Tag Archives: manuscript

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.

Voces intimae for sale (updated)

The autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s String Quartet in D minor (‘Voces intimae’), Op. 56, signed twice (‘Jean Sibelius’), was offered for auction at the bi-annual Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts sale by Sotheby’s, London on 29 November 2016. The sale also offered the complete autograph manuscript of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony (‘Resurrection’).

This is the autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s most famous chamber work and features the original ending, which differs from the published version. The original ending can be heard on a recording by the Tempera Quartet on BIS-1466 (or BIS-1903/05).

The large number of new recordings of ‘Voces intimae’ (see e.g. our Discography & Recordings page) in recent years have confirmed its status as one of Sibelius’s middle-period masterpieces.

The quartet was completed in 1909 and published by Lienau the same year. Although this manuscript was used by Sibelius’s publisher to set up the first edition in 1909, it contains important differences from it. The final twenty-one bars differ markedly from the printed scores and were evidently completely rewritten on a later manuscript.

This is the sole surviving manuscript of the whole work.

Guide price: £ 200,000-300,000 € 222,000-333,000

Update: The manuscript of ‘Voces intimae’ remained unsold. The manuscript of Mahler’s Second Symphony was the star of the auction, selling for £4,546,250.

Click here for a list of the items sold and the prices fetched.

Click here for further information (pdf) about this and works by other composers that were be auctioned.