Category Archives: News

Found! Sibelius’s lost villa

‘My family lives here at Pension Suisse [in Rapallo, Italy], but I rented a studio in a hillside villa, surrounded by a very interesting garden: roses in bloom, camellias, almond trees, cactus, agaves, currants, magnolia, cypresses, vines, palms and a manifold variety of flowers’ – letter from Sibelius to Axel Carpelan, February 1901.

Although Pension Suisse in Rapallo still exists, the precise location of Sibelius’s hillside hideaway – where he famously worked on music that would be used in the Second Symphony – has long been believed to be lost in the mists of time. Partly this is because Sibelius gave very few descriptions of the villa and its enlightened owners, the Molfino family, preferring instead to concentrate on its natural beauties, scents and extraordinary vegetation.

Now, however, Federico Ermirio, organizer and artistic director of the Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera, has located this elusive and historically significant building. The villa lies on the Cerisola hill in Fossato di Monti – reachable on foot (for a good walker like Sibelius) in half an hour.

The origins of the villa date back to the sixteenth century, and by the time of Sibelius’s visit it had become a meeting place for artists and cultural personalities, surrounded by a luxuriant park, remarkable for its botanical variety and featuring an amphitheatre. The Molfino family library contained rare editions of Dante’s Divina Commedia. It may be no coincidence that after leaving Rapallo, Sibelius considered  making a setting of part of Dante’s work: in this context he sketched what would become the second theme of the Second Symphony’s slow movement.


Villa Molfino, c. 1900

For decades the villa was abandoned and left to the attention of by vandals and thieves. The property is now divided up, and the new owners are progressively working on restoring it.

Sibelius’s affection for this part of Italy is shown by the fact the he later christened part of Ainola’s garden ‘Rapallo’.

Further information about this exciting new discovery will be published in the July 2018 issue of the Sibelius One Magazine.

 

 

Fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera

The fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera in Italy will run from 22 September until 14 October 2018. The programme of lectures and concerts is organized under the artistic direction of composer Federico Ermirio. Below is a list of dates and times for the events at the festival.

22 September, 5pm, 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
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
E. Lasorla, tenor; M. 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
S. Braun, soprano; A. Hinrichsen, piano
Sibelius / Grieg

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

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

13 October, 6pm, Teatrino Comunale, Portofino
G. Giovannoni & R. Pellegrino, accordions
Sibelius /Kolz / Solotariov / Olkzak / Piazzolla

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

E. & O.E.

Further information: www.sibeliusfestival.com

Sibelius i Korpo 2018

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
Oskar Merikanto: Venhelaulu for 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’
Sibelius: Ljunga Wirginia, ‘opera’ for violin, cello & piano four hands
Sibelius: En visa, JS 71, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Soluppgång, JS 37, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Den första kyssen, Op. 37 No. 1, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: De trenne blinda systrar from ‘Pelléas och Mélisande’, Op. 46, 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)
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: extracts from the opera ‘Pohjan neiti’ arr. for kantele and for piano four hands
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.

 

 

 

Dinosaur named after Sibelius

Dinosaur fossils discovered near Jyväskylä in Finland have been identified as previously unknown species and have been named Sibeliusaurus.

Remains of a number of the creatures – an adult male, an adult female and five female offspring – were found near the small village of Hoho, in boggy ground that has permitted an unprecedented amount of information to be gathered about their appearance, diet and living habits.

It is believed that Sibeliusaurus lived primarily in what is now Finland, but roamed regularly to neighbouring countries and maybe even as far afield as what is now the east coast of North America.

The creature was an omnivore and the remains found at Hoho clearly show traces of a rich and varied diet – plainly it was an Epicurean among dinosaurs, consuming large quantities of Petersonbergeres (a prehistoric mollusc, distant ancestor of the modern oyster, evidently somewhat indigestible).

Comparable species include the Carolusnielsenisaur, mostly found in Denmark, and the mountain-dwelling Griegoraptor from Norway.

Evidence suggests that Sibeliusaurus preferred to live either in solitude or in large herds, and often remained in close proximity to a number of large migratory bird-like creatures.

The creature’s ultimate extinction was not linked to the infamous meteor strike that wiped out many dinosaur species but seems to have been cause by a genetic mutation. Analysis of the fossilized eggs and young of the species suggests that the creature could produce only female offspring.

Emulating recent research into Tyrannosaurus Rex that has revealed the sound it made (as featured on a recent BBC documentary), palaeontologist Dr Aprilli Pila of the Luonnontieteellinen Museo (Natural History Museum) in Helsinki has released a reconstruction of what Sibeliusaurus sounded like. The audio can be heard here:

 

 

Six Humoresques: new edition

A new edition of the Six Humoresques, Opp. 87 & 89, has been released by Fennica Gehrman. The new edition is for violin and piano, and is based on the Urtext of the orchestral version. The solo part is corrected and amended according to the composer’s manuscripts. Misprints and misinterpretations found in earlier editions have been corrected.

Sibelius composed the Humoresques in 1917–18 and, as his biographer Erik Tawast­stjerna observed, they capture ‘the lyrical, dancing soul of the violin’. Sibelius himself remarked that they show ‘the anguish of existence… fitfully lit up by the sun’. They were originally for violin and orchestra but have also been performed in an earlier piano reduction by Karl Ekman – about which, however, Sibelius wrote: ‘The piano arrangemenrs by Karl Ekman are not good. They give a wholly false impression of the Humoresques.’

Rather than using the Ekman version, Jani Kyllönen has made a completely new piano reduction for this edition, following the orchestral texture closely.

ISBN-13: 9790550112742
Price: €38.50
Publisher: Fennica Gehrman
Print year: 2018
Length: 53 pages
More information and orders: click here

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Sibelius Festival

Jukka-Pekka Saraste (photo: © Felix Broede)

A Sibelius Festival is being organized by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2019, at de Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam.

The event comprises two symphony concerts, a chamber performance and a song recital, and will feature a number of top-rank Finnish musicians.

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.

The song recital is by Helena Juntunen with pianist Eveliina Kytömäki. The chamber performance 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.

The chamber performance and first orchestral concert take place on Friday 17 May, at 17.00 and 20.15 respectively.

The song recital and second orchestral concert are on Sunday 19 May, at 13.00 and 14.15 respectively.

Ticket sales commence on 15 May 2018.

For more information click here.

 

Composer of the Week

Jean Sibelius, 1913 (Photo: Daniel Nyblin / Public Domain)

Sibelius is Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3 in the week beginning Monday 12 February 2018. Donald Macleod will present a series of hour-long programmes exploring Sibelius’s life and work each weekday at 12.00.

Monday: ‘Janne’
Vattendroppar · Violin Concerto · Serenad · Piano Quintet (1st mov.)

Tuesday: ‘From Happiness to Despair’
Kullervo’s Death · Impromptu in B minor · The Swan of Tuonela · Symphony No. 1 (finale) · Malinconia

Wednesday: ‘Drowning Sorrows’
Finlandia Hymn · Symphony No. 2 (finale) · In memoriam · Pohjola’s Daughter · The Maiden with the Roses (Swanwhite)

Thursday: ‘A Mountain to be Climbed’
Valse triste · Symphony No. 4 · The Bells of Kallio Church · Symphony No. 5 (finale)

Friday: ‘A Mystery at the End’
Two Schybergson songs · Symphony No. 6 · Chorus of the Winds; Prospero; Dance Episode (The Tempest) · Andante festivo · Sydämeni laulu

Presenter Donald Macleod was educated in Glasgow and at St Andrew’s University where he studied psychology. He began his career as a presenter in 1982 on BBC Radio 3 and for BBC1’s 60 minutes as a TV reporter and newsreader.

The programmes will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast.

Further information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09r40xp