The autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s String Quartet in D minor (‘Voces intimae’), Op. 56, signed twice (‘Jean Sibelius’), was offered for auction at the bi-annual Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts sale by Sotheby’s, London on 29 November 2016. The sale also offered the complete autograph manuscript of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony (‘Resurrection’).
The large number of new recordings of ‘Voces intimae’ (see e.g. our Discography & Recordings page) in recent years have confirmed its status as one of Sibelius’s middle-period masterpieces.
The quartet was completed in 1909 and published by Lienau the same year. Although this manuscript was used by Sibelius’s publisher to set up the first edition in 1909, it contains important differences from it. The final twenty-one bars differ markedly from the printed scores and were evidently completely rewritten on a later manuscript.
This is the sole surviving manuscript of the whole work.
Guide price: £ 200,000-300,000 € 222,000-333,000
Update: The manuscript of ‘Voces intimae’ remained unsold. The manuscript of Mahler’s Second Symphony was the star of the auction, selling for £4,546,250.
Sibelius was by no means the only composer to draw inspiration from the Kalevala in the late 19th century. Karl Müller-Berghaus’s (1829–1907) opera Die Kalewainen in Pochjola was composed in Turku more than 120 years ago, to a libretto by Franz Spengler. This recently rediscovered work is the first through-composed opera based on the Kalevala, but it has never before been staged anywhere. In late February/early March 2017 the Turku Music Festival and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra will bring the opera to Turku’s LOGOMO cultural centre.
The composer, conductor and violinist Karl Müller-Berghaus was born in Braunschweig, Germany, and served as conductor of the Turku orchestra from 1886 until 1895.
The production features leading soloists including Tommi Hakala, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, Christian Juslin and Susanna Andersson. It will be directed by Tiina Puumalainen and conducted by Leif Segerstam.
The performance lasts approximately 3 hours and the opera is sung in German.