jukka-Pekka Saraste will also appear as a guest speaker.
Works performed at the orchestral concerts are Symphonies Nos 1, 3 and 4, Finlandia, the Humoresques for violin and orchestra, Luonnotar and Höstkväll.
Additional concerts include a song recital by Helena Juntunen with pianist Eveliina Kytömäki, and a chamber performance that features Pekka Kuusisto (violin), Heini Kärkkäinen (piano), Ilona Korhonen (vocals) and Pauliina Syrjälä (kantele), and combines music for violin and piano by Sibelius with Finnish folk music.
Tickets are selling fast for the festival so members who wish to attend are adivsed to buy a passepartout which gives access to all concerts and is 20% cheaper than separate tickets. Click here to purchase.
Since there is no concert on Saturday, we are considering trip a to Amsterdam on that day to see the sights. That evening’s concert in the Concertgebouw features music by Shostakovich, Bartók and a world première violin concerto by Dutch composer Robin de Raaff. Details: click here.
Accommodation choices in Rotterdam are plenty. We suggest waiting a little before booking until we know how many Sibelius One people will attend, so we can all stay in the same hotel.
Sibelius One’s contact person for this visit is Rob Ebbers who can be contacted by clicking here.
Karita Mattila and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra will be among the guests at the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 20th International Sibelius Festival, which will take place on 5–8 September 2019, with most events taking place at the Sibelius Hall. The thematic concepts for this jubilee festival are songs and stories, and the festival’s artistic director is Dima Slobodeniouk, principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra will perform on Thursday 5 September and Saturday 7 September under Slobodeniouk’s baton. The Saturday orchestral concert stars soprano Karita Mattila. One of Finland’s most successful artists, Mattila will interpret a selection of Sibelius’s songs, and among the purely orchestral works in the concert is the tone poem En saga. At the festival’s opening concert on Thursday the orchestra will perform Kullervo, with soloists mezzo-soprano Marjukka Tepponen and baritone Tommi Hakala and the Polytech Choir.
Guests at this jubilee festival are the
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. This orchestra, with its impressive
history of Sibelius performances, will perform at the evening orchestral
concert on Friday 6 September under the renowned Danish conductor Thomas
Dausgaard. This is the orchestra that premièred Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony in
Stockholm in 1924 under the baton of the composer, and Sibelius conducted the
orchestra on seven occasions in total. At this concert we shall hear the
composer’s Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. The Royal Stockholm
Philharmonic Orchestra’s appearance at the Sibelius Festival is made possible
by financial support from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.
As an innovation at this year’s
festival, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra will also perform a concert named ‘Dive
into the Orchestra’, where the audience can
experience the music while sitting within the orchestra itself. This will take
place in the Forest Hall at the Sibelius Hall on the afternoon of Friday 6 September,
and is by Dima Slobodeniouk.
In addition to the orchestral concerts,
the festival’s programme again includes chamber music and other Sibelius-themed
On the afternoon of Friday 6 September there is a lecture
concert in the Kalevi Aho Hall at the Lahti Music Institute given by the
pianist Folke Gräsbeck, one of the world’s foremost Sibelius experts. Among the
topics Gräsbeck will discuss and illustrate with music is the story of
Sibelius’s Eighth Symphony.
The Saturday afternoon concert in the Felix Krohn Hall of
the Lahti Concert Hall features the cellist Jonathan Roozeman and the pianist
Ossi Tanner. Both of these young performers have been artists-in-residence with
the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
The Sunday morning concert that concludes the festival
features Sibelius’s choral and organ music. The Dominante choir is conducted by
Seppo Murto, who also plays the organ. Folke Gräsbeck also participates.
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1902, performs regularly at prestigious concert halls all over the world, and has made many acclaimed and award-winning recordings. The highly respected magazine Die Welt has called it one of the best orchestras in the world. Since 2008 the orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic adviser has been Sakari Oramo. The orchestra is also well-known for its annual performances at the Nobel Prize ceremonies. It gave the first performance of Jean Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony in Stockholm in March 1924, and in all Sibelius conducted the orchestra on seven occasions.
The Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard (b. 1963) has been principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and in the autumn of 2019 he takes up the post of musical director of the Seattle Symphony. Dausgaard makes regular guest appearances all over the world conducting orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is also known for his Sibelius interpretations: for example, in the Sibelius jubilee year 2015 he played all seven symphonies with the Seattle Symphony, and in May 2018 he performed Kullervo there for the first time in the orchestra’s history. He has also recorded Sibelius’s music for violin and orchestra with the violinist Christian Tetzlaff and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for Virgin Classics.