Avoid mosquitos – listen to Sibelius!

Photo: © Petro Pynnönen

Mosquitos – the curse of the Finnish summer for anybody who ventures into the countryside.

But new research indicates that there is a simple way to keep these irritating insects away: play or listen to music by Sibelius!

A research project under controlled conditions involving 20 brave human volunteers and several million mosquitos (sourced from the Sibelius Forest near Hämeenlinna) has shown that the insects react in very different ways when played music by different composers – and Sibelius’s music came top of the list for keeping them away.

The 20-minute-long tests were carried out in controlled netted areas, and (to simulate potential real life situations) recordings of various pieces of music were played back on a mobile phone. When music by Sibelius was tested, the mosquitos formed an orderly swarm in the immediate vicinity of the phone and did not bother the human test subjects at all. Project leader Prof. E. Ticker said: ‘We were very surprised the the mosquitos reacted in this way, and cannot yet explain this behaviour. It may be that they recognized the nature imagery in the music; or it may simply be they they have far more sophisticated cultural tastes than was hitherto believed.’ He continued: ‘We do, however, recommend that you refrain from answering your mobile phone if it rings while mosquitos are swarming around it.’

Below are selected test results for various musical works:

Sibelius: Tapiola: reduction of frequency and severity of mosquito bites by approx. 100%.

Peterson-Berger: Arnljot: A slight decrease in bites, ascribed to the insects and human test subjects becoming very drowsy.

Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony: no measurable change in frequency of mosquito bites, but several cows from a neighbouring farm gathered round and looked over a gate at the experiment.

Lordi: Hard Rock Halleluja: an increase in mosquito bites of approx. 15%

Stockhausen: Dienstag aus Licht: test abandoned because mosquitos and human test subjects rapidly left the test zone.

Finlandia, Valse triste and other works: JSW critical edition

Jean Sibelius: Complete Works (JSW) – SON 630

Series I (Orchestral works) Vol. 22: Revisions and arrangements for orchestra (Finlandia, Op. 26, Valse triste, Op. 44 No. 1, Kurkikohtaus, Op. 44 No. 2, Canzonetta, Op. 62a, Valse romantique, Op. 62b, Valse lyrique, Op. 96a, Valse chevaleresque, Op. 96c) edited by Timo Virtanen

Title page of SON 630

Click here for our review of this important new issue in the JSW Critical Edition.

New Breitkopf & Härtel publications

Breitkopf & Härtel has issued more works by Sibelius as separate publications based on existing volumes in the acclaimed JSW critical edition.

Each new issue includes a thorough introductory essay in German and English and the newly edited Urtext of the full score itself, but not the facsimile photos and extensive critical comments of the full editions.

The four Lemminkäinen tone poems (Op. 22) are all here presented, edited by Tuija Wicklund. Here we have the standard, final versions of each piece (early versions, where available, are available in the full hardback JSW edition: SON 618). After the first performances in 1896 and 1897, Sibelius soon revised The Swan of Tuonela (which was soon to become very popular) and Lemminkäinen’s Return for publication, but left the two other pieces unissued for nearly forty years before giving them a final revision. The entire cycle in its definitive version was published in 1954.

The final versions are all included in the hardback volume SON 619. Orchestral parts are available as hire material.

Another work from the same year as the original Lemminkäinen, 1896, and bearing an adjacent opus number (Op. 21) is the hymn Natus in curas for male choir a cappella, and the Urtext of this piece too has been issued separately. It was composed for the unveiling of a monument and has a Latin text by Fridolf Gustafsson (1853–1924), professor at Helsinki University. The work was included in a choral collection published in 1899, for which Sibelius made small revisions. This version was published in the JSW Complete Edition (SON 624), edited by Sakari Ylivuori, from which the new volume is extracted.

Click below for more information and orders:
Lemminkäinen and the Maidens on the Island: PB 5582, ISMN: 979-0-004-21392-6, €51.90
The Swan of Tuonela: PB 5583, ISMN: 979-0-004-21393-3, €18.90
Lemminkäinen in Tuonela: PB 5584, ISMN: 979-0-004-21394-0, €38.90
Lemminkäinen’s Return: PB 5585, ISMN: 979-0-004-21395-7, €41.90
Hymn ‘Natus in curas’: ChB 5370, ISMN: 979-0-004-41300-5, €3.20


Sibelius One magazine available as pdf

Sibelius One’s magazine is now also available to current members as a downloadable pdf file. Please log in and visit http://sibeliusone.com/sibelius-one-magazine/sibelius-one-magazine-pdf-downloads/ to access these files.

To see a list of contents for each magazine, add the printed version to your subscription or order back copies, please click here.

Sibelius_One_Mag_2015-01-1   Magazine-201607-frontwww    

Appeal for 1,200 pages of Sibelius

We draw your attention to the following urgent appeal from Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of the works of Jean Sibelius, also reported on the Slipped Disc website:
‘Some time ago, a large and valuable collection of Sibelius manuscripts which had been in a publishing archive in Germany since the early 1900s, was offered again for sale. The collection includes over 1,200 pages of various manuscripts, including Sibelius’s own purely written notes for the string quartet Voces intimae, the Svanevit suite for orchestra, and the music for the plays Pelléas and Mélisande and Belshazzar’s Feast, arranged for piano. In addition, the collection contains important source material for the violin concerto, the third symphony and the symphonic poem Night Ride and Sunrise. Now the fate of the collection – the largest known in the Sibelius research circle still wanders without a permanent home in the world – seems to be completely unclear. As a national treasure, Sibelius’s manuscripts are invaluable.
‘Today, a disaster is again imminent: one of our national treasures is in danger of ending up in an unknown country and at an unknown address. I hope it is a common interest, but also our duty and responsibility to nurture our unique national property and cultural heritage.’
If you have information concerning the wherebouts of these important manuscripts, please e-mail us [click here] and we’ll pass the information on to Timo Virtanen.

Sixth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera

The Sixth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera will take place in the autumn of 2020 in the Tigullio Gulf (eastern Liguria, Italy) in some of the places familiar to Jean Sibelius: Santa Margherita Ligure and Chiavari. The dates are 25–27 September, 2–4 October and 9–11 October.

Among the artists invited are the Chamber Ensemble of London, Myrsky string ensemble, pianists Folke Gräsbeck (artist in residence since the first festival in 2015) and Dario Bonuccelli, violinists Peter Fisher and Olivier Pons, flautist Elena Cecconi, baritone Petri Kirkkomäki and other soloists and groups. Federico Ermirio is artistic director of the festival.

Further details will be released in the coming months and will be listed at www.sibeliusfestival.com.

For details of hotels (various categories), restaurants and local sights, write to: sibeliusfestival@gmail.com.


Rare Sibelius in Bedford

Sibelius’s rarely heard cantata The Captive Queen (Vapautettu kuningatar) will be performed in Bedford on Saturday 8 February 2020.

The concert also includes music by Beethoven, Strauss, Desyatnikov, Ešenvalds, Bruckner and Verdi. It is performed by the Bedford Great Ouse Orchestra and Choir conducted by Christopher Ridley (timpanist of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden). This is a charity concert in aid of the Bedford Homeless Partnership.

Sibelius’s single-movement cantata was written for a patriotic event in 1906, celebrating the centenary of the birth of the statesman and philosopher Johan Vilhelm Snellman (1806–81), an influential champion of the Finnish language who played a major role in the establishment of a Finnish cultural identity. It has a text by Paavo Cajander (1846–1913), telling of a queen, imprisoned in a castle, who is liberated by a young hero. Sibelius himself conducted its first performance in Helsinki on 12th May 1906.

Venue: St Andrew’s Church, Bedford
7.30 pm, Saturday 8 February 2020
Tickets: £10 from eventbrite.co.uk or 07970 751270

Facebook: Great Ouse Orchestra
Twitter: @BedfordConcert




All-Sibelius concert in Stratford

Intimate Voices is the title of an orchestral concert by the Orchestra of the Swan conducted by Tom Hammond, with Tamsin Waley-Cohen, violin, to be held at the Stratford Playhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon on 21 January 2020.

The all-Sibelius programme includes works that are rarely heard in concert as well as favourites such as The Swan of Tuonela and the Seventh Symphony.

The Orchestra of the Swan was founded in 1995 and is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. It give over 45 concerts a year and has performed in China, Mexico, Turkey and the United States. It also has recorded extensively to great acclaim. The orchestra is passionate about promoting new music and has premièred more than 70 new works.

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 has built a reputation for developing ensembles musically whilst engaging in thoughtful programming, championing living composers, developing relationships with outstanding soloists and establishing outreach programmes.

Click here to watch Tom Hammond’s podcast in which he discusses the music of Sibelius.

Former ECHO Rising Star Tamsin Waley-Cohen has established herself as one of the most insightful and versatile young British violinists. She has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, RPO, LPO, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She is a recording artist for Signum records

Sibelius              The Swan of Tuonela (Lemminkäinen Suite)
Sibelius              The Tempest Suite No. 2
Sibelius              Four Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 89
Sibelius              Kuolema: Scene with Cranes
Sibelius              Symphony No. 7

Tickets can already be ordered online:
Click here for tickets

Note: the previously planned extra performance in Birmingham has been cancelled.


Sibelius Board Game

A Sibelius-themed board game has been released by Suomen historiapelit. The game is one of a series of board games on topics from Finnish history.

Sibelius’s compositions gave Finland a place on the world stage at a time when the country had yet to attain its independence. How did this son of a young widow grow into a revered maestro who rubbed shoulders with kings and presidents? And what is synesthesia, and how did it affect the composer’s life? In this game, you can relive Sibelius’s childhood in Hämeenlinna and his final years in Ainola in Järvenpää, join him in his studies abroad, take part in his travels around the world, and witness the creation of a Finnish identity.


In the game, the players’ movements around the game board are dictated by dice-throws. If a player lands on one of 28 numbered points, a historical booklet drawing upon events from the composer’s life is consulted, which gives instructions as to how to proceed. Instructions and rules are in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Price €34. Available from https://historiapelit.omaverkkokauppa.fi/SIBELIUS