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.
Breitkopf & Härtel has issued more works by Sibelius as separate publications based on existing volumes in the acclaimed JSW critical edition.
Each new issue includes a thorough introductory essay in German and English and the newly edited Urtext of the full score itself, but not the facsimile photos and extensive critical comments of the full editions.
The four Lemminkäinen tone poems (Op. 22) are all here presented, edited by Tuija Wicklund. Here we have the standard, final versions of each piece (early versions, where available, are available in the full hardback JSW edition: SON 618). After the first performances in 1896 and 1897, Sibelius soon revised The Swan of Tuonela (which was soon to become very popular) and Lemminkäinen’s Return for publication, but left the two other pieces unissued for nearly forty years before giving them a final revision. The entire cycle in its definitive version was published in 1954.
The final versions are all included in the hardback volume SON 619. Orchestral parts are available as hire material.
Another work from the same year as the original Lemminkäinen, 1896, and bearing an adjacent opus number (Op. 21) is the hymn Natus in curas for male choir a cappella, and the Urtext of this piece too has been issued separately. It was composed for the unveiling of a monument and has a Latin text by Fridolf Gustafsson (1853–1924), professor at Helsinki University. The work was included in a choral collection published in 1899, for which Sibelius made small revisions. This version was published in the JSW Complete Edition (SON 624), edited by Sakari Ylivuori, from which the new volume is extracted.
We draw your attention to the following urgent appeal from Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of the works of Jean Sibelius, also reported on the Slipped Disc website:
‘Some time ago, a large and valuable collection of Sibelius manuscripts which had been in a publishing archive in Germany since the early 1900s, was offered again for sale. The collection includes over 1,200 pages of various manuscripts, including Sibelius’s own purely written notes for the string quartet Voces intimae, the Svanevit suite for orchestra, and the music for the plays Pelléas and Mélisande and Belshazzar’s Feast, arranged for piano. In addition, the collection contains important source material for the violin concerto, the third symphony and the symphonic poem Night Ride and Sunrise. Now the fate of the collection – the largest known in the Sibelius research circle still wanders without a permanent home in the world – seems to be completely unclear. As a national treasure, Sibelius’s manuscripts are invaluable.
‘Today, a disaster is again imminent: one of our national treasures is in danger of ending up in an unknown country and at an unknown address. I hope it is a common interest, but also our duty and responsibility to nurture our unique national property and cultural heritage.’
Finlandia is edited by JSW’S editor-in-chief Timo Virtanen and comes with a detailed preface discussing the tone poem’s genesis and publication history. It is fascinating to learn, for example, that Sibelius took the autograph score with him to German in the autumn of 1900 but lost it – necessitating an urgent message to his faithful copyist Ernst Rölling in Helsinki, asking for a score to be written out from the orchestral parts!
The paperback volume is much cheaper than the hardback one will be (SON 630, in preparation) but does not include the full explanation of sources and of the editorial decision-making process that will come when it appears in the full hardback edition. Some asterisks in the score indicate points that will be clarified in the forthcoming volume.
Also newly released by Edition Wilhelm Hansen is an arrangement by Luukas Hiltunen for string quartet of the Scène d’amour from Scaramouche, Op. 71.
Sibelius himself arranged exctracts from the ballet-pantomime Scaramouche (1913) for piano, and the Scène d’amour also for violin and piano. This arrangement, which is based on the violin and piano version, received its world première performance on 23 March 2018 at the Church of the Cross in Lahti, Finland.
Luukas Hiltunen has also made orchestral arrangements of Sibelius’s organ pieces Intrada and Surusoitto, Op. 111. More information on those arrangements was published in Sibelius One’s magazine in January 2019.
Announced as a forthcoming release in Breitkopf & Härtel’s JSW critical edition is a volume of music for solo instrument and piano.
Series IV, Vol 6 is edited by Anna Pulkkis and will include:
Two Pieces, Op. 2 violin & piano
Malinconia, Op. 20 cello & piano
Two Serious Melodies, Op. 77 violin/cello & piano
Four Pieces, Op. 78 violin/cello & piano
Six Pieces, Op. 79 violin & piano
Sonatina in E major, Op. 80 violin & piano
Five Pieces, Op. 81 violin & piano
Novellette, Op. 102 violin & piano
Five Danses champêtres, Op. 106 violin & piano
Four Pieces, Op. 115 violin & piano
Three Pieces, Op. 116 violin & piano
These works represent Sibelius’s complete opus-numbered output for violin/cello and piano, from the early Op. 2 pieces (revised around the time of the Fourth Symphony) through to his last opus-numbered pieces from 1929. Many of the pieces, including the famous Romance in F major (Op. 78 No. 2) date from the period of the First World War.
Page 1 of the Scherzo from Op. 4, from the Sibelius collection of the National Library of Finland (HUL 0552)
The next release in the JSW Critical Edition is now imminent, and includes all the works by Sibelius for string orchestra. JSW is published by the National Library of Finland, the Sibelius Society of Finland and the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden).
Jean Sibelius wrote eight works for string orchestra over a wide time span stretching from the early 1890s until 1939. Many of these are either arrangements of earlier compositions or were composed in conjunction with a piano version. In addition to strings, additional instruments are used in some pieces (timpani, triangle, flutes, harp).
This new volume contains three first publications: two versions of the Impromptus and the early version of Rakastava. During the editing process, some previously unknown source materials have come to light. These include the score and parts from Andante festivo’s first performance (1939) in the YLE archive as well as another contemporary score with parts in the archive of Ylioppilaskunnan Soittajat. These new sources have significantly expanded the understanding of this work.
Edited by Pekka Helasvuo and Tuija Wicklund
1. Scherzo (Presto – from Op. 4)
2. Impromptu, Op. 5 No. 5
3. Impromptu, Op. 5 Nos 5–6 (early version)
4. Impromptu, Op. 5 Nos 5–6 (revised version)
5. Rakastava, Op. 14 (early version)
6. Rakastava, Op. 14 (revised version)
7. Romance in C, Op. 42
8. Suite mignonne, Op. 98a
9. Suite champêtre, Op. 98b
10. Suite caractéristique, Op. 100
11. Andante festivo, JS 34b
Breitkopf & Härtel have made the Urtext of one of Sibelius’s most popular piano pieces, the Romance in D flat major, Op. 24 No. 9, available separately.
The ten pieces that make up Op. 24 were composed between 1895 and 1903 and include some of the finest examples of nationalistic romanticism in Sibelius’s piano œuvre. The Romance in D flat major is the ninth piece in the set and was composed in 1901 as a Christmas gift for Axel Carpelan.