Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5

by Iceland Symphony Orchestra
     
 

Conductor Petri Sakari and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra display a deep understanding of Sibelius' elusive style. Despite an occasional lack of refinement, the ISO produces a wonderfully characterful and evocative sound: the chilly rustle of strings can send a shiver down your spine, and the woodwind tone has the pure luster of aSee more details below

Overview

Conductor Petri Sakari and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra display a deep understanding of Sibelius' elusive style. Despite an occasional lack of refinement, the ISO produces a wonderfully characterful and evocative sound: the chilly rustle of strings can send a shiver down your spine, and the woodwind tone has the pure luster of a snow-filled sky. Sakari's interpretation of the bleak Fourth Symphony is generally slow, supple, and darkly passionate yet never compromises the music's basic austerity. The Fifth Symphony sounds like it's from another world -- as it should -- full of pulsing energy and shimmering, brilliant light. Sakari steers skillfully through the tricky transition in the middle of the first movement, creating an inexorable and exhilarating sense of forward motion. There are quite a few other exemplary budget-priced recordings of Sibelius' symphonies, but these dedicated and distinctive Icelandic interpretations are well worth their modest cost.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jim Svejda
With more than a dozen Sibelius symphony cycles in circulation and several more on the way, a first-rate budget series was still needed to complement the outstanding full- and mid-priced versions by Sir Colin Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, and Sir Simon Rattle. Thus far, the recordings by Petri Sakari and the Iceland Symphony are everything the cost-conscious collector could have wished. This latest installment offers forthright and frequently imaginative performances of the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies in first-rate digital sound. If the Fourth has had more probing and individual readings -- from Blomstedt in his sumptuous San Francisco Symphony recording and Sir Thomas Beecham in his blazing 1937 version with the London Philharmonic, arguably the greatest Sibelius symphony recording ever made -- Sakari and his superbly-trained orchestra give a fresh, carefully thought-out performance full of urgency and finely-wrought details. The Fifth Symphony may miss the final ounce of grandeur in the big climaxes -- the Iceland Symphony, which serves a country of a quarter million, has a regular ensemble of only 72 players -- but what it lacks in decibels it more than makes up for in enthusiasm and interpretive finesse. The coupling would be more than competitive at twice the price; for the equivalent of a frugal lunch at McDonald's, it's all but irresistible.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/14/2000
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0636943437728
catalogNumber:
8554377
Rank:
249033

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 4, for orchestra in A minor, Op. 63  - Jean Sibelius  -  Iceland Symphony Orchestra  - Petri Sakari
  2. Symphony No. 5, for orchestra in E-flat major, Op. 82  - Jean Sibelius  -  Iceland Symphony Orchestra  - Petri Sakari

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