Monthly Archives: April 2022

Sibelius at the 2022 Proms

The 2022 BBC Proms will run from Friday 15 July to Saturday 10 September. Sibelius is represented at three concerts, including the Proms début of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Click the links below for more information (BBC website) and ticket bookings.

Prom 34, Thursday 11 August 2022, 19:30, Royal Albert Hall
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: ARCHORA
Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Kian Soltani, cello; BBC Philharmonic / Eva Ollikainen

Prom 42, Thursday 18 August 2022, 19:30, Royal Albert Hall
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Carl Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, ‘The Inextinguishable’
Francesco Piemontesi, piano; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard

Prom 52, Friday 26 August 2022, 19:30, Royal Albert Hall
Claude Debussy: La mer
Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Thomas Adès: Märchentänze
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Pekka Kuusisto, violin; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas Collon

Information from BBC website

First performance of Luukas Hiltunen’s Sibelius-inspired symphony

Luukas Hiltunen in Järvenpää

Photo: © Luukas Hiltunen

The first performance of Luukas Hiltunen’s Sibelius-inspired symphony took place on 18 April 2022. It was played by Sinfoniaorkesteri Vivo (the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Finland) under its chief conductor Erkki Lasonpalo at the Järvenpää Hall.

Luukas Hiltunen took almost eighteen months to complete his Symphony No. 1 for full orchestra, finishing it in June 2020. The score consists of 72 pages, and the work plays for approx. 30 minutes. There are three movements: an Andante espressivo first movement in A minor, a scherzo (Allegretto grazioso) with trio (Moderato assai e sempre espressivo), and an extensive finale (Andante sostenuto). It is scored for 2 flutes (both doubling piccolos), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, percussion (snare drum, cymbals and bass drum), harp and strings.

Luukas Hiltunen has listened to the music of Sibelius ever since he was a small boy, and has become familiar with his style of writing music for orchestra. ‘I’m very proud of the finale, it’s definitely the most advanced and complex musical structure I have written so far’, writes Hiltunen, describing it as ‘a musical journey from darkness to light, ending up with a solemn hymn [an original composition, not an arrangement]… an uninterrupted 15-minute whole, almost like a tone poem inside a symphony, without any external source of inspiration. Therefore it comes very close to Sibelius’s En saga, I think; it creates a unique and every time a different imaginary musical journey, a metamorphosis full of themes that develop and continue imperceptibly, with logical transitions between recognizable states of mind (leitmotifs).’ The music is very approachable; Sibelian touches include the use of triplets, syncopated horn writing and the ways he uses the lower strings, and the work has a noticeably melancholic Finnish character, although it does not make use of direct quotations from folk music.

Luukas Hiltunen has previously made arrangements for symphony orchestra of Sibelius’s organ works Intrada and Surusoitto, and a string quartet version of the Scène d’amour from Scaramouche.

Instagram: luukas_hiltunen_musician
Music publisher (Symphony): Universal Edition,
Music publisher (Scène d’amour): Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen

Jean Sibelelius

New research into the 1865 birth registers in Hämeenlinna has revealed a major error concerning the spelling of the composer’s name.

Some years ago it was pointed out that the order of the composer’s forenames according to the birth records was ‘Johan Christian Julius’ rather than the previously accepted ‘Johan Julius Christian’. The corrected order has been adopted by scholars and authors ever since.

Now it has emerged that the composer’s family name, as presented in the records, was not Sibelius but rather Sibelelius (highlighted in the extract above). This announcement has major implications for all books, recordings and other publications focusing in the composer and his music, all of which will potentially need to be reprinted to reflect the new spelling.

The full page containing the birth record

According to experts from the Finnish Organization Of Linguistics, it is likely that the composer himself initially used the correct form of his name on a regular basis but gradually came to prefer the shorter version around the time he adopted the French form of his forename. ‘Jean är mitt musiknamn’ (‘Jean is my music name’, as he wrote to his uncle Pehr on 31 March 1886).

Nonetheless, the longer version has always been ‘hiding in plain sight’ and sometimes he would sign himself with the original form of the  surname, even in later life.

Sample signature from 1955

Early indications are that the authentic spelling will be used with immediate effect by music publishers and record companies.

The ‘new’ signature on the iconic blue cover of the JSW Complete Works edition

and on CD artwork

Work is also under way to update the Sibelelius One logo.

Further information about the uptake of this new spelling will be reported in due course.