The autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s piano piece Spagnuolo, JS 181, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York. The sale takes place on 13 December 2018 at 10.00am EST, and the piece has an estimated value of $20,000—$30,000. It is a fair copy, in black ink, in piano score on eleven systems, each of two staves. The manuscript clearly bears Sibelius’s signature. No place or date are indicated but the work dates from 1913, between the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies. Spagnuolo is a sparkling work, a Spanish dance viewed through Northern eyes.
It forms part of a sale of items from a private collection of music manuscripts and letters. In addition to music, the collection includes letters representing some of the world’s most renowned figures in the fields of art, literature, science and government. This exceptional collection of highly important material was amassed in the first half of the twentieth century.
Manuscript of an early version of Sibelius’s Autrefois found in the Lahti Conservatory music library
The manuscript in the composer’s own hand of a previously unknown early version of Sibelius’s Autrefois, Op. 96b, has been found in the library of the Lahti Conservatory among the materials dating from the Conservatory’s Viipuri years. The Conservatory can trace its origins back to the Viipuri College of Music, founded in 1918, and is thus celebrating its centenary this year. It was relocated to Lahti in 1940 and has operated in its current location since 1954. Nowadays the Conservatory is both a music school with 1,000 pupils and a vocational school for about 50 students aiming to become professional musicians.
The music library of the Lahti Conservatory includes material dating back to the early twentieth century from the Viipuri Friends of Music orchestral library and the Viipuri College of Music. The manuscript was discovered by Janne Kivistö, a Sibelius Academy music theory student working at the Lahti Conservatory. The score itself had been found in 2014 but at that time it was not recognized as an original manuscript by Sibelius and thus remained unnoticed. The Sibelius researcher and editor-in-chief of the JSW Complete Works critical edition, Timo Virtanen, has examined the manuscript and has described it as an exceptionally interesting and important discovery.
Autrefois is a work for small orchestra and two women’s voices (or clarinets) dating from 1919, with the subtitle ‘Scène pastorale’. This ‘new’ early version contains striking differences from the final version, for example in the accompaniment. The piece was first performed by the sopranos Sabine Dahlström and Clary Alfthan with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer in Helsinki on 1 December 1919. Sibelius conducted it on numerous later occasions as well.
The discovery of the manuscript amongst the materials from Viipuri may indicate that the composer took the score to Viipuri when he visited the city in 1923 to conduct the orchestra of the Viipuri College of Music.
The Conservatory is currently considering arranging a performance of the early version of Autrefois in the spring of 2019, to celebrate its 100th academic year.
On Saturday 17 November 2018 at 7.00pm a semi-staged performance (without vocal parts) of The Tempest with Sibelius’s original theatre music, preceded by Finlandia, will take place in Welwyn Garden City, performed by the Mid Herts Youth Orchestra conducted by Tom Hammond.
The performance is directed by Peter Avery, with actors from the Mid Herts Centre for Music & Arts Community.
The Mid Herts Youth Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra and plays on a weekly basis with the aim of giving young musicians the opportunity to play in a high-standard orchestral setting.
This event is supported financially by Sibelius One.
Venue: Ridgeway Academy, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL7 2AF (a 10-minute walk from the station / ample parking)
Programme: Scenes with Cranes from ‘Kuolema’ Violin Concerto (soloist: David Le Page) Symphony No. 2
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 is currently music director of the Essex, Hertford and St Albans Symphony Orchestras and the award-winning Yorkshire Young Sinfonia. He also holds positions with the Palestine Youth Orchestra and Ingenium Academy International Summer School, and regularly guest conducts with many groups including the Britten Sinfonia Academy and Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he was appointed conductor emeritus of Sinfonia Tamesa, of which he was music director between 2007 and 2017.
Born on the island of Guernsey, David Le Page began playing the violin at the age of seven. He was offered a place at the Yehudi Menuhin school when he was twelve and has since forged a diverse career as a performer, composer, producer and arranger. He appears regularly as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader and has formed a number of ensembles of his own.
Keen Sibelians watching the hit BBC thriller Killing Eve will no doubt have spotted that music by Sibelius featured in Episode 5, ‘I have at thing about bathrooms’. To accompany the scene where the assassin Villanelle is talking about death while preparing to kill Frank, the opening of Valse triste (slowed-down and stylized) is heard in the background.
The world première performance of a new arrangement by Lahti music student Luukas Hiltunen of Sibelius’s Intrada for organ, Op. 111a (1925), was given as an encore on the last night of the 2018 Sibelius Festival in Lahti (8 September 2018).
This sonorous and well-received arrangement was scored for full symphony orchestra (without percussion), and is dedicated to its performers, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dima Slobodeniouk.
Luukas Hiltunen has also made an arrangement of the companion organ piece, Surusoitto (Funeral Music).
Further information will be published in the January 2019 issue of Sibelius One’s magazine.
At a meeting on Saturday 8 September 2018, the Ainola Foundation decided to invite Julia Donner to become the new curator at Jean Sibelius’s home, Ainola. She will start work on Monday 8 October 2018. Her predecessor, Hanne Selkokari, will become an amanuensis at the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, starting on 15 October 2018.
Julia Donner is an art historian who has specialized in garden art and landscape architecture. Since 2012 she has taught and undertaken research at the Aalto University; she has written many books and articles. With specific reference to Ainola she has written ‘Oi terve tarhurineito…’: Aino Sibeliuksen puutarha (2006) and contributed to the book Ainola – The Home of Jean and Aino Sibelius (ed. Esko Häkli & Severi Blomstedt; Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura 2015)
Ainola’s summer season ends on Sunday 30 September 2018.