Category Archives: Articles

Valse triste – first performance

Jean Sibelius’s famous Valse triste was performed on 14 April 1904 in Vaasa, ten days before its purported premiere in Helsinki

Sheahan Virgin


Jean Sibelius’s Valse triste is one of his most popular compositions. It began life as ‘Tempo di valse lente – Poco risoluto’, its original purpose having been to accompany a dance scene in Death (Kuolema), a three-act, Symbolist play by Sibelius’s brother-in-law Arvid Järnefelt (1861–1932). The play was premiered on 2 December 1903 at the Finnish Theatre in Helsinki, with Sibelius conducting. Shortly thereafter, he refashioned the waltz into a standalone concert piece, to which he gave the now-familiar name Valse triste. Most notably, he altered the ending and added parts for flute, clarinet, horn and timpani.

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JSW String Quartets review (link)


Jean Sibelius:
String Quartets in E flat major, A minor, B flat major and D minor ‘Voces intimae’
Breitkopf & Härtel Jean Sibelius Werke SON 634
Edited by Pekka Helasvuo and Tuija Wicklund

Review by Andrew Barnett & Ian Maxwell

Some years ago it was widely believed that Sibelius wrote only one string quartet – Voces intimae – a work that remained a relative rarity on international concert programmes, although it was held in high regard by connoisseurs of the genre. In 1931 Cecil Gray wrote that it ‘ranks with the finest achievements of Sibelius’s middle period […] beautifully written for the medium and exceedingly effective in performance’… Click here to continue reading this article.

Jean Sibelius. Life, Music, Silence by Daniel M. Grimley – Book Review by Veijo Murtomäki

Jean Sibelius. Life, Music, Silence by Daniel M. Grimley - cover

Veijo Murtomäki, Professor emeritus of music history at the Sibelius Academy of the University of Arts Helsinki, reviews Jean Sibelius. Life, Music, Silence by Daniel M. Grimley (Reaktion Books, 2021)

‘Daniel M. Grimley is a musicologist whose expertise and deep understanding especially of Scandinavian and British music has been widely acknowledged thanks to his admirable books on Grieg, Nielsen, and Delius as well as his work as an editor of anthologies and as a writer of many peer-reviewed articles. Given his attachment to the music of Jean Sibelius, it is with a sense of expectation that one approaches his new book on Sibelius.’ Click here to read on…

Scenes from the Kalevala – review

Click here to read the review by Kornel Kossuth of the new ‘Scenes from the Kalevala’ SACD from the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk. (BIS-2371)

Contents of the disc:
Leevi Madetoja: Kullervo, Op.  15
Uuno Klami: Kalevala Suite, Op.  23
Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, Op.  22 No.  2 (1897 version – world première recording)
Tauno Pylkkänen: Kullervo Goes to War

Finlandia, Valse triste and other works: JSW critical edition

Jean Sibelius: Complete Works (JSW) – SON 630

Series I (Orchestral works) Vol. 22: Revisions and arrangements for orchestra (Finlandia, Op. 26, Valse triste, Op. 44 No. 1, Kurkikohtaus, Op. 44 No. 2, Canzonetta, Op. 62a, Valse romantique, Op. 62b, Valse lyrique, Op. 96a, Valse chevaleresque, Op. 96c) edited by Timo Virtanen

Title page of SON 630

Click here for our review of this important new issue in the JSW Critical Edition.

Magazine, January 2018

The January 2018 issue of Sibelius One’s full-colour magazine is currently in preparation, with a selection of articles and contributions from eminent authors and scholars plus a listing of major new CD releases. Subscribers will receive the magazine in January.

To receive your magazine, make sure you select the ‘printed copies’ option when joining Sibelius One (just £5 for two issues).

If you would like to add the magazine to your existing subscription, or to purchase individual copies (£5 each plus postage – also available to non-members) please contact

Highlights of the forthcoming issue:

  • Sibelius’s music for ‘Everyman’  Eija Kurki
  • Sibelius and Busoni  Ernest Pauwels
  • The Spell of Italy  John Grimshaw
  • Jean Sibelius. Un Finlandais en France  Peter Frankland 
  • And the Sounds are Godlike: The Symphonies of Sibelius (Part Two)  Leon Chia

Click here for a listing of articles in previous magazines.

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2017 Review

Photo: © Lahti SO/Juha Tanhua

The Eighteenth International Lahti Sibelius Festival coincided with the centenary year of Finland’s political independence. In a previous year forty percent of tickets were sold to non-Finnish patrons, so its claim of international status is well justified. As usual concert tickets and hotel accommodation had been arranged at a special price for Sibelius One members. Click here to read the full review by Geoff Hayes.