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Satu Jalas & Folke Gräsbeck, and a new Sibelius piece

 
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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:31 am    Post subject: Satu Jalas & Folke Gräsbeck, and a new Sibelius piece Reply with quote

Sibelius's granddaughter Satu Jalas, together with Folke Gräsbeck, has just given two concerts in the UK, in London and Brighton. Satu performs on Sibelius's own violin (see below).

The London one (20th Feb 2013) was at the Finnish Ambassador's Residence. In addition to a presentation by Satu Jalas, where she talked about the instrument and her grandfather, the music played was:
Romance in F major
On the Heath
Tanz-Idylle
Valse (Op. 81 No. 3)
Sonata in F major
Sonatina in E major
Humoresques 1, 4 & 5 (arr. Ekman)

The Brighton Concert (21st Feb 2013), organized by yours truly in collaboration with the Finnish School in Brighton, had mostly the same programme but we took out the F major Sonata and replaced it with two solo piano pieces:
Andantino in D major (‘Till Emma Kristina Marie-Louise Berndtson – Lulu') - WORLD PREMIÈRE CONCERT PERFORMANCE
Valse lyrique (original [combined Syringa/Granen] version)

Both concerts were very well attended, with a fantastic atmosphere, and a very welcoming reception to the performers and music alike.

Satu Jalas began her violin studies at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, continuing at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and as a pupil of Arthur Grumiaux. She has played as soloist, orchestral player and chamber musician in numerous European countries and in the United States. For more than thirty years she has taught the violin at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma, Italy. She has given concerts and lectures concerning Sibelius's music in different countries.

Sibelius's violin is believed to be the work of the great Austro-German instrument maker Jacob Stainer (c.1617–83), though its authenticity cannot be proved. It was given to Sibelius in 1886 by his uncle Pehr, who had in turn inherited it from his brother Johan Sibelius (1818–64), a sea captain, who had acquired it at a flea market in St Petersburg. In his old age Sibelius gave the violin to Satu Jalas, who has used it throughout her career.

The manuscript of the D major Andantino lay un­noticed in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University until late in 2012. Composed on 28th July 1889, it is typical of the ‘souvenirs’ that Sibelius wrote for family and friends; its rising main theme is also reminiscent of Johan Svendsen’s famous G major Romance from 1881. Like Sibelius’s F sharp minor waltz for cello and piano, JS194, it is dedicated to ‘Lulu’; the dedication on the manuscript of the piano piece (which contains a blank line for an unspecified melody instrument) permits us to identify her as Emma Kristina Marie-Louise Berndtson – who was just five weeks old at the time. As a supplement to the BIS Sibelius Edition, a recording by Folke Gräsbeck of the newly discovered Andantino will be released in the spring of 2013 (BIS-2065).


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I so wish that I could have been at either performance...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been priviledged to heara very special anecdote, albeit second hand, that was recounted at one of these concerts, a conversation between Mrs. Jalas and Sibelius himself from her childhood... I have expected it to appear at the forums, but I'm still searching ...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allow me to oblige...

Quoted (transcribed verbatim) from Satu Jalas, Brighton, 21st February 2013:

'As a child I spent with my brother and sister several periods in his home, called Ainola... usually every year some days at the end of August and also during the winter holidays, during the year some weekends and so on. I saw and remember his big blue eyes, and felt a very great spirituality, and there was something heavenly in his way of looking at us children; and this intuitive impression doesn't go away from my mind. He didn't stay very much with us, but when he did it was really very special. For instance, as he usually got up late in the morning, and we had already played a long time in the garden, he called us every morning around his bed, where he sat with thousands of pillows, and asked us what everybody had dreamt of; and it had to be a very detailed description - it was his way to know us better inside, and it was not a stupid idea… When he came back from his long walks he met us in the garden with grandmother, and then he opened his arms and we ran to him… He also told us a lot of nature's secrets. Once, one of my cousins went to the woods and was coming back, then grandfather asked: ‘Have you been in the woods? What did you see?’ ‘Nothing special’, was the answer. Then my grandfather winked and said: ‘Go back and look more closely.’

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
Allow me to oblige...

Quoted (transcribed verbatim) from Satu Jalas, Brighton, 21st February 2013:

'As a child I spent with my brother and sister several periods in his home, called Ainola... usually every year some days at the end of August and also during the winter holidays, during the year some weekends and so on. I saw and remember his big blue eyes, and felt a very great spirituality, and there was something heavenly in his way of looking at us children; and this intuitive impression doesn't go away from my mind. He didn't stay very much with us, but when he did it was really very special. For instance, as he usually got up late in the morning, and we had already played a long time in the garden, he called us every morning around his bed, where he sat with thousands of pillows, and asked us what everybody had dreamt of; and it had to be a very detailed description - it was his way to know us better inside, and it was not a stupid idea… When he came back from his long walks he met us in the garden with grandmother, and then he opened his arms and we ran to him… He also told us a lot of nature's secrets. Once, one of my cousins went to the woods and was coming back, then grandfather asked: ‘Have you been in the woods? What did you see?’ ‘Nothing special’, was the answer. Then my grandfather winked and said: ‘Go back and look more closely.’


Great post, Andrew Very Happy

This description makes me feel like I was on the scene.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A-MA-ZING!!!!!!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
Allow me to oblige...

Quoted (transcribed verbatim) from Satu Jalas, Brighton, 21st February 2013:

'As a child I spent with my brother and sister several periods in his home, called Ainola... usually every year some days at the end of August and also during the winter holidays, during the year some weekends and so on. I saw and remember his big blue eyes, and felt a very great spirituality, and there was something heavenly in his way of looking at us children; and this intuitive impression doesn't go away from my mind. He didn't stay very much with us, but when he did it was really very special. For instance, as he usually got up late in the morning, and we had already played a long time in the garden, he called us every morning around his bed, where he sat with thousands of pillows, and asked us what everybody had dreamt of; and it had to be a very detailed description - it was his way to know us better inside, and it was not a stupid idea… When he came back from his long walks he met us in the garden with grandmother, and then he opened his arms and we ran to him… He also told us a lot of nature's secrets. Once, one of my cousins went to the woods and was coming back, then grandfather asked: ‘Have you been in the woods? What did you see?’ ‘Nothing special’, was the answer. Then my grandfather winked and said: ‘Go back and look more closely.’


Absolutely beautiful, heart-piercing. This can only be Sibelius.

Andrew, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to quote this on the blog article I'm preparing, alongside Janet's little review. Will link it back here.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a follow-up... Today (Wednesday 6th March 2013) Folke is giving the Finnish première of the Andantino, in Hämeenlinna.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A shared MoEx to Andrew B and Satu Jalas for providing us with one of the most personal things we've ever heard about Sibelius, anywhere.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi folks, I've posted a reflective piece on the recital at Brighton at

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The content are all from Andrew and Janet of the UKSS, with photographs courtesy of the Barnetts. I've tried my best to fuse them all together into a nice tribute, but it's really hard when I was never actually there. If anyone has any corrections/suggestions, do let me know!

The memories shared by Satu are really one of a kind, hope this sharing with the wider world will delight Sibelians elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More info about the 'new' Lulu piece - Anna Pulkkis at the National Library of Finland has been continuing her research into the piece and, indeed, finding out more about 'Lulu'.

- Lulu (Emma Kristina Marie-Louise Berndtson) was the granddaughter of the Finnish painter Gunnar Berndtson (1854–95)
- In Turku City Art Museum there is a painting by Gallen-Kallela of Lulu aged 5. I'll try to get a link to this, or reproduction of it.
- Following the world première in Brighton on 21st Feb 2013, the Finnish première of the piece in Hämeenlinna on 6th March 2013 was a great success. TV interviews with Folke Gräsbeck, press attention, the whole works.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
More info about the 'new' Lulu piece - Anna Pulkkis at the National Library of Finland has been continuing her research into the piece and, indeed, finding out more about 'Lulu'.

- Lulu (Emma Kristina Marie-Louise Berndtson) was the granddaughter of the Finnish painter Gunnar Berndtson (1854–95)
- In Turku City Art Museum there is a painting by Gallen-Kallela of Lulu aged 5. I'll try to get a link to this, or reproduction of it.
- Following the world première in Brighton on 21st Feb 2013, the Finnish première of the piece in Hämeenlinna on 6th March 2013 was a great success. TV interviews with Folke Gräsbeck, press attention, the whole works.


I watched the performance and watched Folke's interview. My Finnish isn't quite up to snuff these days and I think Folke talked about this somewhat in his interview, but I have a question. How did such an obscure little piece make its way to the US to begin with?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure. Presumably the manuscript was given to the Berndtson family, someone emigrated, died, and it ended up at Harvard. But that doesn't explain why Harvard also have a manuscript for an early version of a piano Impromptu from 1893; that manuscript has no link with the Lulu one.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
Not sure. Presumably the manuscript was given to the Berndtson family, someone emigrated, died, and it ended up at Harvard. But that doesn't explain why Harvard also have a manuscript for an early version of a piano Impromptu from 1893; that manuscript has no link with the Lulu one.


Fascinatingly strange. Kinda makes you wonder what else could be out there, and where. Maybe the 8th Symphony will turn up at the Salvation Army one day.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tapkaara wrote:


Fascinatingly strange. Kinda makes you wonder what else could be out there, and where. Maybe the 8th Symphony will turn up at the Salvation Army one day.


Nearly laughed out loud in the bus! Thanks Erik!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the list of 'lost' works does make enticing if infuriating reading!
Here's my summary from BIS Box 13. (I have removed JS 13, which is now no longer lost, and the Eighth Symphony, about which a fair bit has been written on these pages!).

If you really think the Salvation Army can oblige, maybe we should place an advert in The War Cry? (Not sure if they have an international edition though.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Op.72 Nos 1 and 2: the manuscripts of the songs Vi ses igen (Farewell, to words by Rydberg) and Orions bälte (Orion’s Girdle, Topelius) went astray during the First World War, possibly lost in the post on their way to Breitkopf & Härtel.

Op.82: although the first (1915) and last (1919) versions of the Fifth Symphony are included in Box 12, no score exists for its intermediate 1916 incarnation and the only orchestral part to have survived is for double bass.

Op.107 and Op.117: Sibelius did not definitively allocate these opus numbers, al­though provisional opus lists reveal that he did consider using them for ‘Four Reli­gious Choral Pieces’ or for a hymn for choir and orchestra (possibly Salem) (Op.107), and for Andante festivo, the orchestral Academic March, the choral piece Karjalan osa and the Suite for Violin and Strings (Op.117). The published edition (1993) of the Suite for Violin and Strings, JS185, is incorrectly labelled Op.117: the lure of assign­ing Sibelius’s highest opus number must have been too great for the editors and pub­lishers to resist.

JS29: The American Millers’ Song – is lost.

JS80: Fechtmusik (Fencing Music) – an orchestral score written in Vienna in 1891 as an entry in a competition organized by a fencer named Hartl for music to accom­pany his displays. Sibelius’s piece, one of around 40 entries, was judged to be too serious and ‘non-Viennese’, and is now lost. The winning entry, by a local conductor, was a Viennese medley which Sibelius was asked to orchestrate – a task he performed in just 45 minutes.

JS106: Kantaatti tohtorin- ja maisterinvihkijäisissä 31 [30] päivänä touko­kuuta 1897 (Cantata for the University Graduation Ceremonies of 1897), the last and most extensive of three cantatas that Sibelius composed for Helsinki Univer­sity in the 1890s. The choral parts are intact but the orchestral score is lost; a few brass and percussion parts still exist but these give little idea of the overall dis­posi­tion of the work. We do, however, have most of Sibelius’s own piano reduc­tion, made for rehear­sal purposes, and this has formed the basis of the recording in­cluded in Box 11 of this edition. In six of the movements it has been possible for Kalevi Aho to complete missing elements of the piano score to produce a per­formable version.

JS151: an arrangement of Porilaisten marssi for small orchestra dating from Dec­em­ber 1892, when it was performed by an amateur orchestra in Helsinki at the un­veiling of Albert Edelfelt’s painting of the same name. This arrangement is now lost.

JS175: Snöfallet (The Snowfall) was written in September 1927 as a present for Jakob von Julin, a businessman who had supplied a musical motif that Sibelius had arranged two years earlier (Morceau romantique, JS135a/b). Nothing more is known about this piece.

JS198: Theme and Seven Variations for piano, composed in Vienna in the spring of 1891 and warmly acclaimed by Sibelius’s fiancée Aino. The solo piano version is lost, but a revised version for two violins, cello and piano has survived (JS156, Box 2).

JS204: a song, Tre trallande jäntor (Three Warbling Maidens), full of ‘humour and poetry’ (diary, 12th August 1915) to a text by Fröding, composed in August 1915 but rejected just two days later when the composer’s mood darkened and he lacked the strength to compose. Now lost.

JS223: Zirkus-Marsch, composed in Vienna in March 1891 and now lost.

Ökenscen; Tant Evelinas liv i toner: in later life Sibelius told the musicologist and Åbo Akademi professor Otto Andersson that his first composition was a piano work for children’s theatre, called Ökenscen (Desert Scene), but no other traces of such a work have survived. As a boy Sibelius is known to have entertained his aunt Evelina with a piano piece or improvisation called Tant Evelinas liv i toner (Aunt Evelina’s Life in Music). If either of these pieces was ever written down, no traces have sur­vived.

Piece for string quartet: when preparing his early monograph on Sibelius (1916), Erik Furuhjelm was allowed to see many manuscripts from the composer’s youth (a privilege otherwise unavailable to scholars until the 1990s). Evidently he was allowed to see the original manuscript for Vattendroppar, often believed to be Sibe­lius’s first sur­viving composition, as he mentions that the manuscript also contains a piece for string quartet, ‘apparently composed rather later. It displays a relatively rich elabora­tion’. The original manuscript of Vattendroppar, and with it this piece for quartet, are unfortunately lost.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew B wrote:
Well, the list of 'lost' works does make enticing if infuriating reading!
Here's my summary from BIS Box 13. (I have removed JS 13, which is now no longer lost, and the Eighth Symphony, about which a fair bit has been written on these pages!).

If you really think the Salvation Army can oblige, maybe we should place an advert in The War Cry? (Not sure if they have an international edition though.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Op.72 Nos 1 and 2: the manuscripts of the songs Vi ses igen (Farewell, to words by Rydberg) and Orions bälte (Orion’s Girdle, Topelius) went astray during the First World War, possibly lost in the post on their way to Breitkopf & Härtel.

Op.82: although the first (1915) and last (1919) versions of the Fifth Symphony are included in Box 12, no score exists for its intermediate 1916 incarnation and the only orchestral part to have survived is for double bass.

Op.107 and Op.117: Sibelius did not definitively allocate these opus numbers, al­though provisional opus lists reveal that he did consider using them for ‘Four Reli­gious Choral Pieces’ or for a hymn for choir and orchestra (possibly Salem) (Op.107), and for Andante festivo, the orchestral Academic March, the choral piece Karjalan osa and the Suite for Violin and Strings (Op.117). The published edition (1993) of the Suite for Violin and Strings, JS185, is incorrectly labelled Op.117: the lure of assign­ing Sibelius’s highest opus number must have been too great for the editors and pub­lishers to resist.

JS29: The American Millers’ Song – is lost.

JS80: Fechtmusik (Fencing Music) – an orchestral score written in Vienna in 1891 as an entry in a competition organized by a fencer named Hartl for music to accom­pany his displays. Sibelius’s piece, one of around 40 entries, was judged to be too serious and ‘non-Viennese’, and is now lost. The winning entry, by a local conductor, was a Viennese medley which Sibelius was asked to orchestrate – a task he performed in just 45 minutes.

JS106: Kantaatti tohtorin- ja maisterinvihkijäisissä 31 [30] päivänä touko­kuuta 1897 (Cantata for the University Graduation Ceremonies of 1897), the last and most extensive of three cantatas that Sibelius composed for Helsinki Univer­sity in the 1890s. The choral parts are intact but the orchestral score is lost; a few brass and percussion parts still exist but these give little idea of the overall dis­posi­tion of the work. We do, however, have most of Sibelius’s own piano reduc­tion, made for rehear­sal purposes, and this has formed the basis of the recording in­cluded in Box 11 of this edition. In six of the movements it has been possible for Kalevi Aho to complete missing elements of the piano score to produce a per­formable version.

JS151: an arrangement of Porilaisten marssi for small orchestra dating from Dec­em­ber 1892, when it was performed by an amateur orchestra in Helsinki at the un­veiling of Albert Edelfelt’s painting of the same name. This arrangement is now lost.

JS175: Snöfallet (The Snowfall) was written in September 1927 as a present for Jakob von Julin, a businessman who had supplied a musical motif that Sibelius had arranged two years earlier (Morceau romantique, JS135a/b). Nothing more is known about this piece.

JS198: Theme and Seven Variations for piano, composed in Vienna in the spring of 1891 and warmly acclaimed by Sibelius’s fiancée Aino. The solo piano version is lost, but a revised version for two violins, cello and piano has survived (JS156, Box 2).

JS204: a song, Tre trallande jäntor (Three Warbling Maidens), full of ‘humour and poetry’ (diary, 12th August 1915) to a text by Fröding, composed in August 1915 but rejected just two days later when the composer’s mood darkened and he lacked the strength to compose. Now lost.

JS223: Zirkus-Marsch, composed in Vienna in March 1891 and now lost.

Ökenscen; Tant Evelinas liv i toner: in later life Sibelius told the musicologist and Åbo Akademi professor Otto Andersson that his first composition was a piano work for children’s theatre, called Ökenscen (Desert Scene), but no other traces of such a work have survived. As a boy Sibelius is known to have entertained his aunt Evelina with a piano piece or improvisation called Tant Evelinas liv i toner (Aunt Evelina’s Life in Music). If either of these pieces was ever written down, no traces have sur­vived.

Piece for string quartet: when preparing his early monograph on Sibelius (1916), Erik Furuhjelm was allowed to see many manuscripts from the composer’s youth (a privilege otherwise unavailable to scholars until the 1990s). Evidently he was allowed to see the original manuscript for Vattendroppar, often believed to be Sibe­lius’s first sur­viving composition, as he mentions that the manuscript also contains a piece for string quartet, ‘apparently composed rather later. It displays a relatively rich elabora­tion’. The original manuscript of Vattendroppar, and with it this piece for quartet, are unfortunately lost.


Great write-up. I have to get Box 13. I haven't been buying much music lately, for some reason.

I remember reading about the Fencing Music some years ago. I'd LOVE to hear this.

And regarding the Salvation Army, I'll head out there this weekend. I'll let you know if I find anything...

Leon- Don't laugh too much on the bus, you'll frighten the old ladies.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the old ladies would be frightened if they realized that we were all laughing at something related to Sibelius. After all, it's civilized laughter.
But the teens, yoofs and yobs - THEY would be scared by culture.

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