Year 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), often entitled 'Finland’s national composer'. The fourth album on Ondine by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is dedicated to the complete works for mixed choir by Jean Sibelius. The award-winning choir, one of the finest of its kind internationally, is conducted here by one of the leading Finnish choir directors, Heikki Seppänen, who has conducted a large number of professional choirs in Finland and abroad. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s releases on Ondine have been a critical success: the first release was given an ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Gramophone Magazine and ‘Disc of the Year’ by the renowned German weekly Die Zeit.
"Ein musikalisches Meisterwerk, dem Günter Pauler einen Sound schneiderte, der schon auf CD um Welten besser klingt als andere 'hochauflösende' Scheibchen. Die Stimme ist mega-präsent, die Gitarre kommt ungemein konturiert und körperhaft, die Begleitung dermaßen plastisch, dass man selbst als eingefleischter Analog-Fan hochachtungsvoll den Hut zieht." ~stereoplay
Simon Rattle has recorded a lot of 19th century music and most of the results have been dismal. There is little to recommend by Rattle in pre-20th century repertoire. A few Haydn symphonies, some pretty good Brahms, bits of Mahler, Ein Heldenleben by Strauss which is just at the cusp of the 20th century. Alright, so Rattle is not the conductor to go to for the great classics. However, when he records modern music, he seems fully in tune with it's sound and style, plus he has less competition on the market to boot.
Anyone with even a passing interest in the sultry, enigmatic and sensual music of Sorabji needs to have this set. It is a most thoroughly engrossing anthology from a brilliant pianist who is a veteran in Sorabji terms. He has lived with and reflected on this music for approaching forty years. Time and again while listening to this set I was struck by his loving attention to detailing, voicings and speeds. The music communicates Sorabji's striving after transcending the limitations of keyboard, of mechanical action and of the pedestrianly objective.