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Sibelius’s piano trios published as a critical edition: ”the most important group of works of his youth”

Date published

The newest volume in the Jean Sibelius Works publication series includes trios for piano and strings by Sibelius. The editors are concert pianist, DMus Folke Gräsbeck and DMus Anna Pulkkis.

The manuscript of composer Jean Sibelius bears the date 8 July 1886.

Sibelius composed the Havträsk Trio while on summer vacation in the Turku archipelago. The manuscript bears the date 8th July, 1886.

Picture by
Petri Tuovinen

Gräsbeck has a wide experience of performing Sibelius’s trios. ”Piano trios are the most important group of works from Sibelius’s youth in the 1880s”, he says. ”For a long time, the only one known was the so-called Lovisa Trio, but the situation changed radically when his heirs donated a large number of manuscripts to the National Library of Finland in 1982. The updated list of works contains five complete piano trios, which illustrate the development of the young composer during the years 1883–1888.”

The trio from the summer of 1883 is the earliest known multi-movement work by Sibelius. It was composed alongside activities such as fishing and hunting. ”On rainy days it is fun to have something to work on,” the 17-years-old youth wrote to his uncle. The earliest manuscripts were the most puzzling ones to edit. ”It was quite challenging to strike a balance between authenticity and that which is playable in practice”, according to Gräsbeck. ”In this regard, the quality is higher in the Havträsk, Korpo, and Lovisa Trios, composed in 1886–1888.”

All the works except one are now published for the first time. The editors hope that the new volume will result in more frequent performances of Sibelius’s trios in concerts.

Additional information

The project Jean Sibelius Works began 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 34th 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).

Contact person

Anna Pulkkis
+358 (0)2 941 24088
National Library of Finland
Jean Sibelius Works