New critical edition of Sibelius's Sixth Symphony cleans up old misprints

Date published

A critical edition of the Sixth Symphony has been published in the series of Jean Sibelius’s complete works (Jean Sibelius Works). The errors in the first edition of the symphony that came out in 1924 have been identified and removed. The volume was edited by senior researcher Kai Lindberg.

Jean Sibelius by a piano. Photo:Foto Roos, Helsinki city museum.

The first edition of Sibelius’s Sixth Symphony was published by the Swedish publisher Abr. Hirsch Förlag in 1924. The symphony’s publishing rights were transferred to the Danish publisher Edition Wilhelm Hansen in 1936. The first edition had numerous errors that were carried over to Hansen’s editions. In 1981, Hansen published a new, revised edition. However, the edition still contains many of the errors from the previous editions.

“The newly published edition is based on Sibelius’s autograph score, and several errors and inaccuracies of the previous editions have been corrected in it”, says the editor, DMus Kai Lindberg.

The genesis of Sibelius’s Sixth Symphony in the 1910s remains rather obscure. According to his diary entries, in the second half of the 1910s he worked simultaneously with the revision of the Symphony V and Symphonies VI and VII. Sibelius’s plans also included composing another violin concerto, which he began to sketch around 1915. However, the concerto was never finished, and later Sibelius used the material originally sketched for it in his Symphony VI. The symphony’s premier on 19 February 1923 was welcomed enthusiastically and positively. In their reviews, critics praised Sibelius’s technical mastery, and especially his orchestration skills.

The editorial work of the volume has utilised archive materials from the National Library of Finland, the National Archives of Finland, the Helsinki City Archives, Archives of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sibelius Museum, Breitkopf & Härtelin and Gehrmans Musikförlag.


More information:

Kai Lindberg
senior researcher
Jean Sibelius Works 

tel. 02941 24089

The Jean Sibelius Works project has operated since 1996 and publishes the entire collection of Sibelius’s compositions as thoroughly researched editions. The newest publication is the 35th volume of the series. Sibelius’s complete works are published by the National Library of Finland, the Sibelius Society of Finland, and the publishing company Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden).