Sibelius at the 2019 Proms

Royal Albert Hall, London (Photo by David Iliff. Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Programmes for the 2019 BBC Proms season have been announced. For Sibelius enthusiasts the season is notable for including a rarity of exceptional importance: the four-movement 1915 version of the Fifth Symphony.

Sibelius is represented at the following concerts:

Wednesday 31 July 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 17
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 1
Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
ichard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – Suite
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
Lisa Batiashvili, violin
Seats £18 to £72 (plus booking fee)

Saturday 3 August 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 20
Violinist Pekka Kuusisto traces the evolution of Finland’s classical tradition, from improvised folk beginnings to the sophisticated brilliance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. The concert closes with the rarely heard original version of the Fifth Symphony.
Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 (original version, 1915)
Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Taito Hoffrén, Ilona Korhonen, Minna-Liisa Tammela, singers

Vilma Timonen, kantele; Timo Alakotila, harmonium
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard
Seats £7.50 to £41 (plus booking fee)

Tuesday 6 August 2019, 7.30 pm, Royal Albert Hall: Prom 25
Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite
Mieczysław Weinberg: Cello Concerto
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, ‘Pathétique’
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Dalia Stasevska
Sol Gabetta, cello
Seats £9.50 to £52 (plus booking fee)

Modest Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain (orch. Rimsky-Korsakov)
Louis Andriessen: The Only One
Judith Weir: Forest
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 (final version, 1919)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Srkari Oramo
Nora Fischer, singer
Seats £7.50 to £41 (plus booking fee)

General booking opens 0n 11 May 2019. For further information click here to go to the Proms website.

5 thoughts on “Sibelius at the 2019 Proms

  1. Lots to look forward to at the 2019 Proms. I’ve certainly put a note in my diary for 3rd August and the original 1915 version of the Fifth Symphony. Of course the 1919 final version is the more finished work of art, especially with its masterly transformation of a slow tempo into a Beethovenishly fast one in the opening movement. But in the 1915 version Sibelius cut some marvellous music and I really love the finale–more expansive. Great that we can hear both versions this season.

  2. I really enjoyed the Sibelius First Symphony given last evening by the Bavarian Radio SO under Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Maestro Seguin was replacing Maris Janson for whom we wish a speedy recovery. The performance thrilled me to the bones. Wonderful woodwind and brass with superb strings, but above all the timpani! which in Sibelius’s wonderful score really shone. I was just a little surprised that this great symphony began the programme and did not close it. Superb performance.

  3. It was a wonderful prom given on Saturday 3rd August. Pekka Kuusisto gave a tremendous account of the violin concerto and we had several folk musicians from Finland who demonstrated the influence on Sibelius of their folk music. Of course Sibelius did not quote actual folk songs, in some ways he created them. Listening to Kuusisto’s performance of the concerto, I almost felt that I was hearing it for the first time. He gave us a delightful encore Humoresque No. 4 in G minor. I love this music. After the interval came the 1915 version of the Fifth Symphony. At this time the symphony had four movements. The BBC Scottish SO under Thomas Dausgaard were on fine form and it was fascinating to hear this original version. Sibelius cut some fine music in his titanic struggle with the work. I especially enjoy the last movement, more expansive than the final 1919 version. It was a wonderful evening of music by the Finnish master.
    Fine Karelia Suite on Thursday 6th August with BBC SO conducted by Dalia Stasevska, new principle guest conductor who hails from Finland. I well remember this brilliant music was used to introduce the current affairs programme ‘This Week’ during the 1960’s. Some of the most joyous music Sibelius ever penned.

  4. I tuned into BBC 4 yesterday evening to watch the televised recording of the Bavarian Radio SO under the French-Canadian maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin. This is a magnificent orchestra and as I reported earlier, they gave a superb account of Sibelius’s First Symphony with enjoyable Prokofiev and Richard Strauss. We were treated to a wonderful encore, that miniature masterpiece Valse triste. Memorable concert.

  5. We have heard some splendid Sibelius at the proms this season and last evening proved to be no exception. Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony orchestra gave a stunning performance of the Sibelius Fifth Symphony [1919] The composer had referred to it as ‘A struggle with God’. Having heard the 1915 version some weeks ago, we can now see the consummate mastery by which Sibelius fused together the original two movements, which the distinguished composer Robert Simpson rightly described as ‘A basic original achievement’. The slow movement contains a much greater variety of rhythm and tone colour than the 1915. The finale under Oramo’s baton carried all before it with a wonderful ‘swan hymn’ that sustained this awesome drama to the final six hammer blows.

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