Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite, Karelia Suite & Finlandia

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Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite, Karelia Suite & Finlandia


Building a Library

First Choice - April 2005



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72 minutes


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Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite, Karelia Suite & Finlandia


Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22

Karelia Suite, Op. 11

Finlandia, Op. 26



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Jean Sibelius: Finlandia, Op. 26

Finlandia, Op. 26

Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite, Op. 11

I. Intermezzo

II. Ballade

III. Alla marcia

Jean Sibelius: Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22

I. Lemminkainen and the Maidens of the Island

II. Lemminkainen in Tuonela

III. The Swan of Tuonela

IV. Lemminkainen's Return

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Most impressive. In its keen intelligence, fiery snap and thrust, Petri Sakari's account of the four Legends proves more than a match for the finest. The Iceland SO may not be world-beaters, but they respond to their thoughtful young Finnish maestro's illuminating direction with clean-limbed zest and commitment to the cause (their winds are an especially personable bunch).
Perhaps the highlight of the new set is Lemminkäinenin Tuonela, which, like Segerstam and Salonen before him, Sakari places second (reverting to the composer's original scheme), and where he distils a relentless concentration and pin-sharp focus (only Segerstam is more gripping in this brooding essay). No one should miss out on the heady opulence of Ormandy's magnificent Philadelphia strings in those glorious singing lines of Lemminkäinen and the maidens ofthe island, but the Icelanders play their hearts out, and anyway Sakari gives a dramatic reading of bold contrasts and strong symphonic cohesion.
No grumbles, either, about The Swan ofTuonela or Lemminkäinen's Homeward Journey which is firmly controlled, dashingly detailed and genuinely exciting (as opposed to merely excitable).
Sakari's rewarding Legends comes very near the top of the heap alongside (though, ultimately, not ahead of) Segerstam, Saraste and Ormandy. In the popular couplings, Sakari's unhackneyed approach once again pays dividends, though his unusually brisk (and ever-so-slightly hectic) tempo for the main portion of the Karelia Suite's opening Intermezzo isn't always convincing . None the less, this is quite a bargain. Eminently pleasing sound, too: free of gimmickry and tonally very true.”

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