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Cat. No. CHAN 10809(3) Price: £21 No. of discs: 3
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CHAN 10809 - Sibelius: Complete Symphonies
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Available From: 22 March 2014
Sibelius: Complete Symphonies

The Finnish maestro John Storgårds, Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, presents his first recording on Chandos, a complete symphonic cycle of his nation’s greatest musical export, Jean Sibelius.

The triumphant premieres of Symphonies Nos 1 and 2, with their big tunes and great romantic sweep, established the international reputation of Sibelius as a symphonist, some audiences even considering him Beethoven’s natural successor. The symphonies that followed chart Sibelius’s development as one of the most individual composers of the early twentieth century. Each symphony has its unique approach, whether it be the classicism of the Third, the brooding modernism of the Fourth, or the icy stillness of the Sixth, so evocative of the Finnish landscape. The Symphony No. 7 in C major represents Sibelius’s greatest achievement in the symphonic form. In it he compresses the grand emotional sweep of a symphony into one startlingly original movement lasting little over twenty minutes.

Illness prevented Sibelius from completing any major works in the last thirty years of his life. Manuscripts show, however, that he never stopped composing. Recorded here are three orchestral fragments prepared by Timo Virtanen from late sketches thought to be for Sibelius’s legendary ‘lost’ 8th Symphony, destroyed by the composer in 1945. They offer a fascinating glimpse into the composer’s creative imagination during a time when impaired health inhibited Sibelius from realising his rich musical visions.

 
Reviews

 “… As to the sound of this set, I think it is the best recorded of the cycle we have ever had… the sheer excellence of capturing the Sibelian sonority is exemplary. So too is the playing of the orchestra who surely benefited from having performed the cycle live (with broadcasts) before taking it to the studio. The players seem to have absorbed the music into their bones… Storgårds achieves wonders in the most enigmatic works and never gives less than his best in the others. Among Finnish cycles this ranks highly…”

Edward Clark – Musical Opinion Quarterly magazine – July-September 2014

            ****

Biëlla Luttmer - de Volkskrant (Netherlands) - 4 July 2014
 

 “… plenty to enjoy…”

Andrew Achenbach – Gramophone magazine – June 2014

                Performance  ****      Recordings *****
"... When it comes to overview and attention to detail John Storgårds is an exemplary Sibelius conductor..."
Stephen Johnson - BBC Music magazine - June 2014

"...this is a fine and distinctive set from an orchestra playing consistently at somewhere near its best and conducted by a Sibelian of stature ... it should be investigated by all who wish to delve deeper into a symphonic cycle whose riches seem ever more inexhaustible."
Richard Whitehouse - International Record Review - May 2014

 

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