Fennica Gehrman has signed a publishing agreement for a concert overture by Sibelius. Based on material found in the manuscript of the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), it was discovered by the conductor Tuomas Hannikainen, following references made by Sibelius himself. A significant work that, according to Hannikainen, stands up well on its own, it lasts 11–12 minutes and was conducted by Sibelius at concerts of his works at the Fire Brigade Hall in Turku on 7 April 1900, and the next day at the Old Academy Hall in the same city. The reviewer of Uusi Aura called the piece a ‘ballad’ that ‘attracted much attention’; his colleague in Åbo Underrättelser mentioned that the piece had not been performed in Turku before, and was received with ‘sympathetic applause’, though conceding that it was somewhat overshadowed by the suite from King Christian II. The score of the overture is scheduled for publication in autumn 2019.
Previously it has been assumed that the overture performed in Turku was just the orchestral introduction to the opera, some three minutes of music that lack an effective concert ending. When examining the original manuscript, however, Hannikainen became curious about some markings and changes, apparently in Sibelius’s handwriting. Through extensive research into the manuscript and other sources he was able to reconstruct the longer overture, i.e. the Concert Overture.