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Cat. No. CHSA 5134 Price: £11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5134 - Sibelius: Violin Concerto etc.
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Available From: 16 February 2014

Chandos CHAN 5134

Sibelius: Violin Concerto, Karelia Suite, The Swan of Tuonela, Valse lyrique, Valse triste, Andante festivo, Finlandia – Jennifer Pike, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

Jean Sibelius is perhaps best known for his seven great symphonies but there is also a large body of music for the concert hall, the theatre, and the salon, some of which is explored in this release. The Violin Concerto in D minor, Sibelius’s only full-length concerto, marries brilliantly idiomatic writing for the solo instrument with the seriousness characteristic of the symphonies. Intensely virtuosic, it is both a dramatic and a deeply romantic work. The Swan of Tuonela comes from the suite of four Lemminkäinen Legends, inspired by traditional Finnish myths. In it the majestic motion of the swan is evoked by the arching phrases of the cor anglais. Also featured are two well-known shorter works indelibly linked with Finnish identity. Finlandia became a national emblem of the Finnish struggle for independence from Russia while Andante festivo is a staple of Finnish public occasions. The Karelia Suite is another patriotic work, the rough-hewn character of its three movements intended to evoke a folk-like authenticity.

Sir Andrew Davis continues his relationship with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in this their third recording together on Chandos. They are joined in the Violin Concerto by Jennifer Pike, one of the brightest young violinists performing today.

Reviews

“…This one is going on my 2014 Want List for sure.”  
Jerry Dubins -  Fanfre – September/October 2014

 

 “The Strad Recommends”
“… Jennifer Pike has an unwavering command of the Concerto and a keen grasp of its elemental power… this is without doubt a gutsy and mature reading… The recording is first-rate: spacious yet muti-layered in its detail. A disc with popular appeal and unquestionable substance.”

Edward Bhesania – The Strad – June 2014

                        Performance *****                Recording *****
“…this [Sibelius concerto] enjoys one of the finest ever actual recordings, the richness and clarity of SACD sound revealing a wealth of detail and scale from the superb Bergen orchestra, and giving Jennifer Pike’s violin a tremendous sense of presence. And she plays it with impressive mastery… Another plus is the accompanying programme Chandos includes a generous selection of other Sibelius, admittedly pops but played with exuberant vigour. The Andante festive and Karelia Suite are particularly fine.”

 
Michael Scott Rohan – BBC Music magazine – May 2014
 
 

 “… She [Pike] draws a gleaming, silvery tone of great purity, and without excessive vibrato, from her 1708 Goffriller violin. She phrases with confidence and imagination, with enough original touches to suggest she has thought it all through herself, rather than copying other people’s recordings. All in all, a most auspicious entry into the big league. Sir Andrew Davis and the Bergen Philharmonic accompany idiomatically, and also provide half a dozen first-class performances of shorter orchestral pieces by Sibelius… This well-recorded, generously filled 78-minute CD can be recommended with confidence to connoisseurs and beginners alike…”  *****

David Mellor – The Mail on Sunday – 30 March 2014

 “…Jennifer Pike’s account stresses beauty of tone, with elegant phrasing and a smooth, precise technique that makes light of all the virtuoso challenges. She benefits from exceptional recording quality, the violin in natural balance with an accompaniment whose individual instrumental colours appear clearly within the spacious ambience … the Bergen recording brings together an attractive programme of popular Sibelius works, directed by Sir Andrew Davis with a sure touch – firm, poised rhythms, sensitive control of balance and texture and, in the more substantial pieces, a strong sense of structure. The Swan of Tuonela is powerfully evocative, with distinguished solo contributions from cor anglais and cello, and the whole orchestra brings real enthusiasm to its account of Finlandia. And the top-class quality of the recording imparts a special magic to Sibelius’s orchestral textures…”

Duncan Druce – Gramophone magazine – April 2014    

 

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