Yead of induction: 2021
Custodian: National Library of Finland
Jean Sibelius’ musical manuscript archives
Jean Sibelius is the most significant and internationally best-known Finnish composer, whose production has become an integral part of our country’s national identity. The National Library of Finland is home to the largest and the most important archives of Sibelius’ musical manuscripts – various drafts, transcribed notations, and sheets that contain the composer’s markings. The library’s collections also include a large part of the composer’s correspondence.
In 1982, Sibelius’ estate donated the valuable musical manuscript archives to the Helsinki University Library, currently the National Library of Finland. The donation was conditional to the organisation and cataloguing of the resources. The Jean Sibelius Musical Manuscripts at Helsinki University Library: a Complete Catalogue (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel), prepared by Kari Kilpeläinen, was completed and published in 1991. The catalogue includes an archiving identifier for nearly 2,000 manuscript units. The total number of manuscript pages is in the range of tens of thousands. The size of the archives is eight shelf metres.
Since the donation of the resources and the publication of the catalogue, the study of drafts and other musical manuscripts has become a key theme in Sibelius research, with the manuscript resources also laying the foundation for Jean Sibelius Works – Jean Sibelius Werke, a critical study of the works of Sibelius edited at the National Library of Finland. The manuscript research has crucially expanded and shaped the image of how Sibelius composed and produced his works.
The National Library of Finland’s Sibelius manuscript collection is rich and unique, both in Finland and globally. It is a carefully nurtured national cultural treasure.