Sibelius ranks as one of the most important and strikingly original symphonic composers of the twentieth century. His Violin Concerto, a wonderful synthesis of technical brilliance and poignant, deeply-felt melody, is one of the greatest concertos in the repertoire. It is coupled on this disc with the rarely recorded Violin Concerto No. 1, by Christian Sinding, widely remembered as the composer of The Rustle of Spring.
These discs in the Trio Series present some of the best orchestral music by Jean Sibelius, including "Lemminkäinen suite", "Night Ride and Sunrise", "Pohjola's Daughter," "En Saga," "The Oceanides," and "Tapiola". There are other favorites as well including "Valse Triste," and for some people lesser-known masterworks such as "Luonnotar", "Spring Song", "King Christian", and "The Bard". Sibelius emerges in these woks as a modern and tremendous composer who rarely fails when inspired by literature.
This double CD from EMI features the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by their Finnish principal conductor at the time (1970s), Paavo Berglund. It doesn't have to be that a conductor originates from the same country as the composer whose works he or she is conducting, but it often happens that this combination seems to produce performances of greatest sensitivity. So it is here, as Berglund conducts 10 works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The discs include quite familiar works like En Saga, one of Sibelius' first compositions when he was in his late 20s. We also have Pohjola's Daughter, The Bard and two of the four Lemminkäinen Legends, and a beautiful version of Luonnotar sung by the Finnish soprano Taru Valjakka. The rest of the discs is made up of less frequently heard pieces. We have the five-movement suite from the incidental music Sibelius wrote for Adolf Paul's play King Christian II (1898); the Spring Song (Vårsång) of 1894; the suite of incidental music from Maeterlinck's Pelleas and Melisande.
In 2007, the 50th anniversary of Sibelius’s death, BIS begins the release of a 13-volume edition of all the music that the great master ever created – from the symphonies and tone poems to chamber works and songs. As well as the published works, the edition includes rare original versions and world première recordings of works from his youth – material which to a large extent is unique to BIS. The edition – a grand total of some 65 discs – contains previously released as well as new material, in volumes of 4-6 discs sorted by genre.
The Norwegian pianist Håvard Gimse here includes two important sets of the piano pieces, Opp. 34 and 40, and the 6 Finnish Folk Songs, fifth of which, Fratricide, is slightly Bartókian. Sibelius’s contemporary and countryman Selim Palmgren put it perfectly when he wrote that ‘even in what for him were alien regions, [Sibelius] moves with an unfailing responsiveness to tone colour’, and Gimse brings finesse and distinction to this repertoire. This and the companion disc are first recommendations.
Beethoven reputedly wasn't Beecham's favorite composer, but you wouldn't know it from this performance; it's exceedingly well conceived, highly energetic, and has that unique Beecham sparkle to it. The fillers also are delightful. All recorded in Ascona, Switzerland in 1957.
Born into a musical Latvian family violinist Baiba Skride won First Prize at the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition, held annually in Belgium. Ms. Skride’s natural approach to her music making has endeared her to some of today’s most important conductors and orchestras. Following her debut at the BBC Proms with the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko playing the Szymanowski Concerto No. 1, The Times noted, ‘Latvian violinist Baiba Skride sailed over the orchestra with long lines of melody, silver and sweet.’ She was immediately re-invited, and at the 2014 Proms played the Stravinsky Concerto with the BBC Symphony and Ed Gardner. Baiba Skride debut recording with Orfeo of the Szymanowski Concertos and Myths was nominated for the 2015 BBC Music Magazine Awards in the Concerto section. For her Orfeo CD follow up she has recorded two Scandinavian violin concertos truly exciting, fresh and innovative – Jean Sibelius’s well-loved concerto and Carl Nielsen’s unjustly neglected companion work – with the Tampere Philharmonic and conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali.