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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

JSW Critical Edition – Music for String Orchestra


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

Contents:
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

Click here for more information or to order: Breitkopf & Härtel SON 629
ISMN: 979-0-004-80343-1
National Library of Finland web link: click here

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