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Music by Jean Sibelius arr. by Peter Ash

Text adapted by Donald Sturrock

for narrator and symphony orchestra

85 minutes

Published by Music Link International

“a remarkable synthesis of words and music.... brilliant, touching, alive with humour, courage and tenderness.” 

St. Petersburg Gazette, 1996

© Patrick Benson
Robbie Coltrane & Peter Ash - LSSO The Minpins rehearsal
LSSO - The Minpins London Premiere
Satumainen Sibelius
Satumainen Sibelius
Satumainen Sibelius
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Satumainen Sibelius

The Minpins is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s last story, which was published after his death. A small boy is drawn into a frightening forest, where he encounters many dangers and surprises as well as a world of tiny people, the Minpins, who live in safety, high up in the trees. Through a combination of skill and heroism, and a flight on the back of a great white swan, the boy defeats a terrifying monster, before bidding a sad and poignant farewell to his new friends.


The story, combined with elements from the Finnish epic legend, the Kalevala, is narrated over a score taken from the orchestral music of Sibelius. Created with the enthusiastic support of the Sibelius Estate in Helsinki, The Minpins received a rapturous reception at its English and Russian language premieres in St. Petersburg in 1996. 

"There was indeed something for everyone in this performance of The Minpins, which brought together the fantastic world of Roald Dahl’s last work and a generous amount of Sibelius, some of it seldom heard in the concert hall. Conceived by Donald Sturrock and Peter Ash, the LSSO’s artistic director who was also on the podium here, The Minpins makes such a natural but previously unthought-of match between Sibelius and Dahl that it just had to happen...Under Ash’s strong and sympathetic guidance, the orchestra itself played with warmth and a startling grasp of the idiom...coming from a group of teen-agers these performances were little short of phenomenal."

The Times, 2004


1 narrator. 1 solo violin (boy). Boys’ choir (optional)

3 (3rd picc). 2 +cor. 2 (2nd E flat) + bass. 2 + contra/ timp. perc (4). / 2 harps(2nd opt.)

harmonium (chamber org.)/ strings



Russian, German, Finnish, French, Swedish

For more about Roald Dahl's The Minpins:




Camerata St. Petersburg / Ash 

Hermitage, 1996



LSSO / Ash (narrated by Robbie Coltrane)

Barbican, 2004


The Finnish Premiere of the piece took place in May 2015 at the Finnish National Opera with five semi-staged performances celebrating the 150th anniversary of Sibelius.


Performances have taken place in France, Australia, Germany, the UK, Finland and Russia.

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