Sibelius’ manuscripts to the National Library

In May 2016, the National Library acquired significant manuscripts by Sibelius. The Paloheimo family donated Sibelius’ manuscript of the song Tanken (JS 192), composed to a text by Runeberg, for two female voices and piano. The composer dedicated the piece to Eero and Saimi Järnefelt on their 25th wedding anniversary in 1915. The song was first performed in June 1915 at the Järnefelt home in Suviranta by Sibelius’ daughter Ruth (later Snellman) and Järnefelt’s daughter Leena (later Paloheimo). The fine manuscript can justly be said to be rife with Finnish cultural history.


On 24 May 2016, the National Library used private funding to acquire an extensive and highly significant set of sheet music from a Sotheby’s auction on the cantata The Captive Queen, op. 48, for mixed choir and orchestra. Sibelius composed the piece to a text written by Cajander to mark the celebration of the centennial of the birth of J. V. Snellman, organised by the Imperial Alexander University in 1906.

The material includes the only known original material of the cantata’s arrangement for male choir. Sibelius drafted the arrangement by writing sections intended for a male choir next to the mixed choir score and by adding strips of paper with amendments to the score. In addition to this manuscript, the material acquired from the auction includes a copy of the orchestral score used as a template for the first edition of the cantata, hand-copied orchestral parts as well as a piano score written by the German composer Paul Juon with Sibelius’ notes.

This material on The Captive Queen is a “missing link” connecting the composer’s manuscript and the printed edition, and it provides crucial information on the different versions of the piece as well as the related published material.


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