Page 1 of the Scherzo from Op. 4, from the Sibelius collection of the National Library of Finland (HUL 0552)
The next release in the JSW Critical Edition is now imminent, and includes all the works by Sibelius for string orchestra. JSW is published by the National Library of Finland, the Sibelius Society of Finland and the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden).
Jean Sibelius wrote eight works for string orchestra over a wide time span stretching from the early 1890s until 1939. Many of these are either arrangements of earlier compositions or were composed in conjunction with a piano version. In addition to strings, additional instruments are used in some pieces (timpani, triangle, flutes, harp).
This new volume contains three first publications: two versions of the Impromptus and the early version of Rakastava. During the editing process, some previously unknown source materials have come to light. These include the score and parts from Andante festivo’s first performance (1939) in the YLE archive as well as another contemporary score with parts in the archive of Ylioppilaskunnan Soittajat. These new sources have significantly expanded the understanding of this work.
Edited by Pekka Helasvuo and Tuija Wicklund
1. Scherzo (Presto – from Op. 4)
2. Impromptu, Op. 5 No. 5
3. Impromptu, Op. 5 Nos 5–6 (early version)
4. Impromptu, Op. 5 Nos 5–6 (revised version)
5. Rakastava, Op. 14 (early version)
6. Rakastava, Op. 14 (revised version)
7. Romance in C, Op. 42
8. Suite mignonne, Op. 98a
9. Suite champêtre, Op. 98b
10. Suite caractéristique, Op. 100
11. Andante festivo, JS 34b
Breitkopf & Härtel have made the Urtext of one of Sibelius’s most popular piano pieces, the Romance in D flat major, Op. 24 No. 9, available separately.
The ten pieces that make up Op. 24 were composed between 1895 and 1903 and include some of the finest examples of nationalistic romanticism in Sibelius’s piano œuvre. The Romance in D flat major is the ninth piece in the set and was composed in 1901 as a Christmas gift for Axel Carpelan.
Click here to read our review of three recent Sibelius publications from Breitkopf & Härtel: the study score of Skogsrået (The Wood-Nymph), a selection of 18 piano pieces and the manuscript facsimiles of Luonnotar.
Jean Sibelius Complete Works (JSW)
Overture in E major, JS 145, and Balettscen, JS 163,
edited by Tuija Wicklund
Back in the 1970s, when Paavo Berglund’s pioneering work to introduce Kullervo as a concert work was under way, there was scarcely any public awareness of Sibelius’s output prior to En saga. Nowadays, thankfully, the situation is very different, with his substantial corpus of early chamber music at last beginning to find the recognition it deserves. The works in this new JSW volume, written while Sibelius was a student in Vienna in 1890–91, bridge the gap between those early chamber works and Kullervo.
The latest release in Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW critical edition of Sibelius’s music contains two orchestral rarities: the Overture in E major, JS 145, and Ballettscen, JS 163. These are Sibelius’s first two purely orchestral works, dating from his study year in Vienna (1890–91).
This volume is edited by Tuija Wicklund. Among the new information revealed in the volume is that the ending of Ballettscen was changed: the one in the autograph manuscript differs from the one in the score made by the copyist Ernst Röllig.
The catalogue number is SON 627 and the volume costs €141.88.
In March 2015 a volume of selected piano pieces will appear, drawn from the Sibelius Piano Works, ed. by Kari Kilpeläinen and Anna Pulkkis (EB 8855, EUR 15.90).
In April 2015 a special volume will be issued: a full-colour facsimile reproduction of Luonnotar (score and piano-vocal reduction) – a composition which counts among the most modern works by Sibelius. The editor is Timo Virtanen (SON 626, EUR 79.00 – introduction price valid until 8th December, 2015!).
A new ‘Breitkopf Study Score’ will feature the long-neglected orchestral work Skogsrået (The Wood-Nymph) (PB 5564). This will be its first publication apart from the volume of the Complete Edition, ed. by Tuija Wicklund.
Further volumes of the Complete Edition are scheduled in 2015:
– Piano Works 4 (Works without opus numbers), ed. by Anna Pulkkis (SON 623)
– Works for Male Choir a cappella, ed. by Sakari Ylivuori (SON 624)
– Scènes historiques I, Op. 25 and II. Op. 66, ed. by Kari Kilpeläinen (SON 625).
At Villa Gyllenberg in Helsinki – one of Finland’s foremost private museums – on 15th December 2014 the pianist Folke Gräsbeck was awarded the Sibelius Medal of the Sibelius Society of Finland, presented by Lauri Tarasti, president of the society since 2009. This medal has been awarded since 1965 and was designed by Eila Hiltunen, who also created the Sibelius monument. The medal is awarded both to individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements as performers or supporters of Sibelius’s music, as well as to researchers. Previous recipients have included Urho Kekkonen (President of Finland), Aino Sibelius, Herbert von Karajan and many of Finland’s foremost conductors. In 2010 the medal was awarded to Sibelius One’s Andrew Barnett.
Folke Gräsbeck is the foremost exponent of Sibelius’s music for and including the piano. The American magazine Fanfare wrote of his recordings: ‘Gräsbeck makes a most persuasive case for just about all of this music, and Sibelius’s output for solo piano will likely never again be recorded as comprehensively or as well.’
The medal was presented at an event to mark the launch of the new critical edition of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW series. The new volume (SON 622) is edited by Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of JSW, includes not only the familiar 1905 version of the concerto but also the original 1903/04 version, with detailed comments both in the preface and the critical report. The launch event included a performance of the revised version of the concerto in Sibelius’s own arrangement for violin and piano, performed by Petteri Iivonen – second prize winner in the 2010 International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition and Folke Gräsbeck. After receiving the medal Folke Gräsbeck played a piano solo rarity, the Largo in A major, JS 117 (1888).