- Masonic Ritual Music, for male voices, piano & organ, Op. 113: Processional
- Menuetto for piano in A minor, JS 5
- Cortège, for orchestra
- Kuolema (Death), incidental music for orchestra (II), Op. 62
- The Captive Queen (Vapautettu kuningatar), cantata for chorus & orchestra, Op. 48
- Scène de Ballet (Ballettikohtaus), for orchestra
- Overture for orchestra in E major
The symphonies of Jean Sibelius, which get played more often than any of his other music, are weighty, structurally complex affairs, but he had another side, often light and sparkling, that came out in his theatrical music and in other miniatures. None of the music on this collection from the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Leif Segerstam qualifies as familiar. The marquee item, the music for "Belshazzar's Feast," a play based on the biblical Book of Daniel, is here presented complete, not in the suite that has been occasionally recorded. The rest of the music is a real miscellany, and lo, there is music here that conductors and orchestras should get to know better. The "Belshazzar's Feast" music contains some real gems, such as the terse final Dance of Death (track 13 -- it is this work that is "macabre," contrary to what the graphics say). The first two pieces started life as two movements of a symphony the young Sibelius abandoned; listeners can see why he gave up on it, but also hear him differentiating his symphonic language as he goes. The Processional, Op. 113/6, is a real rarity: part of a set of Masonic choral pieces Sibelius wrote in 1927, it was arranged for orchestra in 1938, becoming one of the last pieces of any kind Sibelius wrote. The booklet calls it "enigmatic," but actually it's a broad, idealistic melody in the Finlandia vein, and it's gorgeous. Likewise a find is the wedding march "Die Sprache der Vögel, JS 62," tailor made for anyone wanting strong but unfamiliar wedding music. Segerstam is an ideal Sibelius conductor, flexible and alert to the boundary between interior and formal, and Naxos scores with the engineering from the small Turku Concert Hall. A must-have release for Sibelius lovers, and an unexpected pleasure for anybody.
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Sibelius: Belshazzar's Feast; Overture in E; Scène de Ballet; Wedding March; Cortège; Menuetto; Processional based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sibelius composed a considerable amount of material in support of theatrical productions. Belshazzar’s Feast is one such example. As pure music it certainly has its attractions. Its 11 numbers are colorful, expressive and exquisitely scored. The exigencies of composing for the theatre resulted in writing that is compact and consequently not treated to the extensive and intricate development one encounters in the symphonies, tone poems and violin concerto. This new recording featuring Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic of Finland is quite good. Maestro Segerstam keeps things moving nicely, successfully holding his own against the likes of Jarvi and Vanska. Soprano, Pia Pajala shines in her brief contribution. In general, the playing is excellent but could have benefited from a tad more lilt. The somewhat dry, closely miked pickup accentuates this impression. Atmosphere takes a back seat to analytic clarity. Still this does not detract significantly from the high standards consistently attained. The accompanying 6 compositions, 2 of which are very early attempts at symphonic writing, are all worthwhile to varying degrees. The most interesting and successful being Scene de Ballet, Language of the Birds, Cortege and Menuetto. Excellent liner notes top off this valuable addition to the Sibelius literature.