Symphony No. 4 in A minor, Op. 63
Jean Sibelius Complete Works (JSW), Series I (Orchestral works) Vol. 5 – SON 635
edited by Tuija Wicklund
Sibelius, around the time of the Fourth Symphony
With the Fourth Symphony, the JSW (Jean Sibelius Werke) edition arrives at a crucial work in the composer’s output: the darkest and most unsmiling of his symphonies, and the one in which he comes closest to musical expressionism. Breitkopf & Härtel published the symphony in 1912 and now, more than a century later, comes this definitive critical edition of the score.
1 thought on “JSW critical edition of the Fourth Symphony reviewed”
I was most interested in the critical edition of the greatest symphony of the 20th century. Although this masterpiece has a reputation for outright doom and gloom, I find no pessimism in the music, indeed the final dogged chords are has heroic as anything in music. Were I question your review of the new critical edition is with regard to the use of glockenspiel or bells in the finale. It is true that Sibelius did not like the use of large tubular bells which he thought too oriental. I do believe that Sibelius used bells for the premiere on 3rd April, 1911. Sibelius marks one passage ‘Sonore’ which the glockenspiel cannot deliver. In conclusion I believe that around 1954, the master finally admitted that he had wanted bells all along. Conductors must make a choice.