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.
The autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s piano piece Spagnuolo, JS 181, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York. The sale takes place on 13 December 2018 at 10.00am EST, and the piece has an estimated value of $20,000—$30,000. It is a fair copy, in black ink, in piano score on eleven systems, each of two staves. The manuscript clearly bears Sibelius’s signature. No place or date are indicated but the work dates from 1913, between the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies. Spagnuolo is a sparkling work, a Spanish dance viewed through Northern eyes.
It forms part of a sale of items from a private collection of music manuscripts and letters. In addition to music, the collection includes letters representing some of the world’s most renowned figures in the fields of art, literature, science and government. This exceptional collection of highly important material was amassed in the first half of the twentieth century.
Manuscript of an early version of Sibelius’s Autrefois found in the Lahti Conservatory music library
The manuscript in the composer’s own hand of a previously unknown early version of Sibelius’s Autrefois, Op. 96b, has been found in the library of the Lahti Conservatory among the materials dating from the Conservatory’s Viipuri years. The Conservatory can trace its origins back to the Viipuri College of Music, founded in 1918, and is thus celebrating its centenary this year. It was relocated to Lahti in 1940 and has operated in its current location since 1954. Nowadays the Conservatory is both a music school with 1,000 pupils and a vocational school for about 50 students aiming to become professional musicians.
The music library of the Lahti Conservatory includes material dating back to the early twentieth century from the Viipuri Friends of Music orchestral library and the Viipuri College of Music. The manuscript was discovered by Janne Kivistö, a Sibelius Academy music theory student working at the Lahti Conservatory. The score itself had been found in 2014 but at that time it was not recognized as an original manuscript by Sibelius and thus remained unnoticed. The Sibelius researcher and editor-in-chief of the JSW Complete Works critical edition, Timo Virtanen, has examined the manuscript and has described it as an exceptionally interesting and important discovery.
Autrefois is a work for small orchestra and two women’s voices (or clarinets) dating from 1919, with the subtitle ‘Scène pastorale’. This ‘new’ early version contains striking differences from the final version, for example in the accompaniment. The piece was first performed by the sopranos Sabine Dahlström and Clary Alfthan with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer in Helsinki on 1 December 1919. Sibelius conducted it on numerous later occasions as well.
The discovery of the manuscript amongst the materials from Viipuri may indicate that the composer took the score to Viipuri when he visited the city in 1923 to conduct the orchestra of the Viipuri College of Music.
The Conservatory is currently considering arranging a performance of the early version of Autrefois in the spring of 2019, to celebrate its 100th academic year.
On Saturday 17 November 2018 at 7.00pm a semi-staged performance (without vocal parts) of The Tempest with Sibelius’s original theatre music, preceded by Finlandia, will take place in Welwyn Garden City, performed by the Mid Herts Youth Orchestra conducted by Tom Hammond.
The performance is directed by Peter Avery, with actors from the Mid Herts Centre for Music & Arts Community.
The Mid Herts Youth Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra and plays on a weekly basis with the aim of giving young musicians the opportunity to play in a high-standard orchestral setting.
This event is supported financially by Sibelius One.
Venue: Ridgeway Academy, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL7 2AF (a 10-minute walk from the station / ample parking)
Programme: Scenes with Cranes from ‘Kuolema’ Violin Concerto (soloist: David Le Page) Symphony No. 2
After his selection by Sir Charles Mackerras as the first Junior Fellow in Conducting at Trinity Laban Conservatoire (2006–08), Tom Hammond has developed a rich and musically diverse career. He is currently music director of the Essex, Hertford and St Albans Symphony Orchestras and the award-winning Yorkshire Young Sinfonia. He also holds positions with the Palestine Youth Orchestra and Ingenium Academy International Summer School, and regularly guest conducts with many groups including the Britten Sinfonia Academy and Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he was appointed conductor emeritus of Sinfonia Tamesa, of which he was music director between 2007 and 2017.
Born on the island of Guernsey, David Le Page began playing the violin at the age of seven. He was offered a place at the Yehudi Menuhin school when he was twelve and has since forged a diverse career as a performer, composer, producer and arranger. He appears regularly as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader and has formed a number of ensembles of his own.