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Heartily welcome to our new home pages.

Pelléas et Mélisande, op 46 is playing in the background. I am sitting in our summer cottage in the Korppoo archipelago on a weekend in May. The sun is shining and the sea is glittering in its breathtakingly beautiful way, as it usually does. The preparations for the forthcoming summer´s Sibelius festival are well underway. Here in Korppoo, Sibelius spent a couple of summers in his early years, making music and composing, and must have enjoyed the bright archipelago nights and the glittering seascape. In this landscape, for example, the Korpo Trio and the Hafträsk Trio saw the light of day, compositions which still startle their audiences with their freshness and brightness of youth.

All in all, Jean Sibelius composed over 600 compositions during his lifetime. During the first sixteen years of our festival in Korppoo already more than 270 of them have been performed here. We have also enjoyed more than twenty world premieres. It seems that in our festivals we are moving from one year of celebration to another. In 2015 we celebrated the 150th anniversary after the birth of Sibelius, in 2016 the 150th anniversary of Ferruccio Busoni´s birth, and in 2017 we celebrated the centenary of Finland’s independence. This summer we will have the 150th anniversary of Oskar Meri kanto´s birth – and our programme will commemorate him.

Oskar Merikanto was one of the leading figures in Finnish music around the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. Merikanto´s natural clarity and melodic touch, as well as the folksong-like style of composing made the compositions so widely loved. The popularity was even further enhanced by the use of Finnish poetry and language in the songs.

I wish you all enjoyable and personal moments in the beautiful Korppoo Manor with the music of Jean Sibelius and Oskar Merikanto.

Petri Kirkkomäki
Executive Director

Sibelius i Korpo - Sibelius Korppoossa - Sibelius in Korppoo festival


Distinguished Concert Listener,

a warm welcome to our concerts at the 17th Edition of the Sibelius in Korpo festival! Three years ago, in 2015, we celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Sibelius’s birth. This year, in 2018, the 150th Anniversary of Sibelius’s fellow composer Oskar Merikanto is commemorated. 

The Sibelius family spent many an inofficial, prolonged musical soirée at the famous music salon of Korpo Gård in the summer of 1887. We are grateful to the today hostess of the manor, Tuulikki Wahe-Rohrbach, who together with her youngsters Kira and Juhani, Gesa and Markus, once again is letting us visit this beautiful house.

Sibelius och Merikanto

Sibelius and Merikanto were practically the same age, and it is told, that they were surprisingly good friends as colleagues. Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony was premiered on 28 April 1892, and Sibelius must have appreciated, that Merikanto made an excellent description of his new, nationally oriented Kalevala romantic style in the newspapers. Accordingly, Sibelius wrote an encouraging, witty characterization of Merikanto’s famous ‘Waltz of the Summer Evening’, as it was published for the first time in 1895. As a frequently performing pianist, Merikanto played the first performance of Sibelius’s important Piano Sonata in F major, Op. 12, also in 1895.

The Piano Music Four Hands Complete

During three concerts this year, the complete repertoir of Sibelius’s and Merikanto’s piano music four hands is performed. Sibelius wrote only one original piece in the genre, called Adagio, dedicated ‘Rakkaalle Ainolle’ (‘To My Beloved Aino’). It is dated 10 august 1931, the 60th Anniversary birthday of Aino Sibelius, the composer’s wife. As an opinion of some musicologists, this Adagio is stylistically fascinating, as it possibly contains turns from the lost eighth symphony. It also marks the end of Sibelius’s vast period of active composing, from 1881 to 1931. After this followed the so called ‘Silence of Ainola’. Only six years earlier, Sibelius composed his last melodrama, A Lonely Ski-Trail (B. Gripenberg), and we are thrilled to hear our famous theatre director Ralf Långbacka reciting this!

Merikanto produced even nine different kind of piano pieces four hands. As 17 years old he wrote the comprehensive fantasy over the Finnish folk song Tuoll’ on mun kultani, impressive piano writing. In 1898, as the only competitor, he took part in a competition with Pohjan neiti (‘The Maiden of the North’), a complete opera in Finnish language, the first of its kind in Finnish musical history. From this opera he arranged three piano pieces four hands, and especially Sammon taonta (‘The Forging of Sampo’) is interesting, the obsessed pulsation of which is foreshadowing the equivalent rhythmic passion of later futurists.

The Kantele Music Complete

Helkähdys (‘Twang’) for two kanteles, is the only original kantele piece Merikanto wrote, but many of his popular songs and piano pieces are often performed on kantele, as we shall hear.

Sibelius composed two original kantele pieces to his wife’s cousin, Elin Ailama Järnefelt. She had lost both her legs in a real terrorist attack, often erroneously, too modestly referred to as the ‘Train accident in St Andrea’ in 1896. In 1899, the birthday of the author Juhani Aho was celebrated in the house of the painter Pekka Halonen. On this occasion, Sibelius spontaneously composed an additional melody to the the 5-stringed kantele playing of Halonen’s mother.

Folke Gräsbeck
Artistic Director





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