Fennica Gehrman has signed a publishing agreement for a concert overture by Sibelius. Based on material found in the manuscript of the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), it was discovered by the conductor Tuomas Hannikainen, following references made by Sibelius himself. A significant work that, according to Hannikainen, stands up well on its own, it lasts 11–12 minutes and was conducted by Sibelius at concerts of his works at the Fire Brigade Hall in Turku on 7 April 1900, and the next day at the Old Academy Hall in the same city. The reviewer of Uusi Aura called the piece a ‘ballad’ that ‘attracted much attention’; his colleague in Åbo Underrättelser mentioned that the piece had not been performed in Turku before, and was received with ‘sympathetic applause’, though conceding that it was somewhat overshadowed by the suite from King Christian II. The score of the overture is scheduled for publication in autumn 2019.
Previously it has been assumed that the overture performed in Turku was just the orchestral introduction to the opera, some three minutes of music that lack an effective concert ending. When examining the original manuscript, however, Hannikainen became curious about some markings and changes, apparently in Sibelius’s handwriting. Through extensive research into the manuscript and other sources he was able to reconstruct the longer overture, i.e. the Concert Overture.
A new edition of the Six Humoresques, Opp. 87 & 89, has been released by Fennica Gehrman. The new edition is for violin and piano, and is based on the Urtext of the orchestral version. The solo part is corrected and amended according to the composer’s manuscripts. Misprints and misinterpretations found in earlier editions have been corrected.
Sibelius composed the Humoresques in 1917–18 and, as his biographer Erik Tawaststjerna observed, they capture ‘the lyrical, dancing soul of the violin’. Sibelius himself remarked that they show ‘the anguish of existence… fitfully lit up by the sun’. They were originally for violin and orchestra but have also been performed in an earlier piano reduction by Karl Ekman – about which, however, Sibelius wrote: ‘The piano arrangemenrs by Karl Ekman are not good. They give a wholly false impression of the Humoresques.’
Rather than using the Ekman version, Jani Kyllönen has made a completely new piano reduction for this edition, following the orchestral texture closely.
Two further works by Sibelius have been issued in new editions by the publisher Fennica Gehrman.
The edition of the Overture in F minor for brass septet is based on the composer’s manuscripts at the National Library of Finland, and makes the work available for the first time in its original instrumentation. The overture dates from the summer of 1889 and was composed for the brass septet directed by Christian Haupt in Lovisa. Score and parts: ISBN-13: 9790550113039. Price: € 55.30 Click here to order.
Also released is an orchestral arrangement by Ernest Pingoud of the well-known Op. 75 piano pieces, ‘The Trees’. Ernest Pingoud (1887–1942) was a Finnish composer of Alsatian parentage, known for his colourful orchestral scores; he was a pupil of the Anton Rubinstein, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov at the St Petersburg Conservatory. The five pieces are among the best-known of Sibelius’s piano works and include Granen (The Spruce), an indispensable part of the repertoire of Finnish pianists.
ISBN-13: 9790550113237. Price: € 24.90 Click here to order.
The choral suite Rakastava was originally composed for tenor and male choir in 1894; this arrangement for soprano, baritone and mixed choir dates from four years later. The first version was composed for a competition organized by the YL choir, in which it won second prize, and the mixed-choir version was made for a volume in the collection Sävelistö. Many years later Sibelius transformed the choral work into a delicate and highly regarded suite for string orchestra, triangle and timpani.
The Five Esquisses were written in 1929 and are Sibelius’s last opus-numbered piano works. In these pieces Sibelius explores a new, bolder harmonic language. The titles of the pieces all allude in some way to nature, though the music contains few specifically pictorial elements. They do not share any thematic material, but are nonetheless closely related in mood and texture.