Possible sketches of Sibelius’s eighth symphony discovered

Posted on: November 16, 2011

In Wednesday’s (11/16) Helsingin Sonomat (Helsinki, Finland), Vesa Sirén writes, “My hands are trembling just a little bit as I run the magnifying glass over the 80-year-old score in the National Library. That boom from the timpani, those dissonances, and the symphonic progression of those fragments. … Yes, the handwriting, both literally and figuratively, is familiar: late period Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), but what we have here does not belong to any known orchestral work by the master. Could it be? Could this be the Holy Grail of Finnish classical music—a sketch of Sibelius’s lost Eighth Symphony? ‘Yes, this could very well be a fragment of the Eighth Symphony or from the beginning of one of its movements’, replies Timo Virtanen, editor-in-chief of the critical edition of the collected works of Jean Sibelius, his voice suitably hushed. … We head off to the new Music Centre in Helsinki to have a word or two with Sakari Oramo, Chief Conductor with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and with John Storgårds, his opposite number at the Helsinki Philharmonic. … Storgårds agrees to subject the drafts to a little laboratory testing with the musicians of the Helsinki Philharmonic. … ‘Whoo. Chills going up and down the spine there’, confesses John Storgårds after it is all over.”

Posted November 16, 2011