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.
The Violin Concerto is the reason you want to buy this album, but the "filler" is quite intriguing. Christian Tetzlaff plays the Concerto (Opus 47) with great intensity. If Thomas Dausgard with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra doesnt' quite match him, they don't pull him down either. The recording is wide ranging and well detailed.
‘Finland has Sibelius, Norway has Grieg and Denmark Nielsen – so what about Sweden?’ This question, often put to Swedish musicians and music-lovers, is one that has no simple answer. Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927), a personal friend of both Sibelius and Nielsen, would seem to be the obvious candidate – but when his name is suggested the usual reaction is ‘Stenhammar who?’
Norwegian-born violinist Vilde Frang makes her solo recording debut with Prokofiev's first Violin Concerto and Sibelius' Violin Concerto, plus three of the Finnish composer's Humoresques for violin and piano. With her sweet tone, fluent technique, and soulful interpretations, Frang's performances can stand comparison to many of the great recorded performances of the past. She digs in deep in Sibelius' outer movements and dispatches their manifold difficulties with apparent ease.
The exceptional collaboration and friendship between the late Einojuhani Rautavaara and the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Gerland Finley culminates in this unique album of orchestral songs by Sibelius, on which the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner. The album offers orchestrations, by Sibelius and others, of songs which Sibelius originally wrote for voice and piano, and includes the premiere recording of ‘In the Stream of Life,’ seven songs orchestrated by Rautavaara for his friend. Throughout, the poetry perfectly reflects the instinctively felt relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius’s music.
The years spanned by this seven-disc Warner Classics collection coincide with the peak years of Jean Sibelius' popularity. At that time, he was widely regarded in Western countries as the greatest living composer, though he had essentially stopped producing major works after the mid-1920s, when he wrote the Symphony No. 7 in C major, the incidental music to The Tempest, and Tapiola.