Lahti Sibelius Festival 2016 review

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dima Slobodeniouk at the 2016 Sibelius FEstival (photo: © Lahti SO)
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dima Slobodeniouk at the 2016 Sibelius Festival (photo: © Lahti SO)

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s Sibelius Festival 2016 marked the beginning of a new era: the start of Dima Slobodeniouk’s tenure as principal conductor of the orchestra and artistic director of the festival.

The festival is now in its seventeenth year and took place on 8–11 September. For listeners it marked a leap into the unknown…

Read the full review: click here.

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Janne’s Secret

Jannen Salaisuus, extract (Finnish National Opera video)

The Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas has composed a children’s opera called Jannen salaisuus (Janne’s Secret; 2015), aiming firstly to create a work about Sibelius’s childhood, and secondly to present his music, his aesthetics and even a few of his composition techniques to children. The piece was commissioned by the Finnish National Opera, lasts 45 minutes, and is scored for three soloists, violin, piano, and children’s chorus.

The libretto was written by the prominent Finnish author, journalist and broadcaster Minna Lindgren, and it is based on real life although there are also fictional elements and the chronology has been adapted. In the music there are quotations from around fifteen of Sibelius’s works and some from Mozart, Schubert and Wagner, plus many stylistic allusions; the basic motif – described by Kortekangas as ‘a bit “bluesy”’, is derived from the keys of Sibelius’s seven symphonies.

The undertaking was approved by the Sibelius estate. So far Jannen salaisuus has been performed in around fifty schools around Finland, and the tour continues until the end of 2016. The children’s chorus is always from the respective school, so the children have the opportunity to work with opera professionals. ‘From my point of view’, says Kortekangas, ‘it’s been a wonderful project.’

In addition, in 2015 Kortekangas wrote a three-movement male choir piece for the YL Choir called Höstlig skärgård (Autumnal Archipelago), with the subtitle ‘Hommage à Jean Sibelius’. The text is by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer (1931–2015), who was a big fan of Sibelius’s music. In Kortekangas’s piece there is not that much actual Sibelius; the connection is more on an emotional and symbolic level: high quality poetry in Swedish, images of nature and so on.

Olli Kortekangas (photo: © Pekka Hako)
Olli Kortekangas
(photo: © Pekka Hako)

Olli Kortekangas (b. 1955) studied music theory and composition at the Sibelius Aca­demy in Helsinki under the direction of Einojuhani Rautavaara and Eero Hämeen­niemi, and continued his studies in Berlin with Dieter Schnebel. He has subsequently worked as a teacher himself, including periods at the National Theatre Academy and the Sibelius Academy, and has taken part in educational projects with children and youth, in Finland and abroad. His music has been featured in concerts and at festivals around the world, and he is currently working on several domestic and international com­missions. He has received numerous awards, including the Special Prize of the Prix Italia Competition, the City of Salzburg Opera Prize and the prestigious Teosto Prize, and has four times been the recipient of the five-year grants of the Arts Council of Finland.

Olli Kortekangas’s œuvre consists of about 140 works, from solo pieces and cham­ber music to orchestral works and operas. He has been attracted to the human voice since his early days, and has written nine operas including the successful Daddy’s Girl (2007), for the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and the monologue Own Fault (2015). Collaborations with some of the best Finnish choirs have resulted in many a cappella choral works which have entered the international repertoire. Korte­kangas has also written several works for chorus and orchestra such as Seven Songs for Planet Earth, commissioned and premièred by the Choral Arts Society of Washing­ton, and Migrations (2014), to words by Sheila Packa, for the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä.

During a residency with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra (1997–2009) Kortekangas turned his attention to orchestral composition, which has resulted in a number of works, including several concertos. His output also includes chamber and instrumental solo works, particularly for the organ, as well as chamber music with voice. Recently, he has written several works for period instruments. Throughout his career, Korte­kangas has also been interested in collaboration with other arts and artists. Olli Korte­kangas’s music is published by Fennica Gehrman and represented internationally by Boosey & Hawkes and Schott Music.

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A Visit from Sibelius

Korpo gård
Korpo gård

The two themes of the 2016 ‘Sibelius i Korpo’ festival, which took place on 22-24 July, were ‘a visit from Sibelius’ and ‘Sibelius and Busoni’.

Click here to read more about the festival in Andrew Barnett’s report.

korpo-artists-2016

 

 

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AGM 2016

SIB1-CAMEO-CMYK-BLUEwww

Sibelius One’s Annual General Meeting 2016 will take place at Hesan kamari, Ainola, Järvenpää, Finland at 12.00 pm on Thursday 8th September 2016.

All members are welcome. If you cannot attend in person but would like to ask a question or make a statement, please contact us (click this link) no later than Monday 5 September.

Agenda

Welcome from President

Committee Reports (members will have opportunity to ask questions after each report)
a) General Manager
b) Secretary
c) Treasurer, including Presentation of Accounts

Changes to Constitution
To para 4.1 add 4.1.6 Member without portfolio
From para 4.3 remove ‘for a maximum of three consecutive years’

Election of Committee for year commencing 1st October 2016
1) President
2) General Manager
3) Secretary
4) Treasurer
5) International Coordinator
6) Member without portfolio

Any other business

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‘Vienna through Finnish spectacles’

Sibelius lived in Vienna, Waaggasse 1, when he composed the Overture and Balettscen. He rented the best room in a large apartment here. Photo: © Sibelius One
Sibelius lived in Vienna, Waaggasse 1, when he composed the Overture and Balettscen. He rented the best room in a large apartment here. Photo: © Sibelius One
Jean Sibelius Complete Works (JSW)
Overture in E major, JS 145, and Balettscen, JS 163
,
edited by Tuija Wicklund

Back in the 1970s, when Paavo Berglund’s pioneering work to introduce Kullervo as a concert work was under way, there was scarcely any public awareness of Sibelius’s output prior to En saga. Nowadays, thankfully, the situation is very different, with his substantial corpus of early chamber music at last beginning to find the recognition it deserves. The works in this new JSW volume, written while Sibelius was a student in Vienna in 1890–91, bridge the gap between those early chamber works and Kullervo.

The Overture is in sonata form; Sibelius described the Balettscen in a letter to Adolf Paul as ‘Vienna through Finnish spectacles’. Click here to read the full review of this new JSW volume.

 

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Arts in Residence January 2017 – update

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Sibelius – Master of the Orchestra

On 10–12 January 2017 a course concentrating entirely on Sibelius will take place at the Best Western Plus Connaught Hotel, Bournemouth. The primary focus of the course will be the Fifth Symphony, and attendees will hear the work in concert at the Lighthouse, Poole on 11 January, performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Feddeck.

The course, hosted by Terry Barfoot, will also discuss the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies, Jordens sång, The Tempest, The Oceanides and Tapiola, and there will be a discussion with past and present members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Further information: click here for a factsheet (pdf)

Bookings: Arts in Residence, 25 Mulberry Lane, Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6 2QU
Enquiries: 02392 383356
E-mail: info@artsinresidence.co.uk
www.artsinresidence.co.uk

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Osmo Vänskä completes second Sibelius cycle

Osmo Vänskä (Photo: © Courtney Perry, by courtesy of Minnesota Orchestra / BIS)
Osmo Vänskä (Photo: © Courtney Perry, by courtesy of Minnesota Orchestra / BIS)

Osmo Vänskä has completed his second Sibelius symphony cycle on disc with the release of Symphonies Nos 3, 6 and 7.

He conducts the Minnesota Orchestra, of which he has been principal conductor since 2003, and this is the first of the team’s recordings to have been recorded after the end of the orchestra’s extended lock-out.

BIS-2006www

Previous releases in the series, Symphonies Nos 2 and 5 on BIS-1986, and Nos 1 and 4 on BIS-1996, have been acclaimed by critics, the latter disc winning a Grammy award in 2014.

Vänskä’s previous Sibelius cycle, with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, was hailed in the magazine Gramophone as ‘the finest survey of the past three decades’.

The disc (BIS-2006), recorded in May/June 2015 in surround sound and released as a hybrid SACD,  will be released internationally in August 2016 to coincide with the orchestra’s European tour, with performances in Lahti, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

A recording of Kullervo by the same musicians together with the YL Male Voice Choir and soloists Lilli Paasikivi and Tommi Hakala, made at live performances in Minnesota in February, is scheduled for release at the end of 2016.

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Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio – Update

flyer-A5-2016-1

More details of the Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio (artistic director: Federico Ermirio) taking place in October 2016 have been released.

Friday 30 September (morning):
Press conference and music at Villa Durazzo, S. Margherita

Saturday 1 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto Hall, S. Margherita
Opening conference: The Inheritance of Jean Sibelius, with Federico Ermirio, composer

Friday 7 October, 9pm, N. S. della Rosa (Cathedral), S. Margherita
Opening concert: ‘Against a Pale Glow’. A Nordic Travel
Eva Alkula, kantele / Orchestra Polledro / Federico Bisio conductor
Grieg/Gudmundsson/Sibelius/Nielsen

Saturday 8 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto Hall, S. Margherita
Lumikiteistä (Snow Crystals)
Eva Alkula, kantele / M. Del Monte, flute / D. Ermirio, cello
Karjalainen/Yli-Salomäki/Saariaho/Pärt/Laakso/Sibelius

Sunday 9 October, 5pm, N. S. del Suffragio, Recco
Le Salon Spirituel / Eva Wymola, mezzo-soprano / Andrea Carcano, piano
Tchaikovsky/Dvořák/Sibelius/Mahler/Handel/Bizet/Franck/Gounod

Sunday 9 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, S. Margherita
A Romantic Violin
Essi Kiiski, violin / Eduardo Andrade, piano
Sibelius/Andrade/Grieg/Maier-Röntgen

Thursday 13 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto Hall, S. Margherita
Meeting with extracts from the film ‘Sibelius’, 2003 by Timo Koivusalo

Thursday 13 October, 9pm, Oratorio S. Erasmo, Sori
Animula Vagula
Domenico Ermirio, cello / Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Busoni/Bax/Debussy/Sibelius

Friday 14 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, S. Margherita
Sibelius and the Slavonic World
Eva Wymola, mezzo-soprano / Andrea Carcano piano
Tchaikovsky/Dvořák/Sibelius/Minkov/Janáček

Saturday 15 October: Piano Recitals
5pm, Piero Bozzo Hall, Bogliasco
Music by the Sea
Andrea Carcano plays Sibelius/Busoni/Rósza/Rautavaara/Grieg
9pm, N. S. del Suffragio, Recco
Sibelius &…
Folke Gräsbeck plays Busoni/Gräsbeck/Ermirio/Sibelius

Further information:
Festival website: http://sib150.wix.com/festivalsibeliusen
e-mail: sibeliusfestival@gmail.com

Click here to download the flyer as a pdf document.

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Arts in Residence – Sibelius

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Music by Sibelius will feature prominently at courses arranged by Arts in Residence in November 2016 and January 2017.

The courses are directed by Terry Barfoot. Terry writes widely on music for Britain’s leading journals, orchestras, festivals and record companies. He lectures at venues throughout the country and is publications consultant to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony is one of the featured works in the weekend course ‘The Symphony in the 20th Century’, taking place on Friday 18–Sunday 20 November 2016
at the Wroxton House Hotel near Banbury, Oxfordshire. Other symphonies under discussion are by Elgar (No. 1), Honegger (No. 2), Walton (No. 1), Shostaovich (No. 4), Vaughan Williams (No. 5), Prokofiev (No. 5) and Nielsen (No. 5). Click here for a course leaflet (Banbury).

This course is being repeated at the Grange at Oborne, near Sherborne in Dorset on 29 November – 1 December.  Click here for a course leaflet (Sherborne).

On 10–12 January 2017 a course concentrating entirely on Sibelius will take place at the Connaught Hotel, Bournemouth. The primary focus of the course will be the Fifth Symphony, and attendees will hear the work in concert at the Lighthouse, Poole on 11 January, performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Feddeck. Further information on this event will be published later.

Bookings: Arts in Residence, 25 Mulberry Lane, Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6 2QU
Enquiries: 02392 383356
E-mail: info@artsinresidence.co.uk
www.artsinresidence.co.uk