Sibelius One Magazine, January 2021

The January 2021 issue of Sibelius One’s magazine has arrived from the printer’s and is now being sent out to subscribers. It includes the following articles:

  • Sibelius and the Symphonic Poem – Tuomas Kinberg
  • My Grandfather Jean Sibelius and the Finnish Colour in his Music – Satu Jalas
  • Jean Sibelius in the Netherlands – Rob Ebbers 
  • Jean and Aino: In the very trees of Ainola – Leon Chia
  • The Kerava Connection – Andrew Barnett 
  • Karajan’s Sibelius – Peter Frankland

Please click here for further information about our magazine and how to obtain copies.

Happy New Year 2021 – Sibeliplus and minus

A very Happy New Year to all members and friends of Sibelius One!

Our 2021 New Year Quiz is a series of mathematical riddles related to Sibelius and his music. Click here to go to the quiz – and good luck!

Why not also try your hand at our previous years’ teasers – click here to find them all.

Image credits:
Background: © 2018 Santeri Viinamäki (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0, cropped and tinted)
Sibelius: Pietinen, 1935 / Museovirasto, CC BY 4.0

JSW critical edition of the Fourth Symphony reviewed

Symphony No. 4 in A minor, Op. 63
Jean Sibelius Complete Works (JSW), Series I (Orchestral works) Vol. 5 – SON 635
edited by Tuija Wicklund

Sibelius, around the time of the Fourth Symphony

With the Fourth Symphony, the JSW (Jean Sibelius Werke) edition arrives at a crucial work in the composer’s output: the darkest and most unsmiling of his symphonies, and the one in which he comes closest to musical expressionism. Breitkopf & Härtel published the symphony in 1912 and now, more than a century later, comes this definitive critical edition of the score.

Click here to read our review of this exciting new publication.
Further information and orders:

Major Sibelius manuscript collection moves to the National Library of Finland

Title page of the Third Symphony

The National Library of Finland, home to the world’s largest treasury of Sibelius manuscripts, has acquired a further significant collection.

The new additions include assorted manuscripts for nine works. The material is over 1,230 pages long, and comes from the German publishing house Lienau, which published a number of major works by Sibelius in the first decade of the 20th century, including the Violin Concerto, Third Symphony, the symphonic poems Pohjola’s Daughter and Night Ride and Sunrise, and the Voces intimae string quartet. The material now acquired includes manuscripts of all these works, except Pohjola’s Daughter, the manuscript of which was sold at auction in 2016.

At the core of the collection are fair copies of major scores in Sibelius’s own hand. These include Voces intimae, the incidental music for Strindberg’s play Svanevit (Swanwhite) and the Eight Josephson Songs, Op. 57. The material reveals how much of a piano four-hands arrangement of the Third Symphony was by the Russian-born Swiss composer Paul Juon and how much was done by Sibelius himself. There is also the score that Richard Strauss used to conduct the première of the revised version of the Violin Concerto in Berlin in 1905, including markings made by Strauss in pencil.

Title page of the incidental music for ‘Swanwhite’

The manuscript material is crucial for research as well as being a valuable cultural and national heritage. At present, no permits are issued for the export of Sibelius manuscripts from Finland. At the National Library, the material is kept in ideal conditions for current and future generations of researchers and musicians.

Professor Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of the Jean Sibelius Works (JSW) critical edition based at the National Library, remarks: ‘Sibelius’s manuscripts attract researchers and musicians from all over the world to the National Library; they are an inexhaustible source of research information and inspiration. We researchers are grateful to all those who made it possible to save the manuscript collection for Finland.’ The acquisition was made possible in part through grants and donations, for example from the the Ella & Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, the Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation and Elsa Fromond, as well as three other private sponsors.

Source (text and images): National Library of Finland
Information in Finnish and link to more images: click here

Lahti Independence Day Concert online

Dima Slobodeniouk and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra        Photo: © Maarit Kytöharju

Owing to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the Finnish Independence Day concert by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk will this year take place online.

The concert can be heard on Sunday 6 December at 3 pm Finnish time (1 pm UK time).

Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Sibelius: Finlandia
Pacius (arr. Kajanus): Maamme
Duration: approx. 1 hour

Click here for a link to the concert.

Concert from Ainola online

Ainola (photo: © SIbelius One)

A concert from Sibelius’s home, Ainola, will be made available to listen to online on  8 December 2020, Jean Sibelius birthday. The concert will be accessible on Ainola’s website until 8 January 2021, and after that it can be heard on YouTube.

Miina and Mihkel Järvi will play music by Sibelius for violin and piano, and Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt.

Miina and Mikhel Järvi
(Photos: Ainola website)

Miina Järvi (b. 1983) started to play the violin at the age of four in Tallinn. In 1995 she continued her studies in Lahti, Finland with Pertti Sutinen and, from 2003, at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki with Erkki Kantola and  Mari Tampere-Bezrodny, graduating in 2010. She has enjoyed competition success and  has participated in many masterclasses. She  performs around Europe as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player, and has arranged her own chamber music festival in Estonia.

Mihkel Järvi began his piano studies in 1992 at the Tallinn Music High School. In 1995, he enrolled at the Päijät-Häme Conservatoire in Lahti, and in 2004 at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has also studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum and in numerous masterclasses. He has won prizes in numerous competitions and has performed as a soloist all over Europe. He is an active chamber musician and one of the organisers of the Lihula Music Days.

The duration of the concert is approx. 45 minutes and it can be heard on Ainola’s website at 6 pm Finnish time (UTC+2; 4 pm UK time).

Scaramouche – Sibelius’s horror story

Einar Rinne as Scaramouche
(© Finnish Theatre Museum Archive)

We are delighted to annouce the publication of a comprehensive article by Eija Kurki about Sibelius’s ballet-pantomime Scaramouche (1913, text by Poul Knudsen). This article is based on extensive new research and gives a detailed account of the historical background, the genesis of the music, its performance history and much more. A full list of sources is included.

Eija Kurki D. Phil. published her dissertation Satua, kuolemaa ja eksotiikkaa. Jean Sibeliuksen vuosisadan alun näyttämömusiikkiteokset (Fairy-tale, Death and Exoticism. Jean Sibelius’s Theatre Music from the Beginning of the 20th Century) in 1997. She has written numerous articles in various specialist publications both in Finland and internationally (e.g. Sibelius Studies, Cambridge University Press 2001).

The article is an expanded version of the essay published in Sibelius One’s Magazine in January 2020.

Please click here to read the article online or download it as a pdf file.

Robert Layton 1930–2020

Robert Layton at the 2010 Sibelius Conference
at his alma mater, Worcester College Oxford.

It is with great sadness that we record the death of the musicologist and distinguished Sibelius expert Robert Layton.

Robert Layton studied music at Worcester College, Oxford, under Edmund Rubbra and Egon Wellesz and went on to study at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm. For much of his long career he worked for the BBC, giving talks and producing concerts. He also wrote reviews for Gramophone magazine and was one of the authors of the renowned Penguin Record Guide alongside Ivan March and Edward Greenfield.

Robert Layton’s excellent ‘Sibelius’ volume in Dent’s Master Musicians Series

He was known for his love of Nordic and French music, and was a distinguished expert on composers including Sibelius, Nielsen and Berwald. His Sibelius volume in Dent’s Master Musicians Series (1965, rev. 1978) has remained one of the most insightful, readable and most frequently quoted introductions to Sibelius’s music, and his three-volume English translation of Erik Tawaststjerna’s Sibelius biography is an indispensable contribution to Sibelius scholarship. In recognition of his work he was awarded the Sibelius medal and became a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.

Layton’s sense of humour was often understated but sophisticated and very keen. Seemingly embarrassed once by the clonking of some wine bottles in his bag as he arrived at a concert in Helsinki’s Kallio Church, he immediately remarked: ‘I always feel a little embarrassed taking wine into a church – but I don’t see why I should be; after all, they do dispense the stuff.’ His knowledge and wisdom will be greatly missed.

Robert Layton
2 May 1930 – 9 November 2020