Monthly Archives: April 2018

Sibelius i Korpo 2018

***Updated 30 April 2018: revised programme for Sunday concert***

The seventeenth ‘Sibelius i Korpo’ festival in the Turku archipelago will take place on 20–22 July 2018. This year’s theme is ‘Oskar Merikanto 150’, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Merikanto on 5 August 1868. The programmes thus feature works by Sibelius and Merikanto. All concerts take place at Korpo gård, where Sibelius, his family and friends made music in the summer of 1887. The festival is organized by Petri Kirkkomäki and its artistic director is Folke Gräsbeck.

Oskar Merikanto

Provisional programmes are as follows:

Friday 20.7.2018 at 9 pm – Evening Concert at Korpo gård
‘Sibelius’s and Merikanto’s Youth’
Jean Sibelius: Con moto, sempre una corda, JS 52, for piano
Oskar Merikanto: Kesäillan valssi, Op. 1, for piano
Merikanto: Fantasy on the folk song ‘Tuoll’ on mun kultani’ for piano four hands
Sibelius: Andantino in A major for piano trio
Sibelius: Andante molto in F minor for cello & piano
Sibelius: Scherzo in E minor, JS 165, for violin, cello & piano four hands
Merikanto: Valse mélancolique, Op. 6 No. 3 for piano four hands
Merikanto: Herää Suomi (Awake, Finland, arr. of Emil Genetz’ song) for piano four hands
‘The Years before Independence’
Sibelius: Religioso & Rigaudon, Op. 78 Nos 3 & 4, for cello & piano
Sibelius: Sonatina in E major, Op. 80, for violin & piano
Merikanto: Nuorisolle, Op. 92, suite for piano
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist, piano
Folke Gräsbeck, piano & artistic director

Saturday 21.7.2018 at 1 pm: Ceremony at the Sibelius statue
Music, flowers, speeches
Welcome from Petri Kirkkomäki, festival organizer, and from
Severi Blomstedt on behalf of the Sibelius family

Saturday 21.7.2018 at 6 pm: Concert at Korpo gård
‘Musik from the turn of the century’
Merikanto: Kirkko-aikana for piano four hands
Merikanto: Hungarian March, Op. 46, for piano four hands
Merikanto: Canon in G major for piano four hands
Sibelius: Dolcissimo, JS 63, for kantele
Sibelius: Moderato, JS 130, for kantele
Sibelius: Lullaby, JS 222, for violin & kantele
Merikanto: Kullan murunen, Op. 20 No. 1, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Helkähdys for two kanteles
Merikanto: Kesäillan idylli, Op. 16 No. 2, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Vallinkorvan laulu, Op. 24 No. 2, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Valse lente, Op. 33, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Soi vienosti murheeni soitto, Op. 36 No. 3, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Jag gungar i högsta grenen, variations on the song by Gabriel Linsén, Op. 26, for piano
‘A Lonely Ski-Trail’ – Works from Maturity
Merikanto: Two Pieces, Op. 102, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Novellette, Op. 102, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Danses champêtres, Op. 106 Nos 4 & 5, for violin & piano
Sibelius: Four movements from ‘The Tempest’, Op. 109, for cello & piano
Sibelius: Ett ensamt skidspår, JS 77a, for speaker & piano (1925)
Sibelius: Adagio ‘Rakkaalle Ainolle’, JS 161, for piano four hands
Ralf Långbacka, speaker
Johanna Aho & Suvi Lehtonen-Gräsbeck, kantele
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist & Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Sunday 22.7.2018 at 2 pm: Lecture at Korpo gård
‘Jean Sibelius och Oskar Merikanto’
Andrew Barnett (General Manager, Sibelius One)

Sunday 22.7.2018 at 4 pm: Concert at Korpo gård
‘Songs, Opera and Theatre Music’
Merikanto: extracts from the opera ‘Pohjan neiti’ arr. for kantele and for piano four hands
Merikanto: Tuulan tei from the music to ‘Tukkijoella’, Op. 13, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Reppurin laulu from the music to ‘Juhannustulilla’, Op. 14, arr. for kantele
Merikanto: Karkelo alkaa from the music to ‘Panu’ for mezzo-soprano & 2 kanteles
Merikanto: En barnsaga vid brasan; Den enda stunden; Sorgens makt; Vi ses igen for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Ljunga Wirginia, ‘opera’ for violin, cello & piano four hands
Sibelius: Bollspelet vid Trianon, Op. 36 No. 3, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Soluppgång, JS 87, for mezzo-soprano & piano (world première performance)
Sibelius: Den första kyssen, Op. 37 No. 1, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Kyssen, Op. 72 No. 3, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Narciss, JS 140, for mezzo-soprano & piano
Sibelius: Finlandia, Op. 26 (arr. for solo piano with mezzo-soprano in the hymn)
Erica Back, mezzo-soprano
Johanna Aho & Suvi Lehtonen-Gräsbeck, kantele
Olivier Pons, violin
Helen Lindén-Pons, cello
Peter Lönnqvist & Folke Gräsbeck, piano

Further details will be published later.




60 years with TRMS

John Davis cutting the cake. Photo: © Bob Clowes

Congratulations to John Davis, president of Sibelius One, who has just celebrated 60 years’ membership of the Torbay Recorded Music Society at a gala dinner. He has been a committee member for 58 of those years, and is now its president.

Sibelius One’s treasurer Janet Abbotts was guest speaker at the gala. A special card was presented to John Davis on behalf of Sibelius One, and suitable music was played over the course of the evening, including the ‘Korpo’ Trio, Humoresqes for violin and orchestra, Violin Concerto, Finlandia and the Nocturne from the King Christian II Suite. There was a very large cake in blue and white, Finland’s colours, and 18 bottles of wine were presented, all wrapped up in the same colours.

Photo: © Janet Abbotts

Sibelius at the BBC Proms 2018

Programmes for the BBC Proms 2018 have been announced, and several popular works by Sibelius are included. All of the concerts listed take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

Click the Prom numbers for links to the BBC Proms website and to book tickets (general booking opening: 19 May 2018).

Tuesday 24 July 2018 at 7.30 pm – Prom 14

Richard Wagner: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – overture
Franz Schubert: Songs
Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Symphony in One Movement
Franz Schubert: ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy (arr.  Liszt)
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Elizabeth Watts, soprano
Louis Lortie, piano
BBC Philharmonic / John Storgårds

Sunday 29 July 2018 at 1 pm – Prom 19
Sunday 29 July 2018 at 5 pm – Prom 20

Music by Kerry Andrew, Mason Bates, Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges, Copland, Dvořák, Elgar, Orff, Purcell, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky
Naomi Wilkinson, presenter
Ten Pieces Children’s Choir

BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Rafael Payare
‘Ten Pieces Prom’

Monday 13 August 2018 at 7.30pm – Prom 42

Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 3
Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Estonian Festival Orchestra / 
Paavo Järvi

Tuesday 21 August 2018 at 7pm – Prom 52 

Rolf Wallin: Violin Concerto (first performance)
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner


Found! Sibelius’s lost villa

‘My family lives here at Pension Suisse [in Rapallo, Italy], but I rented a studio in a hillside villa, surrounded by a very interesting garden: roses in bloom, camellias, almond trees, cactus, agaves, currants, magnolia, cypresses, vines, palms and a manifold variety of flowers’ – letter from Sibelius to Axel Carpelan, February 1901.

Although Pension Suisse in Rapallo still exists, the precise location of Sibelius’s hillside hideaway – where he famously worked on music that would be used in the Second Symphony – has long been believed to be lost in the mists of time. Partly this is because Sibelius gave very few descriptions of the villa and its enlightened owners, the Molfino family, preferring instead to concentrate on its natural beauties, scents and extraordinary vegetation.

Now, however, Federico Ermirio, organizer and artistic director of the Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera, has located this elusive and historically significant building. The villa lies on the Cerisola hill in Fossato di Monti – reachable on foot (for a good walker like Sibelius) in half an hour.

The origins of the villa date back to the sixteenth century, and by the time of Sibelius’s visit it had become a meeting place for artists and cultural personalities, surrounded by a luxuriant park, remarkable for its botanical variety and featuring an amphitheatre. The Molfino family library contained rare editions of Dante’s Divina Commedia. It may be no coincidence that after leaving Rapallo, Sibelius considered  making a setting of part of Dante’s work: in this context he sketched what would become the second theme of the Second Symphony’s slow movement.

Villa Molfino, c. 1900

For decades the villa was abandoned and left to the attention of by vandals and thieves. The property is now divided up, and the new owners are progressively working on restoring it.

Sibelius’s affection for this part of Italy is shown by the fact the he later christened part of Ainola’s garden ‘Rapallo’.

Further information about this exciting new discovery will be published in the July 2018 issue of the Sibelius One Magazine.



Fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera

The fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera in Italy will run from 22 September until 14 October 2018. The programme of lectures and concerts is organized under the artistic direction of composer Federico Ermirio. Below is a list of dates and times for the events at the festival.

22 September, 5pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Federico Ermirio

28 September, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
Opening concert – Myrsky Ensemble / Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Grieg / Sibelius / Mattson / Elgar

29 September, 9pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Nielsen / Alfvén / Leifs / Nystedt

30 September, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Busoni / Sinding

30 September, 9pm, San Martino Church, Zoagli
Myrsky Ensemble
Ravel / Milhaud / Sibelius / von Dohnányi

5 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Paola De Ferrari
‘I Molfino: collezioni e dispersioni fra Settecento e Ottocento’

5 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
E. Lasorla, tenor; M. Cesarale, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Kuula / Gothoni / Alfvén / Rangström

6 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Jugend-Sinfonieorchester Aargau; Hugo Bollschweiler, conductor
Mendelssohn / Szpilman / Sibelius

7 October, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
S. Braun, soprano; A. Hinrichsen, piano
Sibelius / Grieg

7 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Genova Vocal Ensemble; R. Paraninfo, conductor
Sibelius / Grieg / Rautavaara / Nystedt / Pärt / Sisask / Tormis

12 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
P. Fisher, violin; M. Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

13 October, 6pm, Teatrino Comunale, Portofino
G. Giovannoni & R. Pellegrino, accordions
Sibelius /Kolz / Solotariov / Olkzak / Piazzolla

14 October, 6pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
P. Fisher, violin; M. Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

E. & O.E.

Further information:

Dinosaur named after Sibelius

Dinosaur fossils discovered near Jyväskylä in Finland have been identified as previously unknown species and have been named Sibeliusaurus.

Remains of a number of the creatures – an adult male, an adult female and five female offspring – were found near the small village of Hoho, in boggy ground that has permitted an unprecedented amount of information to be gathered about their appearance, diet and living habits.

It is believed that Sibeliusaurus lived primarily in what is now Finland, but roamed regularly to neighbouring countries and maybe even as far afield as what is now the east coast of North America.

The creature was an omnivore and the remains found at Hoho clearly show traces of a rich and varied diet – plainly it was an Epicurean among dinosaurs, consuming large quantities of Petersonbergeres (a prehistoric mollusc, distant ancestor of the modern oyster, evidently somewhat indigestible).

Comparable species include the Carolusnielsenisaur, mostly found in Denmark, and the mountain-dwelling Griegoraptor from Norway.

Evidence suggests that Sibeliusaurus preferred to live either in solitude or in large herds, and often remained in close proximity to a number of large migratory bird-like creatures.

The creature’s ultimate extinction was not linked to the infamous meteor strike that wiped out many dinosaur species but seems to have been cause by a genetic mutation. Analysis of the fossilized eggs and young of the species suggests that the creature could produce only female offspring.

Emulating recent research into Tyrannosaurus Rex that has revealed the sound it made (as featured on a recent BBC documentary), palaeontologist Dr Aprilli Pila of the Luonnontieteellinen Museo (Natural History Museum) in Helsinki has released a reconstruction of what Sibeliusaurus sounded like. The audio can be heard here: