To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’s birth, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker presented a live cycle of Sibelius symphonies, which was met with unanimous delight by audiences and critics alike. These performances are now released on disc.
Simon Rattle has been familiar with the music of Jean Sibelius from childhood. When, as a ten-year-old, he heard the Fifth Symphony live for the first time, it struck him – to use his own words – ‘like a thunderbolt’. The Berliner Philharmoniker can also look back on a long Sibelius tradition and the orchestra was conducted by the composer himself in 1902. Its first complete performance of the seven symphonies took place 2010 under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, with the Third Symphony being performed by the Philharmoniker for the first time. It was only natural to repeat the performance of the cycle in Sibelius’s anniversary year. These recordings were made at the Berlin Philharmonie in
December 2014 and February 2015.
This complete recording presents the symphonies not only on 4 CDs, but also on two Blu-ray discs as HD video, in uncompressed audio resolution and DTS surround sound. The extensive product features include a comprehensive booklet and an hour-long video interview in which Sir Simon Rattle talks about his views on Sibelius and introduces the seven symphonies.
The long-established Finnish fabrics manufacturer Vallila Interior has released two new designs, Passio and Credo, inspired by the Sibelius Monument in Helsinki.
The designs are already available in the form of ready-made curtains and will shortly be on sale by the metre as well.
Vallila Interior is an industry-leading Finnish family-run home textile company founded by Otto Berner in 1935. Vallila designs its own collections of textiles and interior accessories and is a well-known partner throughout the interior design and contract sectors. The company enthusiastically spreads the Finnish design message across the world.
Vallila’s designs are the first official products ever made featuring the Sibelius Monument. The monument, by the Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen (1922–2003), was unveiled almost 50 years ago, in 1967. The Sibelius Monument is one of the best-loved and most famous works of art in Finland. Every year thousands of tourists visit the sculpture, which is located in the Sibelius Park in Helsinki.
The images are based on drawings owned by the family of Eila Hiltunen, and names of the fabrics derive from the entries that Eila Hiltunen submitted to the competition to design the monument.
Sibelius’s incidental music to Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande (Op. 46, 1905) has always drawn audiences with its sharp characterization, rich melodies, elegant orchestral writing and exquisite proportions. In the closing months of 2015, the music is being performed worldwide, for example at the following locations:
New York (USA)
16th October 2015at 8 pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
3 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023 Tickets: click here
Still: Troubled Island Suite (world première of Suite) Coleridge-Taylor: Romance for Violin and Orchestra * Coleridge-Taylor: Keep Me From Sinking Down * (East Coast première) Sibelius: Pelléas et Mélisande
On 11th September 2015 Posti released a new set of stamps featuring Jean Sibelius.
A miniature sheet of three stamps commemorates Finland’s best-known composer. The Jean Sibelius 150 years sheet is designed by graphic artist Pekka Loiri, a classical music lover and Sibelius enthusiast.
Loiri’s stamp designs are inspired by three different stages in Jean Sibelius’s life, each created using different artistic techniques. Loiri has created a black-and-white inked-in drawing depicting Sibelius in the late 1800s as a passionate young artist living the Bohemian life. A richly coloured watercolor profile shows Sibelius as a symphonist in the early 1900s during the most prolific period of his career. A lithographic chalk drawing depicts Sibelius in the 1930s as an aging composer, matching the mental image that most Finns have of Sibelius.
Posti started out as a national postal company in Finland. Through continued investments and systematic R&D, Posti advanced into new growth areas such as communications, logistics and e-invoicing. In the 2000s, Posti has joined forces with leading growth companies in Europe and Russia.
The stamps form part of a series of music-themed stamp releases, with others in the autumn of 2015 portaying hard rock themes.
The Sibelius Society of Finland has awarded the prestigious Sibelius Medal to the Estonian Paavo Järvi, musical director and chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris.
The Sibelius Medal was presented to Paavo Järvi in Paris by the Finnish Ambassador to France, Mr Risto Piipponen, at the opening concert of the new season of the Orchestre de Paris on 9th September, on which occasion the orchestra and Paavo Järvi performed Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5.
The Sibelius Society of Finland commented: ‘Paavo Järvi has promoted the music of Sibelius with great talent in concerts which he has conducted throughout the world and particularly in France. With his passion and drive he is making history by recording the complete Sibelius symphony cycle with the Orchestre de Paris – a project so far never undertaken by any other French orchestra. His existing discography includes important Sibelius recordings which have gained international critical acclaim.’
This is the second time the Sibelius Medal is awarded to a conductor during the Sibelius 150th anniversary year. Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, received the medal in May in Berlin.
The medal was designed by Eila Hiltunen (1922–2003), who was also responsible for creating the Sibelius Monument in Helsinki.
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 17th International Sibelius Festival will take place at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti on 8th–11th September 2016. The three orchestral concerts will be conducted by the orchestra’s chief conductor and the festival’s new artistic director, Dima Slobodeniouk. The full programme for the festival – including chamber music concerts and other Sibelius-themed events – will be published later.
Programmes for the 2016 Sibelius Festival’s orchestral concerts
Thursday 8th September 2016 Pohjola’s Daughter
Symphony No. 1
Friday 9th September 2016 The Dryad
The Tempest, concert suite
Symphony No. 4
Saturday 10th September 2016 Pan and Echo
Pelléas et Mélisande
Symphony No. 3
Slobodeniouk: ‘Not everything in music can be – or needs to be – explained’
The conductor Dima Slobodeniouk believes in music in its own right, and in its power as an absolute art form. ‘In my opinion Sibelius’s works prove that not everything in music can be – or needs to be – explained. Of course historical facts can deepen our understanding, but the music itself remains the primus motor’, says Slobodeniouk. ‘For the orchestral concerts at the 2016 Sibelius Festival I have chosen works from different periods that, I feel, speak to each other. One of the programmes consists of works that Sibelius composed in successive years: Pelléas et Mélisande in 1905, Pan and Echo in 1906 and the Third Symphony in 1907. I feel that there is such a clear thread that unites them all that I could not fail to play them in proximity to each other. In the other orchestral programmes I have aimed both for contrasts and for musical affinities.’
Sibelius One will be organizing a group booking for the 2016 Sibelius Festival. Details will be announced in due course.