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THE CRITICAL EDITION: JEAN SIBELIUS WORKS

 

In co-operation with the National Library of Finland and the German publishers Breitkopf & Härtel the Society is in the process of publishing the critical edition of the complete works of Jean Sibelius, Jean Sibelius Works (JSW). The editing work started in 1996 and the whole series will amount to about 52 volumes.

So far 26 volumes have been published. As a rule, two volumes have been published each year by Breitkopf & Härtel. The Edition is the biggest music research project ever carried out in Finland.

From the year 2005 the Editor-in-Chief of the series has been Dr. Timo Virtanen. Before him the task was taken care of by Professor Fabian Dahlström (1996-2000) and Professor Glenda Dawn Goss (2000-2004).

Jean Sibelius Works will contain all Sibelius’ surviving complete compositions as well as all of his own arrangements. The definitive versions of the works presented in this publication are the result of a rigorous scholarly and critical evaluation of all relevant primary sources and are intended to serve as the basis for practical editions and thereby, for authentic performances. Completed early settings which were performed but later withdrawn are considered only in exceptional cases, since Sibelius endeavored to leave a definitive body of works to posterity. To that end, the composer changed his scores after their first performances and before they were printed and sometimes he revised them again even later.

The pressing need for a complete Sibelius edition in accordance with the newest scholarly research has long been acknowledged in professional circles. Those familiar with the transmission and publication history of Sibelius’ music are also aware that even today many major compositions have remained inadequately edited. A new critical edition also serving practical needs has become a must, especially in view of the renewed international interest in Sibelius and his music.

The launching of the Jean Sibelius Works on the threshold of the twenty-first century is the result of the great gift made by the Sibelius family in 1982. The music manuscripts in the composer’s possession were handed over to the University of Helsinki. For the first time it was possible to obtain a complete overview of Jean Sibelius creative process and to start planning a critical edition of his complete works on the basis of his rich personal archives.

 

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