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Sibelius first set of Scenes historiques forms a suite taken from music for patriotic pageant, staged in 1899 at a time of increasing Finnish nationalism and originally including Finalandia, which was published separately. For his Scenes Historiques II Sibelius composed a new music. In the opening the Chase, horns are heard through the mist, followed by the wild chase, with its impelling rhythms. The incidental music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II. Set in the 16th century, deals with the Kings’s love of a commoner, her murder by a jealous rival and the King’s bloodthirsty revenge. It includes a strongly-felt love scene, Nocturne, with many elements characteristic of the composer’s future musical language.
Jean Sibelius: Scenes historiques I, Op. 25
Jean Sibelius: Scenes historiques II, Op. 66
I. The Chase
II. The Love Song
III. At the Drawbridge
Jean Sibelius: King Kristian II, Op. 27
“The New Zealand Symphony have a thoroughly international sound, but its playing is top-notch in every way…this is [Inkinen’s] first Sibelius disc with his new orchestra, and it's a winner all around… this is a first-rate disc. Naxos provides a full-sounding recording with an ideal balance between hall ambience and detail… notes by Keith Anderson cover all the important bases. Let's look forward to more Sibelius from Inkinen—he's one to watch.”
“Recordings of this entrancing repertoire are always welcome, particularly when they are as polished and involving as this. Pietari Inkinen is a talent to watch. Not only does he draw some high-quality, notably zestful playing from his new charges, he directs both sets of Scènes historiques with such keen temperament, abundant character and sensitivity to texture and nuance that they come up sounding strikingly new-minted.”
“Recordings of this entrancing repertoire are always welcome, particularly when they are as polished and involving as this. Pietari Inkinen (b1980) has recently taken up the reins as the NZSO's music director and, on this showing, is a talent to watch. Not only does he draw some high-quality, notably zestful playing from his new charges, he directs both sets of Scènes historiques with such keen temperament, abundant character and sensitivity to texture and nuance that they come up sounding strikingly newminted. Indeed, his generously expressive and pliable shaping of the ravishing secondary material in 'Festivo' manages to stoke memories of Beecham's indelible RPO rendering from the early 1950s – and that's saying something! In the King Christian II suite, Inkinen and his responsive band easily hold their own against some stiff competition. There's some particularly eloquent string-playing in the achingly wistful 'Elegy' (where Inkinen distils a hushed intimacy that is deeply touching), while the dashing helterskelter ride of the concluding 'Ballade' has both invigorating spring and bite to commend it. Boasting handsomely true and atmospheric sound, this collection certainly merits the attention of all Sibelians and represents enticing value at bargain price.”
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