Review by Luukas April 17, 2015 (11 of 13 found this review helpful)
|Year 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865– 1957). This SACD is the first disc of Lintu's Sibelius Series what will contains the composer's all major orchestral works. At the same time this is already the second SACD of Sibelius' "Lemminkäinen Suite", Op. 22 - Vänskä's interpretation with Lahti Symphony Orchestra (BIS1745) was the first.
PERFORMANCE (for Lemminkäinen Suite only):
Lintu's tempi are mostly slower than Vänskä's:
I. 15'09 (Vänskä), 15'56 (Lintu)
II. 9'17, 9'07
III. 16'14, 16'19
IV. 6'45, 6'31
In the first movement - Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of Island - Lintu underlines many beautiful melodies. He conducts peacefully - which is totally different than Vänskä's powerful vision. The lively main theme is premeditated here - Lintu realizes the score's dynamic markings carefully. Approach is traditional.
The second movement - The Swan of Tuonela - sounds very touching here. The atmosphere is rather comtemplative than melancholic.
The third movement - Lemminkäinen in Tuonela - is the work's the most dramatic section. The playing is more polished. Lintu has a long career with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and their teamwork is pleasant - again. The peaceful middle scene - "Molto lento" (bar 186) - is more thoughtful here. The movement's last minutes are stunning: Sibelius added the bass drum's dramatic stroke to the final version (bar 282) and here it is very impressing.
The last movement - Lemminkäinen's return - is even better than Vänskä's. Tempi are very fast - for example the last acceleration to the "Presto" section is breathtaking.
The multi-channel mix (5.0) follows the normal allocation, there isn't the additional subwoofer channel. Ondine's principal engineer Enno Mäemets has done very good work at the Helsinki Music Centre. My subwoofer launched on during the first movement. It brought the amazing dimensions to [the] music. The crystal clear recording brought also many new instrumental details to the listener. For example the last movement's piccolo was very clear.
- Performance: ****1/2 (Traditional: the Vänskä's recording is for you if you want a powerful fast interpretation)
- Recording: ***** (Outstanding)
- Packaging: ***** (Strong Jewel Case)
Wonderful disc for all Sibelians! This album must be in your library, definitely! I can hardly wait the next releases...
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