Sibelius150 the winners are …
Sibelius150 the winners are …
Finland is celebrating with the rest of the World composer Jean Sibelius 150th Anniversary. Several cities in the country have named themselves as Celebration towns. But which one is the winner?
Hämeenlinna, a city some 100 miles from the capital Helsinki aims to take over the Sibelius score.The town slogan is to be The World Capital of Sibelius – funny. In Swedish Tawastehus is the composer's native city, which apparently is seeking the position of Bonn in Deutschland as Beethoven's home base. Bonn was the capital of the German Federal Republic, and so is also Hämeenlinna an administration city on regional level. That is the end of similarities.
Bonn hosts every year a month's Beethoven Festival of international level. Hämeenlinna did take an early start and began the Sibelius celebrations a couple of years ago. Due to the current economic situation the actual anniversary year will be more modest than planned. The coming years hardly will give any evidence to maintain the proud slogan.
Hämeenlinna has hired top managers (=top salary payment) to develop the city image: former director of the National Opera, Erkki Korhonen and former director of the Sibelius Hall Lahti Antti Vihinen. The town wants to invite hundreds of thousands of visitors to different events annually, totally unrealistic. I think they should stick on the beauty and calm of a small city and look for quality rather than quantity.
The city of Lahti some 70 miles North from Helsinki has through years developed the Sibelius brand. The Lahti Symphony Orchestra took the Sibelius candy from the mouth of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. The Helsinki Phil had World premiered nearly all major works by Sibelius, but never understood to make a trade mark of it. Also – there is no Sibelius Hall in the capital region, Lahti has it. Also in Lahti there were doubts as the orchestra started massive Sibelius recordings: "After all, no one will buy them" was some comment in Lahti. Now albums have been sold hundreds of thousands.
Lahti annual Sibelius Festival is classified as one of the leading European music festivals. The first week of September in the hall at the big lake of Vesijärvi (Waterlake) is particularly attractive, and the hall is sold out. Lahti also perhaps understands that Sibelius is not enough to attract visitors. The composer's person and nature values of his music however create positive images
Just recently the Wall Street Journal (08/01/2015) ranked the Lahti Sibelius Hall to the World's five best concert halls.
Lahti shares the trophy with Helsinki and its metropolitan towns of Tuusula and Järvenpää. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area has a lot to offer is: concerts, concert series, the National Opera ballet, violin competition, singing competition, exhibitions, objects such as the Sibelius Monument, Sibelius Home museum Ainola, Aino Sibelius Jarnefelt, Music Hall Sibelius Finland Experience every day in summer, restaurant Kamp Sibelius menus, events, and so on. Although Sibelius said when moving to his new home Ainola in 1904 outside of Helsinki "all of the music in me dead in Helsinki" is his spirit present. The capital cultural offerings are completely overwhelming, and it can be compared with any larger world metropol activities. Helsinki has a general pre-eminent position as the main stage of the country. Sibelius can have one of the lead roles.
Loviisa is the fourth i Sibelius town. Here Jean did spent a few summers. A very sympathetic celebrating city. There Sibelius composed brass ensemble music. As I happen to be the Finnish Champion of Brass Septed playing, this is for me a nice venue. Maybe I will take my Alexander 102 double silver horn and go back to the park outdoor podium in 2015.