Category Archives: News

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2021 – Programmes

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 22nd International Sibelius Festival will take place at the Sibelius Hall from 2–5 September 2021. Its artistic director is Dalia Stasevska, the new principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Guest artists are violinist Pekka Kuusisto, Tomas Djupsjöbacka conducting the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, actor Seela Sella, pianist Tähe-Lee Liiv, bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams, and folk musicians.

Timo Alakotila: Prelude to Sibelius’s Kullervo
Jean Sibelius: Kullervo

Sibelius’s early piano music and Aino’s letters to Janne         
Timo Alakotila: Prelude to Sibelius’s Violin Concerto
Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Timo Alakotila: Prelude to Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Runic songs boat trip to Myllysaari
Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen suite
Jean Sibelius: Pohjola’s Daughter
Jean Sibelius (arr. Einojuhani Rautavaara): In the Stream of Life
Jean Sibelius: The Bard
Jean Sibelius: En saga

Runic songs boat trip to Myllysaari

Click here for further information.

Sibelius Monument Organ Concert

Photo: Leeann Coller (Public Domain / CC0 licence)

Innovative technology is set to transform the famous ‘organ pipes’ of Eila Hiltunen’s Sibelius Monument in Helsinki (1967) into a fully functioning concert organ for one day only. The manuals (adapted from two digital pianos) and pedals (attached with superglue to a fibreboard plank) will be positioned behind the separate ‘head’ of the monument and will communicate via Bluetooth with a wind generator that will cause the monument’s pipes to sound. ‘We had some luck with the wind generator’, comments organist Juhani S. Puro. ‘With the current reduction in air travel we were able to borrow a jet engine from Helsinki-Vantaa airport and temporarily convert it to run off electricity. It’s a bit noisy but creates plenty of thrust.’ Electrical power will be sourced from a series of large solar panels that will be located in the bay to the west of the Sibelius Park.

Details of the organ

At 12 noon today Juhani S. Puro will perform Sibelius’s Intrada and Surusoitto, plus a newly rediscovered organ arrangement by Stravinsky of Sibelius’s Canzonetta [Op. 62a] on this unique instrument.

Note: Social distancing rules will apply.

Photo: Yuk Weeden (Public Domain / CC0 licence)

Sibelius Conference postponed (Covid-19)

The Organizing Committee of the Seventh International Jean Sibelius Conference has decided that, owing to the still prevailing Covid-19 situation and the uncertain prospects concerning the pandemic and its repercussions for travel, the Seventh International Sibelius Conference will be postponed by a further four years, until 2025.

The Conference had been scheduled for September 2021 in Sibelius’s birth town, Hämeenlinna, having already been delayed by one year by the ongoing coronavirus situation.

The place and probably also the timing (early September) of the Conference will remain unaltered. Further information about conference arrangements, its programme and associated events will be released in due course.

Historic restaurant with Sibelius connections to reopen

Restaurant Kaisaniemi, Helsinki
Photo: Jisis (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence) (cropped)

Helsinki’s historic Kaisaniemi restaurant, in Kaisaniemi park near the Botanical Gardens, is set to be restored and reopen under new management.

Established by Catharina (‘Cajsa’) Wahllund in 1827 on what was then a headland, the original structure has been extended and modified over the years. Among the architects was Carl Ludvig Engel, who was also responsible for Helsinki’s iconic Senate Square. The oldest part of the current restaurant structure dates from 1839, before the construction of the railway line that now runs alongside the premises; the rotunda and outdoor terrace (later glazed in) were added in 1921. The most striking feature of the current building is the large tree protruding through the dining room roof.

Restaurant Kaisaniemi showing the tree protruding through the roof
Photo: jampe (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence) (cropped)

The previous operators of what was then Helsinki’s oldest restaurant went into liquidation in 2019. The new owners are the Kallio family from Porvoo, who already run the establishments Helmi in Porvoo Old Town and Kapellet in Loviisa. The intention is for the wooden building to regain much of its original atmosphere. It will probably be known in future by the Swedish form of its name, Kajsaniemi. The restoration will take several years.

The restaurant has clear connections with the Sibelius family. It was here that the first performance of his Pompeuse Marche d’Asis took place, the brilliantly exuberant piece that Sibelius wrote for his brother Christian while the latter was a student at ‘Asis’ (the Institute of Anatomy at Helsinki University). Christian wrote: ‘The greatest “event” for us students of medicine was an evening that took place last Saturday at the restaurant Kajsis. The march was performed there, composed by Janne. A toast was proposed to Janne, and a lengthy telegram in French was sent to him [to Vienna] with thanks for “La pompeuse marche d’Asis”. The march is at first deeply tragic in slowly rocking rhythm; this is followed by a wilder csárdás-like thing. Screams are heard every now and then, mostly on the cello (two octaves of glissandi, or chromatic octave passages).’ (12 February 1891).

Restaurant Kaisaniemi in 1862
Photo: Flickr’s The Commons

Sources: Hufvudstadsbladet 15.3.2021; Wikipedia

Sibelius One Magazine, January 2021

The January 2021 issue of Sibelius One’s magazine has arrived from the printer’s and is now being sent out to subscribers. It includes the following articles:

  • Sibelius and the Symphonic Poem – Tuomas Kinberg
  • My Grandfather Jean Sibelius and the Finnish Colour in his Music – Satu Jalas
  • Jean Sibelius in the Netherlands – Rob Ebbers 
  • Jean and Aino: In the very trees of Ainola – Leon Chia
  • The Kerava Connection – Andrew Barnett 
  • Karajan’s Sibelius – Peter Frankland

Please click here for further information about our magazine and how to obtain copies.

Happy New Year 2021 – Sibeliplus and minus

A very Happy New Year to all members and friends of Sibelius One!

Our 2021 New Year Quiz is a series of mathematical riddles related to Sibelius and his music. Click here to go to the quiz – and good luck!

Why not also try your hand at our previous years’ teasers – click here to find them all.

Image credits:
Background: © 2018 Santeri Viinamäki (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0, cropped and tinted)
Sibelius: Pietinen, 1935 / Museovirasto, CC BY 4.0

JSW critical edition of the Fourth Symphony reviewed

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.

Click here to read our review of this exciting new publication.
Further information and orders:

Major Sibelius manuscript collection moves to the National Library of Finland

Title page of the Third Symphony

The National Library of Finland, home to the world’s largest treasury of Sibelius manuscripts, has acquired a further significant collection.

The new additions include assorted manuscripts for nine works. The material is over 1,230 pages long, and comes from the German publishing house Lienau, which published a number of major works by Sibelius in the first decade of the 20th century, including the Violin Concerto, Third Symphony, the symphonic poems Pohjola’s Daughter and Night Ride and Sunrise, and the Voces intimae string quartet. The material now acquired includes manuscripts of all these works, except Pohjola’s Daughter, the manuscript of which was sold at auction in 2016.

At the core of the collection are fair copies of major scores in Sibelius’s own hand. These include Voces intimae, the incidental music for Strindberg’s play Svanevit (Swanwhite) and the Eight Josephson Songs, Op. 57. The material reveals how much of a piano four-hands arrangement of the Third Symphony was by the Russian-born Swiss composer Paul Juon and how much was done by Sibelius himself. There is also the score that Richard Strauss used to conduct the première of the revised version of the Violin Concerto in Berlin in 1905, including markings made by Strauss in pencil.

Title page of the incidental music for ‘Swanwhite’

The manuscript material is crucial for research as well as being a valuable cultural and national heritage. At present, no permits are issued for the export of Sibelius manuscripts from Finland. At the National Library, the material is kept in ideal conditions for current and future generations of researchers and musicians.

Professor Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of the Jean Sibelius Works (JSW) critical edition based at the National Library, remarks: ‘Sibelius’s manuscripts attract researchers and musicians from all over the world to the National Library; they are an inexhaustible source of research information and inspiration. We researchers are grateful to all those who made it possible to save the manuscript collection for Finland.’ The acquisition was made possible in part through grants and donations, for example from the the Ella & Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, the Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation and Elsa Fromond, as well as three other private sponsors.

Source (text and images): National Library of Finland
Information in Finnish and link to more images: click here