All posts by sibelius

Sibelius’s Honeymoon Home Opens to the Public

Jean and Aino Sibelius’s honeymoon home, the granary at Monola near Lieksa in North Karelia, opened to the public for the first time on Friday 29 June 2018. It will remain open every day (except Mondays) throughout July. Previously it was open by appointment only.

At Monola, Sibelius composed two Runeberg songs (Kyssens hopp and Till Frigga) and worked on the tone poem En saga.

Since 2016 the building has been undergoing renovation in a way that is respectful of its history. The walls and one doorway are exactly as they were in Sibelius’s time. The roof and steps have been replaced, and decaying fabrics inside the barn have been removed, as has overgrown vegetation from outside.

The project has been driven forward by the Monola Society (director: Elli Oinonen-Edén), and by the cellist Jussi Makkonen. A week-long programme of concerts and other cultural events was also organized (2–7 July) in conjunction with the opening of the granary.

More information on this important cultural venue will be published later.

Photos: © Sibelius One

Source: Lieksan lehti

Buy part of Sibelius’s Villa!

An apartment is for sale in the historic 17th-century ‘Villa Molfino’ near Rapallo, Italy, where Sibelius rented a room / studio in the spring of 1901, gaining inspiration to compose from the extraordinary nature on the hills of the hinterland of the Gulf of Tigullio. The apartment that will be sold is located immediately under the rooms that were Sibelius’s accommodation.

The owner intends to leave the current furniture, made and chosen with particular taste and great elegance (see attached photos: antique furniture, original floors, painted ceilings etc.).

From Villa Molfino, which is located near the road to the Sanctuary of Montallegro, you may reach Rapallo in five minutes (less then 3 km.) with spectacular views. The apartment has been fully renovated and is 75 square metres in size, consisting of: double bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and pantry, private garden (150 square metres), car port. Price: €249,000, negotiable.

Anyone seriously interested may write to Federico Ermirio (click here to e-mail), who will pass on the enquiry to the owner of the property.

Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera 2018 – update

The fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera in Italy will run from 28 September until 14 October 2018. The programme of lectures and concerts is organized under the artistic direction of composer Federico Ermirio. Below is an updated list of dates and times for the events at the festival.

28 September, 6pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Federico Ermirio

28 September, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
Opening concert – Myrsky Ensemble / Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Grieg / Sibelius / Mattson / Elgar

29 September, 9pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Nielsen / Alfvén / Leifs / Nystedt

30 September, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Busoni / Sinding

30 September, 9pm, San Martino Church, Zoagli
Myrsky Ensemble (string trio)
Ravel / Milhaud / Sibelius / von Dohnányi

5 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Paola De Ferrari
‘I Molfino: collezioni e dispersioni fra Settecento e Ottocento’

5 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
Eero Lasorla, tenor; Marina Cesarale, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Kuula / Gothoni / Alfvén / Rangström

6 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Jugend-Sinfonieorchester Aargau; Hugo Bollschweiler, conductor
Mendelssohn / Szpilman / Sibelius

7 October, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
Stefanie Braun, soprano; Anne Hinrichsen, piano
Sibelius / Grieg

7 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Genova Vocal Ensemble; Roberta Paraninfo, conductor
Sibelius / Grieg / Rautavaara / Nystedt / Pärt / Sisask / Tormis

12 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
Peter Fisher, violin; Margaret Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

13 October, 6pm, Teatrino Comunale, Portofino
Giovanni Giovannoni & Roberto Pellegrino, accordions
Sibelius /Kolz / Solotariov / Olkzak / Piazzolla

14 October, 6pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
Peter Fisher, violin; Margaret Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

E. & O.E.

Further information:

Sibelius Forest

Lake Aulanko from Aulanko Tower
Photo: © Leo-setä (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

On 24 August 2018 the city of Hämeenlinna will inaugurate the ‘Sibelius Forest’, an approximately 100-hectare nature reserve east of the Lake Aulanko – the area seen from Aulanko observation tower. The forest is located in Hämeenlinna National Park, Finland’s first and the world’s second national urban park, established in January 2001.

The aim of the Sibelius Forest is that it will not significantly limit recreational use of the land (e.g. the Aulanko Hiking Trail) but will take better account of the objectives of the nature conservation area. The area has considerable indirect economic significance, contributing to tourism in Aulanko/Hämeenlinna.

The establishment of the Sibelius Forest Nature Reserve strengthens the position of Hämeenlinna as the ‘city of Sibelius’, protecting the nationally valuable landscape and natural environment, that inspired Sibelius to compose Finlandia.

The young Sibelius enjoyed the forest, often visited Aulanko and was familiar with the views. In the late 19th century, Aulankovuori Hill was a popular place for excursions, with a wooden lookout pavilion at the top of the hill; later, a 33-metre tall granite observation tower was built (Waldemar Aspelin, 1906–07).

Aulanko Observation Tower

Photo: © Alessio Damato 2006 (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

The establishment of the Sibelius Forest is linked to Finland’s centenary celebrations in 2017.

Further information (in Finnish) click here.





Ainola 2018

Photo: © Leon Chia

The programme at Sibelius’s home, Ainola, in 2018 includes numerous concerts and garden tours.

Concerts 2018

Lahti Sibelius Festival mini-concerts will be given on Wednesday 13 June and Sunday 17 June at 12 noon and 1 pm by the Wellamo Trio (Lotta Nykäsenoja, violin; Ilkka Uurtimo, cello and Anu Silvasti, piano). On the programme is Sibelius’s Piano Trio in A minor, ‘Hafträsk’, JS 207 (1886).
Entry is included in the Ainola admission ticket price or via the Museum Card.
No prior reservations or seating / no guided tours between 11.30 and 1.30 on concert days.

Meidän Festivaali / Our Festival concerts will take place on Monday 23 July at 2 pm and 5 pm. The concerts have the theme ‘Animals and Plants’, and the festival’s artistic director Pekka Kuusisto is among the performers.
Gabriella Smith: Carrot Revolution [Kamus Quartet]
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: Sonata Representativa [Pekka Kuusisto, violin / Jarmo Julkunen, guitar]
Tytti Arola: Metsä [Pekka Kuusisto, violin]
Jean Sibelius: ‘The Trees’, Op. 75 [Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, piano]
Tickets, 2 pm – click here
Tickets, 5 pm – click here

Music on Sibelius’s instruments – Thursday 30 August at 6 pm
Kaisa Porra-Hänninen, violin; Kari Hänninen, piano
Music by Jean Sibelius, Armas Järnefelt and Joonas Kokkonen
These artists return to Ainola after a concert in December 2016 also featuring Sibelius’s own instruments. Kaisa Porra-Hänninen has played in the Finnish National Opera Orchestra for most of her career and has appeared frequently with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Lahti Symphony orchestra. Kari Hänninen has worked as a choir répétiteur at the Finnish National Opera, as an orchestral pianist and as an accompanist at the Sibelius Academy.
Tickets – click here

‘Do you hear how nature smells?’ – Thursday 20 September at 6 pm
Jussi Makkonen, cello; Nazig Azezian, piano
This concert, on the 61st anniversary of Sibelius’s death, includes some of Sibelius’s most popular pieces in arrangements for cello and piano (The Spruce; Valse triste; Finlandia). In 2017 Makkonen and Azezian received a platinum disc for their recording accompanying the children’s book Soiva metsä (Melody Forest). That disc was recorded at Ainola in 2014 and are well-known for championing Sibelius’s music internationally, and especially for their performances for children and young people’
Hear them perform Finlandia – click here
Tickets – click here

‘Well-known and Enigmatic’ – Saturday 8 December at 5 pm
Folke Gräsbeck, piano; Petteri Iivonen, violin, with Prof. Timo Virtanen
Folke Gräsbeck has performed more than 400 works by Sibelius and recorded them extensively. Petteri Iivonen, winner of the Kuopio Violin Competition and a prizewinner at the Sibelius Violin Competition in 2010, performs regularly as a soloist with prestigious international orchestras. Timo Virtanen is editor-in-chief of the Jean Sibelius Works critical edition.
Tickets go on sale in June.

Garden Tours

During the summer of 2018 there will be guided tours of the garden that Aino Sibelius created at Ainola. The tours will focus on the planning of the garden, the choice of decorative and functional plants, the history of the garden and Aino Sibelius’s significance for Finnish gardening.

The construction of Ainola’s garden began in 1904 when the family moved in. The garden’s essential nature has been well preserved, and reveals much both about the importance of growing plants for food and about the way the beauty of nature provided artistic inspiration for the family. For Sibelius, the grounds and garden at Ainola were an important source of inspiration, as is shown for example in the numerous piano pieces that are named after trees and flowers.

Guided tours in Finnish on Thursdays at 3 pm (until 13 September 2018)
Guided tours in English on Thursdays in August at 12 noon
Entry is included in the Ainola admission ticket price or via the Museum Card
Group bookings available (€30 per group plus admission ticket price) – information:
(N.B. There will be no tours on 21 June, 23 August, 20 September and 27 September)

Other news

The roots of the spruce hedge adjoining the car park at Ainola have been affected by excavations, and the hedge will be renewed in the spring of 2018. For the sake of consistency, the hedge is also being also extended on the other side of the gate. At the same time, the gate will be replaced because the position of the hedge is changing. While the new hedge is growing, a metal fence is being incorporated into it.


Summer Sounds Sibelius Rarity

(Photos: CC BY 4.0)

One of Sibelius’s rarest works, the Melodrama from Svartsjukans nätter (Nights of Jealousy) will be performed in Porvoo, Finland, in June as part of Avanti!’s Summer Sounds music festival.

This large-scale melodrama for soprano, piano trio and recitation, some 15 minutes long, was composed in 1893 to mark the birthday of the poet J.L. Runeberg, whose words it sets. The poem tells of a dream in which the poet is blissfully reunited with a former lover, but from which he wakes abruptly just when his happi­ness seems complete. Sibelius re-used some of its thematic material in the well-known fifth and sixth Impromptus for piano.

The performers include some of Finland’s most distinguished and high-profile musicians, among them Anu Komsi and Sakari Oramo.

June 30 June 2018 at 6 pm, Avanti! Hall (Art Factory, Porvoo, Finland)
‘O dröm’
Mozart:  Clarinet Quintet, K 581
Sibelius: Melodram ur Svartsjukans nätter, JS 125
Heinz-Juhani Hoffmann: Four Songs to texts by Jussi Kylätasku (world première)
Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 2
Anu Komsi, soprano  ·  Frank Skog, narrator
Kari Kriikku, basset clarinet  ·  Eero Manninen, piano 
Sakari Oramo, violin  ·  Jukka Rautasalo, cello
Avanti! Quartet

Avanti!’s music festival Summer Sounds has been held since 1986 in Porvoo and Pernaja.

Tickets: € 32/27/15 (click here for link to ticket sales). Bus transfers from Helsinki are available.

Further information (in Finnish): click here.

Sibelius i Korpo 2018

***Updated 30 April 2018: revised programme for Sunday concert***

The seventeenth ‘Sibelius i Korpo’ festival in the Turku archipelago will take place on 20–22 July 2018. This year’s theme is ‘Oskar Merikanto 150’, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Merikanto on 5 August 1868. The programmes thus feature works by Sibelius and Merikanto. All concerts take place at Korpo gård, where Sibelius, his family and friends made music in the summer of 1887. The festival is organized by Petri Kirkkomäki and its artistic director is Folke Gräsbeck.

Oskar Merikanto

Provisional programmes are as follows:

Friday 20.7.2018 at 9 pm – Evening Concert at Korpo gård
‘Sibelius’s and Merikanto’s Youth’
Jean Sibelius: Con moto, sempre una corda, JS 52, for piano
Oskar Merikanto: Kesäillan valssi, Op. 1, for piano
Merikanto: Fantasy on the folk song ‘Tuoll’ on mun kultani’ for piano four hands
Sibelius: Andantino in A major for piano trio
Sibelius: Andante molto in F minor for cello & piano
Sibelius: Scherzo in E minor, JS 165, for violin, cello & piano four hands
Merikanto: Valse mélancolique, Op. 6 No. 3 for piano four hands
Merikanto: Herää Suomi (Awake, Finland, arr. of Emil Genetz’ song) for piano four hands
‘The Years before Independence’
Sibelius: Religioso & Rigaudon, Op. 78 Nos 3 & 4, for cello & piano
Sibelius: Sonatina in E major, Op. 80, for violin & piano
Merikanto: Nuorisolle, Op. 92, suite for piano
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist, piano
Folke Gräsbeck, piano & artistic director

Saturday 21.7.2018 at 1 pm: Ceremony at the Sibelius statue
Music, flowers, speeches
Welcome from Petri Kirkkomäki, festival organizer, and from
Severi Blomstedt on behalf of the Sibelius family

Saturday 21.7.2018 at 6 pm: Concert at Korpo gård
‘Musik from the turn of the century’
Merikanto: Kirkko-aikana for piano four hands
Merikanto: Hungarian March, Op. 46, for piano four hands
Merikanto: Canon in G major for piano four hands
Sibelius: Dolcissimo, JS 63, for kantele
Sibelius: Moderato, JS 130, for kantele
Sibelius: Lullaby, JS 222, for violin & kantele
Merikanto: Kullan murunen, Op. 20 No. 1, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Helkähdys for two kanteles
Merikanto: Kesäillan idylli, Op. 16 No. 2, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Vallinkorvan laulu, Op. 24 No. 2, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Valse lente, Op. 33, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Soi vienosti murheeni soitto, Op. 36 No. 3, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Jag gungar i högsta grenen, variations on the song by Gabriel Linsén, Op. 26, for piano
‘A Lonely Ski-Trail’ – Works from Maturity
Merikanto: Two Pieces, Op. 102, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Novellette, Op. 102, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Danses champêtres, Op. 106 Nos 4 & 5, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Four movements from ‘The Tempest’, Op. 109, for cello & piano
Sibelius: Ett ensamt skidspår, JS 77a, for speaker & piano (1925)
Sibelius: Adagio ‘Rakkaalle Ainolle’, JS 161, for piano four hands
Ralf Långbacka, speaker
Johanna Aho & Suvi Lehtonen-Gräsbeck, kantele
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist & Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Sunday 22.7.2018 at 2 pm: Lecture at Korpo gård
‘Jean Sibelius och Oskar Merikanto’
Andrew Barnett (General Manager, Sibelius One)

Sunday 22.7.2018 at 4 pm: Concert at Korpo gård
‘Songs, Opera and Theatre Music’
Merikanto: extracts from the opera ‘Pohjan neiti’ arr. for kantele and for piano four hands
Merikanto: Tuulan tei from the music to ‘Tukkijoella’, Op. 13, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Reppurin laulu from the music to ‘Juhannustulilla’, Op. 14, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Karkelo alkaa from the music to ‘Panu’ for mezzo-soprano & 2 kanteles
Merikanto: En barnsaga vid brasan; Den enda stunden; Sorgens makt; Vi ses igen for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Ljunga Wirginia, ‘opera’ for violin, cello & piano four hands
Sibelius: Bollspelet vid Trianon, Op. 36 No. 3, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Soluppgång, JS 87, for mezzo-soprano & piano (world première performance)
Sibelius: Den första kyssen, Op. 37 No. 1, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Kyssen, Op. 72 No. 3, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Narciss, JS 140, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Finlandia, Op. 26 (arr. for solo piano with mezzo-soprano in the hymn)
Erica Back, mezzo-soprano
Johanna Aho & Suvi Lehtonen-Gräsbeck, kantele
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist & Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Further details will be published later.




60 years with TRMS

John Davis cutting the cake. Photo: © Bob Clowes

Congratulations to John Davis, president of Sibelius One, who has just celebrated 60 years’ membership of the Torbay Recorded Music Society at a gala dinner. He has been a committee member for 58 of those years, and is now its president.

Sibelius One’s treasurer Janet Abbotts was guest speaker at the gala. A special card was presented to John Davis on behalf of Sibelius One, and suitable music was played over the course of the evening, including the ‘Korpo’ Trio, Humoresqes for violin and orchestra, Violin Concerto, Finlandia and the Nocturne from the King Christian II Suite. There was a very large cake in blue and white, Finland’s colours, and 18 bottles of wine were presented, all wrapped up in the same colours.

Photo: © Janet Abbotts

Sibelius at the BBC Proms 2018

Programmes for the BBC Proms 2018 have been announced, and several popular works by Sibelius are included. All of the concerts listed take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

Click the Prom numbers for links to the BBC Proms website and to book tickets (general booking opening: 19 May 2018).

Tuesday 24 July 2018 at 7.30 pm – Prom 14

Richard Wagner: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – overture
Franz Schubert: Songs
Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Symphony in One Movement
Franz Schubert: ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy (arr.  Liszt)
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Elizabeth Watts, soprano
Louis Lortie, piano
BBC Philharmonic / John Storgårds

Sunday 29 July 2018 at 1 pm – Prom 19
Sunday 29 July 2018 at 5 pm – Prom 20

Music by Kerry Andrew, Mason Bates, Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges, Copland, Dvořák, Elgar, Orff, Purcell, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky
Naomi Wilkinson, presenter
Ten Pieces Children’s Choir

BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Rafael Payare
‘Ten Pieces Prom’

Monday 13 August 2018 at 7.30pm – Prom 42

Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 3
Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Estonian Festival Orchestra / 
Paavo Järvi

Tuesday 21 August 2018 at 7pm – Prom 52 

Rolf Wallin: Violin Concerto (first performance)
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner