The theme for the 2015 Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival is time. The total of more than 70 concerts will address the turning points in centuries, the seasons, the eternal circle of transfer and many other time-related subjects. In keeping with the Kuhmo tradition, each day will include both chamber music classics and exciting discoveries.
The festival begins on Sunday 12th July 2015 with a Bach motet and ends on Saturday 25th July with Piazzolla’s Four Seasons. In between, there will be music from the 17th to the 21st century, with five to six concerts each day.
The performers are celebrated musicians and ensembles from Finland and all over the world. The Kuhmo Chamber Music concerts will be held at the modern Kuhmo Arts Centre hall with its excellent acoustics, the traditional Kontio School, Kuhmo’s imposing Church, the intimate Burial Chapel and the Petola Visitor Centre. There will also be concerts at Vuokatti and in Iisalmi.
Works by Jean Sibelius to be performed at the Kuhmo Festival during his 150th anniversary year are: Valse triste, Op. 44 No. 1 (in the composer’s own piano arrangement) Five Pieces, Op. 75, ‘The Trees’ for piano Piano Trio in C major, ‘Lovisa’, JS 208 Pelléas et Mélisande, Suite, Op. 46 String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56, ‘Voces intimae’ Kom nu hit, död! (Come Away, Death!), Op. 60/1 (arranged for voice, harp and strings by the composer) Valse chevaleresque, Op. 96c (piano version) Evige Eros, Op. 84 No. 4, for male choir a cappella (performed by vocal quintet)
A new play about Sibelius
by Antti Vihinen will be premièred
in Hämeenlinna in February 2015
‘Fateful connections’ is a beautiful term. For example, the German Jewish composer Gustav Mahler once met Jean Sibelius, who was in favour in Nazi Germany. They discussed music, not politics. There was a remarkable connection between the two composers’ fates: both of them composed a vocal work about the death of a child. Sibelius’s piece, well-known to all Finns, was the choral song Sydämeni laulu (Song of my Heart); Mahler’s contribution was the Kindertotenlieder. In both cases, one of the composer’s children died shortly after the music was composed.
In Sibelius’s birth house in Hämeenlinna there is a drawing from Sibelius’s childhood. The Sibelius family is on an excursion; their mother is sheltering the children under parasols. High up in the sky is a hot air balloon, from the basket of which little Janne, Finland’s future national composer Jean Sibelius, looks down and watches the world going by.
A talented person affects and leaves traces in his environment. For an artist the process of composition may be a solitary experience, but the finished result becomes our common property, art that defines the people, and a measure of national self-esteem. The play Sibelius – Fateful Connections also explores Jean Sibelius’s significance for Finnishness. What happens to a person when he changes from being himself to being a monument? What would Sibelius say to poets such as Pentti Saarikoski or Arto Melleri? What would his dream of Mannerheim be like? How can someone who listens to the music of the spheres get by? What are the dreams of a passionate person? How can he survive in a world that has fallen into absurdity?
Antti Vihinen’s multi-layered, opulent dream play Sibelius – Fateful Connections presents a wild fresco of an exceptional creative individual’s life based on the traces he left in the world.
First performance 12.2.2015
Hämeenlinna Theatre (in Finnish)
Script Antti Vihinen Direction Sakari Kirjavainen Starring Ilkka Heiskanen, Katariina Kuisma-Syrjä, Matti Nurminen, Tommi Rantamäki, Mikko Töyssy, Lasse Sandberg, Turkka Mastomäki, Birgitta Putkonen, Maiju-Riina Huttunen
Wednesday 2.9.2015 at 4.30 pm – Kalevi Aho Hall Jaakko Kuusisto, violin – Heini Kärkkäinen, piano En glad musikant (A Happy Musician) for solo violin, JS 70 Three Pieces for violin and piano, Op. 116 Sonata in F major for violin and piano, JS 178 Five Danses champêtres, Op. 106
Friday 4.9.2015 at 3 pm – Kalevi Aho Hall Sibelius Piano Trio Piano Trio in C major, ‘Lovisa’, JS 208 Piano Trio in D major, ‘Korpo’, JS 209
Saturday 5.9.2015 at 12.30 pm – Kalevi Aho Hall Tempera Quartet Adagio in D minor, JS 12 String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56 ‘Voces intimae’ Andante festivo, JS 34a
The orchestra issued the following statement: ‘Die Wiener Philharmoniker bedauern außerordentlich, das bereits bekanntgegebene Programm des Neujahrskonzertes 2015 abändern zu müssen. Das im Gedenken an den 150. Geburtstag von Jean Sibelius angesetzte Werk Valse triste wird wegen unannehmbarer Forderungen des Verlages im Rahmen des Neujahrskonzertes 2015 nicht aufgeführt werden.’ [‘The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra greatly regrets that the previously announced programme for the New Year’s Concert 2015 must be changed. Valse triste, which had been included to mark the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius’s birth, will not be performed in the context of the 2015 New Year’s Concert owing to unacceptable demands from the publisher.’]
Breitkopf & Härtel deeply regrets the decision of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to withdraw Jean Sibelius’ “Valse triste” from the program of its 2015 New Year’s Concert.
As grounds for its withdrawal, the orchestra claims that the publisher is demanding excessively high fees. This is not the case. On the contrary, Breitkopf & Härtel’s initial offer was moderate already. Another substantial reduction of the fees, taking into consideration the special cultural aspect of the inauguration of the Sibelius Year in the framework of the New Year’s Concert, still failed to bring about an agreement.
The sole issue for the negotiation was the license fee claimed by the publisher for the film rights (synchronization rights). Only the broadcasting and public performance rights (via radio, television, etc.) of “Valse triste” are protected by performing rights organization (e.g. GEMA): they thus were not an issue in Breitkopf & Härtel’s contract offer. There were also no hire fees involved, since the sheet music to “Valse triste” is exclusively available as sales material and is subject to controlled prices in Germany and Austria.
Jean Sibelius would have deserved a “front row seat” at the concert marking the beginning of the year in which his 150th birthday will be celebrated far and wide.
The musical commentator Norman Lebrecht observed: ‘The amount requested by the publisher was 4,000 Euros. The Vienna Phil refused to pay more than 2,000. The orch recently trousered a million dollars from Sibelius’s near-compatriot… the Birgit Nilsson Foundation. Have they no shame? Absolutely none.’
Sibelius’s birthplace museum in Hämeenlinna will open for extended hours until the end of 2015. During the winter months it will be open from 12 noon until 4 pm; from May to August from 10 am until 4 pm – every day including Mondays.
Sibelius’s birthplace is a modest Empire-style wooden house built in 1834 in the centre of Hämeenlinna. Here he spent the first three years of his life, although he lived at other addresses in Hämeenlinna until 1885. The house has been a museum since the 1960s and contains many Sibelius-related exhibits and items contemporary with the composer’s early years. The building is also a venue for chamber concerts.
The Sibelius & Korpo festival, in the Turku archipelago, will take place on 17th–19th July 2015. Held in the small island village where Sibelius spent the summer holiday in 1887, this gem of a festival features concerts in the village’s 13th-century stone church and at Korpo gård, where Sibelius himself made music together with his family and friends in 1887.
Musicians at the 2015 festival include the Flinders Quartet from Melbourne, Australia, leading singers including Hedvig Paulig, Monica Groop and Gabriel Suovanen, the choirs Brahe Djäknar (male voices) and Florakören (women’s voices), and the pianist Folke Gräsbeck, who is also artistic director of the festival. This year’s festival is devoted exclusively to works by Sibelius, including a wide selection of his string quartet music, the Piano Quintet in G minor and the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower) in the composer’s own version with for soloists, choir and piano.
Further information will be posted later. If you are interested in attending the festival please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sixth International Jean Sibelius Conference will be organized by the Sibelius Birth Town Foundation in Hämeenlinna, Finland on 4th–8th December 2015. The 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius will be celebrated in Finland and all over the world during the course of the year. The organizing committee is pleased to invite all friends of Sibelius’s music to Hämeenlinna, ‘the World Capital of Sibelius’.