Lemminkäinen 2

Lemminkäinen


5B1.mp3 = Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, final version (1939) (excerpt from the beginning) | 5B4.mp3 = The Swan of Tuonela | 5B3.mp3 = Lemminkäinen in Tuonela | 5B2.mp3 = Lemminkäinen’s return, final version (1900) (excerpt from the ending)
Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Jensen, cond.

The movements from Lemminkäinen that Sibelius had withdrawn in the 1890s, Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island and Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, returned to the public gaze in 1935 in connection with the centenary of the national epic Kalevala. The manuscripts had been given to the Kalevala Society in 1921; now they were found in the society’s safe, and with Sibelius's permission they were now performed. At the jubilee concert they were conducted by Georg Schnéevoigt, who went on to perform them all over the world.

At the performance in 1935 these two movements were still unchanged since their most recent performance in 1897, but the order was different: Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, The Swan of Tuonela, Lemminkäinen in Tuonela and Lemminkäinen's Return – in other words, the middle two movements had swapped places. Sibelius revised the two rediscovered movements, however, for a concert that was broadcast from the New York World Fair in 1939.

After the revisions of 1939, a contract was drawn up with Breitkopf & Härtel for the publication of the previously unreleased movements. During the publication process Sibelius made a number of alterations in the music. The outbreak of the Second World War meant that the publication process was unusually long drawn-out: the first edition did not appear until 1954.