New Sibelius book by Daniel Grimley

A new book on Sibelius by Daniel M. Grimley, Jean Sibelius: Life, Music, Silence, has just been published by Reaktion Books.

Daniel Grimley is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford and Douglas Algar tutorial fellow at Merton College. His books include Delius and the Sound of Place (2018).

To quote the publisher’s website: ‘Few composers have enjoyed such critical acclaim – or longevity – as Jean Sibelius, who died in 1957 aged 91. Always more than simply a Finnish national figure, an “apparition from the woods” as he ironically described himself, Sibelius’s life spanned turbulent and tumultuous events, and his work is central to the story of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century music. This book situates Sibelius within a rich interdisciplinary environment, paying attention to his relationship with architecture, literature, politics and the visual arts. Drawing on the latest developments in Sibelius research, it is intended as an accessible and rewarding introduction for the general reader, and also offers a fresh and provocative interpretation for those more familiar with his music.’

Notice of Sibelius One AGM 2021: date change!

Owing to the ongoing coronavirus situation Sibelius One’s Annual General Meeting in 2021 will once again take the form of a Zoom Cloud meeting. To enable more members to take part, we have changed the date and time of this meeting. The new timing is given below:

Annual General Meeting 2021

1 pm BST, 19 September 2021

Equivalent times around the world:
Sydney, Australia: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 22:00 AEST
Singapore, Singapore: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 20:00 SGT
Helsinki, Finland: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 15:00 EEST
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 14:00 CEST
London, United Kingdom: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 13:00 BST
New York, USA: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 08:00 EDT
Los Angeles, USA: Sun, 19 Sep 2021 at 05:00 PDT

To join the meeting:

All members are welcome to join the meeting – click here for link to the Zoom meeting, or to view or download the agenda

We look forward to seeing you on 19 September!


Lahti Sibelius Festival begins

The 2021 Sibelius Festival in Lahti begins today, 2 September 2021, with music by Timo Alakotila and Sibelius’s Kullervo, with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dalia Stasevska.

Audience numbers are restricted by Covid-19 regulations and the pandemic has prevented Sibelius One from organizing its usual group visit to the festival.

Click here for a list of the festival’s programmes.

The main concerts can, however, be seen online at the orchestra’s website/ClassicLive or on YouTube.
Link to the orchestra’s website/ClassicLive:
Link to the orchestra’s YouTube page:

Image from Lahti Symphony Orchestra website

Sibelius Piano Trios published

Newly released in Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW (Jean Sibelius Werke) series is the eagerly awaited critical edition of Sibelius’s music for piano trio, with the first publication of a number of large-scale, important and attractive works from Sibelius’s youth. The volume is edited by Anna Pulkkis and is prepared in collaboration with Folke Gräsbeck, who participated in the first recordings of all these works.

Included in the volume:
Allegro in D major, JS 27 (first version and revised version – fragment)
Andantino in G minor, JS 43
Menuetto in F major, JS 126
Trio for two violins and piano, JS 205
Trio in A minor, JS 206
Trio in A minor (‘Hafträsk Trio’), JS 207 (including 2 versions of first movement)
Trio in C major (‘Lovisa Trio”), JS 208
Trio in D major (‘Korpo Trio’), JS 209

Breitkopf & Härtel’s website: ‘Even before enrolling at the Helsinki Music Institute in 1885, Jean Sibelius had already composed several piano trios mainly intended for ensemble playing within his family and with his circle of friends. These works also gave young “Janne” the opportunity to try his compositional ideas out in practice. His last known work in this scoring originated in 1888. The volume of Jean Sibelius Works, edited by Anna Pulkkis, contains all piano trios, including the Hafträsk Trio, the Korpo Trio and Lovisa Trio… Already on display here are the melodic ingenuity and powerful expressive depth of Sibelius’s later works.’

Click here to order via Breitkopf & Härtel’s website:
Catalogue number: SON 631
Works for Piano Trio, edited by Anna Pulkkis
Price: €252.00
Series edited by the National Library of Finland and the Sibelius Society of Finland

The Sibelius family trio – Jean, Linda and Christian

Scène d’amour at Ainola

Luukas Hiltunen by Sibelius’s grave at Ainola

The arrangement by Luukas Hiltunen of the Scène d’amour from Sibelius’s ballet-pantomime Scaramouche has been played at a concert at the composer’s home, Ainola. The performance, on 26 July 2021, was given by the Kamus String Quartet (Terhi Paldanius and Jukka Untamala, violins; Jussi Tuhkanen, viola; Petja Kainulainen, cello) as part of ‘Meidän Festivaali’ (‘Our Festival’).

Scaramouche is one of the longest and most unusual of Sibelius’s large-scale scores, and the composer himself made piano arrangements of two passages (Danse élégiaque and Scène d’amour) and a violin/piano version of the Scène d’amour.

Luukas Hiltunen has previously made arrangements for symphony orchestra of Sibelius’s organ works Intrada and Surusoitto, and his First Symphony (2019–20) reflects his familiarity with Sibelius’s style of writing music for orchestra.

Previous performances of this arrangement have taken place on 23 March 2018 at the Church of the Cross, Lahti, Finland (Lahti Conservatory String Quartet), 21 July 2019 at the Sibelius Hall, Lahti (string quartet from Orkester Norden) and 1 May 2021 at Korundi House of Culture, Rovaniemi (Lapland Chamber Orchestra).

Members of the Kamus Quartet at Ainola’s Cafe Aulis

For more information about Scaramouche click here to read or download Eija Kurki’s in-depth article.

Instagram: luukas_hiltunen_musician
Music publisher (Scène d’amour): Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (product link: click here)

Photos © Luukas Hiltunen

First Night of the Proms 2021

Dalia Stasevska (Photo: © Nikolaj Lund)

Sibelius’s Second Symphony will be performed at the First Night of the BBC Proms 2021 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by its principal guest conductor, Dalia Stasevska.

7.30 pm, Friday 30 July 2021
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London
Tickets: £14 to £62 (plus booking fee)

Full programme:
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Francis Poulenc: Organ Concerto
Sir James MacMillan: When Soft Voices Die (world première)
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2

Elizabeth Llewellyn, soprano
Jess Dandy, contralto
Allan Clayton, tenor
Michael Mofidian, bass-baritone
Daniel Hyde, organ
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Dalia Stasevska, conductor

The concert can be seen on TV: first half on BBC Two at 8pm, second half on BBC Four at 9.05pm

Click here for link to BBC Proms website.


Sibelius Festival with Osmo Vänskä in Minnesota

Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra
(Photo: Greg Helgeson/Minnesota Orchestra)

The Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä have announced a Sibelius Festival in January 2022. Concerts will take place at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis.

The Sibelius Festival forms the centrepiece of the orchestra’s 2021–22 season; it features all seven of the Finnish composer’s symphonies, plus the original version of the Fifth, over three weeks, and celebrates the recording cycle that was completed by Vänskä and the orchestra in 2014, one recording of which received the Orchestra’s first Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Soprano Helena Juntunen and violinist Elina Vähälä  are the featured guests during the three-week festival. Vähälä will perform the rarely heard original version of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and, at a separate concert, the standard final version of the concerto. In addition, Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman hosts a special programme that explores the history behind the multiple versions of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony.

This season marks the end of Osmo Vänskä’s tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra after 19 years as music director. Beyond 2022, Vänskä and the orchestra will maintain their musical relationship, with Vänskä returning for ongoing concert engagements.

Programmes and dates:

Friday 31 December 2021, 8.30 pm
Saturday 1 January 2022, 2 pm
Symphony No. 7
Hertig Magnus*
Symphony No. 2
*Helena Juntunen, soprano

Friday 7 January 2022, 8 pm
Saturday 8 January 2022, 8 pm
Symphony No. 6
Violin Concerto (original version)*
Symphony No. 1
*Elina Vähälä, violin

Thursday 13 January 2022, 11 am
Friday 14 January 2022, 8 pm
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 3
Violin Concerto (final version)*
*Elina Vähälä, violin

Saturday 15 January 2022, 8 pm
Sunday 16 January 2022, 2 pm
Symphony No. 5 (final version and extended excerpts from original version)
Sam Bergman, host

Ticket packages can be reserved from 26 July 2021 onwards. Tickets for individual concerts will be on sale from 7 September.

Click here to visit the orchestra’s website with further information and booking options.

More about the orchestra’s 2021–22 season: click here.

Source: Minnesota Orchestra website

Coming soon from JSW: Symphony No. 6

Coming soon from Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW (Jean Sibelius Werke) series is the critical edition of the Sixth Symphony, Op. 104, edited for the project by Kai Lindberg.

Breitkopf & Härtel’s website comments:

‘Symphony, symphonic poem, fantasy, or something else entirely different? For a long time while working on the Sixth Symphony, Sibelius was not certain what his new orchestral work was now about to become or what to call it. He had to interrupt work on the symphony time and again during the Finnish civil war and because of financial difficulties that forced him to earn a living with “little things”. So, it is not surprising that many small ideas for other works repeatedly culminated in the Sixth. In a letter to a friend, he describes his early ideas for the work: “The 6th symphony is wild and turbulent in character. Gloomy with pastoral contrasts. Probably in 4 movements with a conclusion growing into a dark orchestral shower in which the main theme drowns.” The editor Kai Lindberg now presents the definitive version within the context of the Sibelius Complete Edition.

Click here for Breitkopf & Härtel’s website:
Catalogue number: SON 633 (Series I (Orchestral Works), Vol. 7:
Symphony No. 6, Op. 104 edited by Kai Lindberg
Series edited by the National Library of Finland and the Sibelius Society of Finland