Sibbe Live!: Sibelius and Italy
Join Folke Gräsbeck as he tells of Sibelius’s travels in Italy and plays piano music related to them.
In the early 1900s, Jean Sibelius’s friend Axel Carpelan, recognising the composer’s need for stimulation and a change of scenery, arranged travel funding for the Sibelius family. Carpelan also felt that Sibelius needed a Mediterranean classical lightness to his expression, so he provided 5 000 marks, or around 17 000 euros in today’s money, for the composer to travel to Italy.
The family eventually travelled to Rapallo in Italy, on the shores of the Mediterranean. In Rapallo, the composer came up with ideas for the slow movement of his second symphony and also wrote in his sketchbook of an encounter between Don Juan – or Don Giovanni, the protagonist of Mozart’s opera of the same name – and death. The sketchbook came to be bursting with themes for years to come: In Rome, for example, the first drafts of his Pohjola’s Daughter and Night Ride and Sunrise were written.
Pianist and Sibelius expert Folke Gräsbeck talks about the Rapallo period and Sibelius’s other travels in Italy. The concert has been arranged in collaboration with the Dante Alighieri Society of Turku.
Photo: Sketch of Rapallo, Italy; 7th of October, 1900, by James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917)