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Cat. No. CHAN 241-19 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 241-19 - Sibelius: Complete Tone Poems
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Available From: 15 November 2004
"Sibelius was always evasive when asked about his inspiration for En Saga. Perhaps the reason for this lies in what he told his secretary during the 1940s – that the work ‘expresses a state of mind. I had undergone a number of painful experiences at the time and in no other work have I revealed myself so completely’.

Many of his works were inspired by a collection of dark, mysterious Finnish legends called the Kalevala. Luonnotar comes from the work’s first canto which describes the creation of the heavens, and Pohjola’s Daughter is based on the story in the Kalevala of the minstrel and magician Väinämöinen.

No work more completely expresses the proud nationalism of the Finnish people than Finlandia. Composed in 1899, the work became a symbol of freedom for those involved in the growing movement of protest against Russian oppression. Apart from its title, there is no suggestion of any programme for The Bard. The mood is introspective and the material elusive and suggestive rather than hummable. It is a masterpiece of musical expression and cohesion. The title of The Dryad gives us a clue to the mood. A Dryad is a wood nymph, inhabiting trees, and it is the vastness and unchanging quality of a great forest that pervades this music. There is no programmatic content of The Oceanides, rather it is a musical portrait of water in all its aspects, and with its transluscent textures comes nearer to impressionism than any other work by Sibelius. Night Ride and Sunrise is one of Sibelius’s most atmospheric, stark pieces of descriptive writing, but nowhere in music is nature represented more magnificently than in Sibelius’s final tone poem, Tapiola. Tapiola is the realm of the forest god Tapio and Sibelius’s music depicts huge forests, elemental in their grandeur, a realm with no place for humans.


The SNO are at the Peak of their form throughout these performances…
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

This set should be well-known and well-owned among Sibelians. It’s not a complete collection of the Tone Poems… but at Chandos’s ‘2for1’ price there is no excuse for missing an indispensable collection.
American Record Guide


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