Sibelius Fourth Symphony published as a critical edition

Date published

Sibelius made changes to the manuscript of the Fourth Symphony in pencil before the publication process.

Faulty editions of Jean Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony are still in circulation. "In the score of the new critical edition, many errors and inaccuracies have been corrected and cleared. Light has also been shed on the programmatic aspects attached to the symphony", according to Tuija Wicklund, the editor of the volume.

The composition process was long, and the work was close to not being finished on time. According to his diary, during the last two weeks before the premiere of the symphony, Sibelius was struggling with God and fighting for his life. After the premiere, he revised the work before the publication process. The first versions of movements II and III have now been published for the first time.

The reception of the Fourth in 1911 was mixed, and critics depicted the work as difficult to understand, modern, and bold. Sibelius himself wrote soon after finishing the work: “I love this work. It is super fine.” Even when pushing eighty, he stated: “The Fourth Symphony represents a very essential and great part of me; I sure am happy that I wrote it.”


Further information:

Tuija Wicklund
Jean Sibelius Works

The National Library of Finland, tel. +358 2 941 24091 


The project Jean Sibelius Works begun in 1996 and aims to publish Sibelius’s production in its entirety in editions based on the thorough study of all surviving sources. The latest volume is the 33rd in the series. Jean Sibelius Works is published by the National Library of Finland, the Sibelius Society of Finland, and the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden).