Monthly Archives: June 2015

A journey beyond the symphonies


Naxos has started to release a major series of recordings by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Leif Segerstam exploring Sibelius’s less familiar orchestral music.

The discs will be released at the rate of one per month until November 2015, and the repertoire includes a wide range of rarely heard music: original versions of theatre scores and some of Sibelius’s rarest independent orchestral pieces.

The programmes for the six discs are planned as follows:

Overture in A minor; Kuolema (complete), Two Songs from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; King Christian II (complete)
Soloists: Pia Pajala, Waltteri Torikka

Overture in E major; Scène de ballet; Belshazzar’s Feast; Cortège; Menuetto; Processional

Pélleas et Mélisande; Musik zu einer Scène; Three Pièces, Op. 96; Morceau romantique sur un motif de M. Jacob de Julin
(Soloists: Pia Pajala, Sari Nordqvist)

Jedermann; Two Serious Melodies; In memoriam
(with the Cathedralis Aboensis Choir. Soloists: Pia Pajala, Nicholas Söderlund, Tuomas Katajala)

Swanwhite; The Lizard; A Lonely Ski Trail; The Countess’s Portrait
(Recitation: Riko Eklundh)



Leif Segerstam is a conductor, composer, violinist and pianist with a prominent international career. He received diplomas from the Sibelius Academy in violin and conducting, and studied at the Juilliard School in New York, where he was awarded a
conducting diploma. Segerstam has conducted in most of the world’s leading opera
houses. In 2004 Leif Segerstam was awarded the annual Finnish State Prize for Music and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal. He has gained wide acclaim for his many recordings with different orchestras. While pursuing his conducting career, Segerstam has also produced an extensive œuvre as a composer.

The Turku Musical Society, which later formed the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in 1790. As the oldest orchestra in Finland, the ensemble continues to develop and flourish under the baton of renowned conductors. Since 2012 its chief conductor has been Leif Segerstam.

See the e-card with more information by clicking here.

Source: Naxos

Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a ‘Sibelius Marathon’ – all seven symphonies in three concerts – on 8th, 10th and 11th December.  Further details in the season brochure: click here.

Down the drain in Hämeenlinna


In Hämeenlinna, the town where Jean Sibelius was born, the regional water company (HS-vesi) wanted to join in with the Sibelius 150 communal effort and, literally speaking, ‘leave their mark on the ground’. They had to renew about 150 of the Hämeenlinna town centre’s drain covers, and suggested that instead of the ‘usual’ ornaments, why not have the iron covers cast with something related to 2015? A different silvery grey metal alloy was also chosen that acquires an interesting patina in the long term, instead of regular iron that eventually rusts away. The life expectancy of the covers should take the city up to the 200th Sibelius anniversary festivities!

The approach was a combination of genuine appreciation and tongue-in-cheek humour.

The covers are designed by Markku Piri, who writes: ‘I did a simple editing of the visual symbol for this Sibelius year, of the stylized passion flower emblem with the outward flying swan [Hämeenlinna is the only region in Finland where the passion flower thrives in the wild]. So, when folks now walk about Hämeenlinna and look up, they’ll see hundreds of timely flags, and when they look down, they cannot escape the 150-year Sibelius mark either!’

Source: Markku Piri

Sibelius Festival at Kew Court House, Melbourne, Australia

Flinders Quartet (photo: © Nicholas Purcell)

The Flinders Quartet (Helen Ayres and Shane Chen, violins; Helen Ireland, viola; Zoe Knighton, cello) is presenting a Sibelius Festival at Kew Court House, Melbourne, Australia. The Quartet has already won acclaim for its Sibelius performances in 2015, and this festival continues its ground-breaking traversal of Sibelius’s string quartet music in a project that is introducing Australian audiences to this extensive body of rarely played music. The Flinders Quartet will also be a distinguished guest at the 2015 ‘Sibelius in Korpo’ festival in the Turku archipelago (17th–19th July).

Saturday 4th July, 3 pm
Quartet E flat major, JS 184
Four Themes
Andante festivo, JS 34a
Quartet A minor, JS 183

Saturday 4th July, 7 pm
Quartet in B flat major, Op. 4
Piano Quintet in G minor, JS 159 (with Stefan Cassomenos, piano)

Sunday 5th July, 1 pm:  In Conversation: Sibelius Himself
Zoe Knighton, Sibelius expert Geoffrey Hayes and raconteur Barry Jones

Sunday 5th July, 3 pm
Molto moderato – Scherzo, JS 134
Adagio in D minor, JS 12
Fugue for Martin Wegelius, JS 85
Quartet in D minor, ‘Voces intimae’, Op. 56

Further information: click here

Sibelius One in concert

Fenella Humphreys · Sam Armstrong · Anton Kukkonen (photo: © Sibelius One)

The first concert organized by Sibelius One featured Fenella Humphreys (violin), Anton Kukkonen (cello) and Sam Armstrong (piano) in a selection of Sibelius’s chamber music for solo instrument, duo and trio. The event, eagerly anticipated, was enthusiastically received by a capacity audience. The programme focused on works with special personal significance for Sibelius and on music written for or inspired by members of his family: his wife Aino, his brother Christian and his daughter Kirsti. Three of the pieces were UK premières (Andante molto in B minor for cello and piano, Polka ‘Aino’ for piano and En glad musikant for solo violin).

The concert took place at the Finnish Ambassador’s Residence in London on 10th June 2015 (Sibelius’s 123rd wedding anniversary), in the presence of Ambassador and Mrs Pekka Huhta­niemi. Also present was Erkki Korhonen, director of the international ‘Sibelius 150’ project.


The Finnish Ambassador’s Residence in London, on one of the most prestigious residential streets in the world, was built in 1850–51, and has been home to the Finnish Ambassador since 1955.

Sibelius One is grateful to Ambassador and Mrs Huhtaniemi, the Finnish Embassy in London and the Sibelius Society of Finland for their generous practical and financial assistance.

 ——————— Programme ——————— 
Vattendroppar [Water Drops], JS 216, for violin & cello
Four Pieces, Op. 78, for violin & piano
Andante molto in B minor (1888–89) for cello & piano First UK performance
Sonatina in E major, Op. 80, for violin & piano
Malinconia, Op. 20, for cello & piano
[Polka] ‘Aino’ in C minor (1902–05) for piano First UK performance
Souvenir, Op. 99 No. 3) for piano
Four Pieces, Op. 115 (1929) for violin & piano
En glad musikant [A Happy Musician], JS 70, for violin solo First UK performance
La pompeuse marche d’Asis, JS 116, for piano trio

Sibelius in Korpo 2015 – update

Korpo Church
Korpo Church

More detailed information is now released for the fourteenth Sibelius in Korpo Festival, to be held on 17th–19th July 2015. This year’s theme is ‘Intimate Voices’. The festival’s artistic director is Folke Gräsbeck.

Friday 17.7.2015 at 8 pm at Korpo gård: Pre-Concert Talk
by Andrew Barnett (General Manager of Sibelius One)

Friday 17.7.2015 at 9 pm at Korpo gård: Evening Concert
Flinders Quartet / Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Molto moderato – Scherzo in E major for string quartet, JS 134 (1885)
String Quartet in E flat major, JS 184
Four Themes for string quartet
Adagio in D minor for string quartet, JS 12
Piano Quintet in G minor, JS 159

Saturday 18.7.2015 at 1 pm at the Sibelius Statue, Korpo village
Welcome speeches by Petri Kirkkomäki (festival director) and Geoffrey Hayes
Vocal ensemble from the Brahe Djäknar choir
Venematka, Op. 18 No. 3
Ej med klagan, JS 69 (arr. Nils-Eric Fougstedt)

Saturday 18.7.2015 at 2 pm at Korpo Church: ‘Voces intimae’
Flinders Quartet
String Quartet in A minor, JS 183
Fugue for Martin Wegelius, JS 85
String Quartet in D minor, ‘Voces intimae’, Op. 56

Saturday 18.7.2015 at 6 pm at Kommunalgården i Korpo: ‘The Maiden in the Tower’
Hedvig Paulig, soprano / Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano
Dan Karlström, tenor / Jussi Merikanto, baritone
Florakören and Brahe Djäknar choirs, cond. Ulf Långbacka
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Six Songs, Op. 50 Merikanto/Gräsbeck
Längtan heter min arvedel, Op. 86 No. 2 Paulig/Gräsbeck
I systrar, I bröder, I älskande par! Op. 86 No. 6 Paulig/Gräsbeck
Sångarlön, Op. 86 No. 5 Karlström/Gräsbeck
Törnet , Op. 88 No. 5 Karlström/Gräsbeck
Siltavahti, JS 170b Karlström/Gräsbeck
Svarta rosor, Op. 36 No. 1 (1899) Karlström/Gräsbeck
Vänskapens blomma, JS 215 Groop/Gräsbeck
Hertig Magnus, Op. 57 No. 6 Groop/Gräsbeck
Songs, Op. 72 Nos 3–6 Groop/Gräsbeck
Tanken, duet, JS 192 Paulig/Groop/Gräsbeck
Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), JS 101 (1896), opera in one act
(arr. for soloists, mixed choir and piano by the composer)

Sunday 19.7.2015 at 9.45 am at Kommunalgården i Korpo
Douglas Sivén᾿s documentary film ‘Sibelius in Korpo’ (in English)

Sunday 19.7.2015 at 11 am at Kommunalgården i Korpo
Douglas Sivéns dokumentärfilm ‘Sibelius i Korpo’ (på svenska)

Sunday 19.7.2015 at 2 pm at Korpo gård: Pre-Concert Talk
‘Sibelius in Australasia᾽ by Geoffrey Hayes

Sunday 19.7.2015 at 4 pm at Korpo gård: Gala Concert
Flinders Quartet
Hedvig Paulig, soprano / Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 4 (1889–90)
Five Songs, Op. 37 Paulig/Gräsbeck
Serenad, JS 167 Groop/Gräsbeck
Den första kyssen, JS 57 (preliminary version) Groop/Gräsbeck
Jag ville, jag vore i Indialand (preliminary version) *World Première Performance* Groop/Gräsbeck
Im Feld ein Mädchen singt, Op. 50 No. 3 Groop/Gräsbeck
Små flickorna, JS 174 Groop/Gräsbeck
Autrefois, duet, Op. 96b Paulig/Groop/Gräsbeck
Andante festivo for string quartet, JS 34a

Lahti Sibelius Festival: Song Recital

Erica Back at the Third International Sibelius Singing Competition (Photo: © Heikki Tuuli)

The programme for the song recital at this year’s Sibelius Festival in Lahti (on Sunday 6th September at 11 am) has been announced.

The recital will be given by the mezzo-soprano Erica Back, second prize winner at this year’s International Sibelius Singing Competition, with the pianist Kristian Attila.

Våren flyktar hastigt [Spring Flies Speedily], Op. 13 No. 4
Se’n har jag ej frågat mera [Since Then I Have Questioned No Further], Op. 17 No. 1
Sov in! [Go to Sleep!], Op. 17 No. 2
Vilse [Astray], Op. 17 No. 4
Lastu lainehilla [Driftwood], Op. 17 No. 7
Im Feld ein Mädchen singt [In the Field a Maid Sings], Op. 50 No. 3
Rosenlied [Song of the Roses], Op. 50 No. 6
Die stille Stadt [The Silent City], Op. 50 No. 5
Aus banger Brust [From Anxious Heart], Op. 50 No. 4
Hertig Magnus [Duke Magnus], Op. 57 No. 6
Soluppgång [Sunrise], Op. 37 No. 3
Lasse Liten [Little Lasse], Op. 37 No. 2
Den första kyssen [The First Kiss], Op. 37 No. 1
Kyssen [The Kiss], Op. 72 No. 3
Bollspelet vid Trianon [Tennis at Trianon], Op. 36 No. 3
Men min fågel märks dock icke [But My Bird is Long in Homing], Op. 36 No. 2
Demanten på marssnön [The Diamond on the March Snow], Op. 36 No. 6
Säv, säv, susa [Sigh, Sigh, Sedges], Op. 36 No. 4
Narciss [Narcissus], JS 140

The programme will also include two piano solo pieces:
Björken [The Birch], Op. 75 No. 4
Granen [The Spruce], Op. 75 No. 5

Further information: click here