Handwritten score of Sibelius’s Allegro for brass septet donated to the National Library of Finland

Date published
In 1899, Sibelius sent his work under a pseudonym ”–n-l-s” to a composition competition organised by the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation. This composition manuscript was donated to the National Library of Finland by Sulasol, the Finnish Amateur Musicians’ Association.
Picture by
Marko Oja

Attached to the donated manuscript is the envelope sent to the competition bearing the pseudonym. Its contents reveal that the composer behind the pseudonym was Jean Sibelius. The competition jury, including Richard Falt, Adolf Leander and Ernst Schnéevoigt, did not award a prize to the unknown Sibelius composition. Instead, Allegro had to wait almost 90 years for its first public performance.

The composition has elements of folk songs

The composition competition was arranged together with Jyväskylä music festival in 1899. They were looking for folk song-themed compositions for a brass septet. In Allegro, Sibelius combined several folk song melodies and together they create the different nuances of the composition. Some of the folk songs Sibelius utilised were collected and edited by Emil Sivori. They had been published in a book called “Folk songs from Mäntyharju” a few years earlier. With the manuscript, there are also materials for different parts, but they are not written in Sibelius’ handwriting.

A letter of condolence to the widow of Heikki Klemetti

In addition to the manuscript materials, the National Library received a letter of condolence written by Jean Sibelius. The letter is addressed to Armi Klemetti on the death of her husband Heikki Klemetti. The letter is dated the 28th of August 1953, two days after Klemetti passed away.

“The memory of ingenious Heikki Klemetti will live forever. Respectfully yours, Jean Sibelius”

The donation complements Sulasol’s archives

The donated materials will be added to Sulasol’s archives, which are located in the National Library of Finland. The Sulasol archives were founded in 1922 and donated to the library in 1994. The archives contain documents related to the operations of the association, but also material from Heikki Klemetti, choirmaster and musician. The archives also include a lot of composition manuscripts.

Inventory 309: Sulasol (in Finnish)

Inventory 807: Sulasol’s composition manuscript collection (in Finnish)


More information about the donation
Petri Tuovinen, information specialist