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Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Diapason découverte - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
Alpha begins a complete cycle of the symphonies by Sibelius alongside some of his symphonic poems with Gothenburg Symphony and its new chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. In the great tradition of Finnish conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is known for his extremely physical and organic interpretations: ‘Music unmistakeably flows from him’, commented The Sunday Times. This was evident when, at a very young age, he stepped in to conduct a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra which began the journey to his first tenure as Chief Conductor with the Tampere Philharmonic; a meteoric rise to a career working at the highest musical level internationally; and a third post as Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. When Bachtrack asked him how he shapes the orchestral sound, he replied: ‘I sing it, I move my hands the way I want it (…) the conductor should be able to show tempo somewhere in the body (…) I was also a drum kit player, so my feet and hands can do different things at the same time. When you read the score, you sing it in your head (…) I think it’s the sense of inside groove that you get from playing percussion which is very important in Sibelius’s music.’ In the Gothenburg Symphony he finds a prestigious cohort of musicians with an impressive discography, and joins a line of their illustrious musical directors, notably Neeme Järvi, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1982 to 2004, but also Gustavo Dudamel, who is honorary conductor. © Outhere Music
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Classical - Released May 31, 2019 | Chandos

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Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Sakari Oramo has a special affinity with the music of his compatriot the Finnish composer Sibelius, which this recording admirably demonstrates. Sibelius’s ever-popular Lemminkäinen-Suite is complemented here with the early Spring Song and the lesser-known Suite from Belshazzar’s Feast. Sibelius composed the Lemminkäinen-Suite (also called the Four Legends, or Four Legends from the Kalevala), Op. 22 in the 1890s. Drawing on material originally conceived for a mythological opera, Veneen luominen ("The Building of the Boat"), the suite focuses on the character Lemminkäinen from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. In 1906 Sibelius composed ten numbers of incidental music for the play Belshazzar’s Feast (by Hjalmar Procopé), which was first performed in the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki in November of that year, the composer conducting. The following year, Sibelius extracted four of the movements to form the more widely known orchestral suite that we hear in this recording. © Chandos
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Classical - Released September 11, 2015 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
After the resounding success of Volume 1 (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica, FFFF Télérama), the project to record the complete Sibelius symphonies continues with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, whose career as a conductor is entering top gear: he has just been appointed Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. At the turn of the twentieth century, as Finland struggled to free itself from Russian rule, Sibelius and his wife faced several domestic dramas, including the loss of one of their daughters, Kirsti, to typhoid fever. The Second Symphony, written in the brilliant key of D major, seems to be marked by the events of the composer’s private life, but many of his contemporaries nevertheless saw it as a political manifesto! In 1898, Sibelius composed the incidental music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II, the story of the downfall of a king of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) in the sixteenth century. The suite derived from it was successfully performed in several European cities. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released September 1, 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Symphonies - Released January 18, 2019 | Sony Music Labels Inc.

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Solo Piano - Released September 1, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Sibelius’s piano music remains a secret – chronically neglected or approached from an entirely unsympathetic aesthetic standpoint. Sometimes, criticism is justified. “I will be the first to admit that Sibelius’s piano music is uneven in quality”, says Leif Ove Andsnes, pointing to the composer’s own cynicism towards his piano works as a possible reason for the neglect of the genuine gems. But Andsnes also professes in no uncertain terms that he is “on a mission” to bring Sibelius’s piano works out of the shadows. “I really believe in this music and I want people to hear it”, he says. After scouring every published note of the composer’s piano music, Andsnes has selected works for this recording that speak to him not just as a pianist but as a musician who for a long time has felt particularly close to Sibelius. Here are piano works in which Sibelius’s orchestral thinking advances the language of the instrument even if it can test the technical orthodoxies of the player. As may be imagined, Andsnes masters them with elegance and ease.
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Symphonic Music - Released August 7, 2015 | Naxos

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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Hannu Lintu here takes a stand against Paavo Berglund’s legendary version in Bournemouth, the very first of the discography recorded in 1970. Kullervo is a piece of work generally considered epic, a style not often explored by the Finnish composer, who had returned to Vienna at the beginning of the 1890s where he was able to submerge himself in Bruckner and discover some composers of the new generation. Here, Hannu Lintu dares to offer up a serene interpretation, with moderate contrasts in both the emphasis and the tone. For him, Kullervo stays within the defined category of Austro-hungarian music, even if it remains a singularly unique piece of music, as it does not demonstrate much of the modern and cutting-edge Sibelius which broke out from the 4 Legends of Kalevala and certainly over the course of the 1900s after the Second Symphony. Hannu Lintu privileges the ensemble line with regular post-Bruckner-esque balances, organised around polyphony, all the while underlining the freedom which escapes from the young Sibelius’ woodwind motifs. He also appears to snub typically runic Finnish popular influences, which notably guide the whole Introduction, an Allegro which is perfectly moderato. Kullervo transforms into a vast lyrical poem, meditative but somber (there are essences of the Violin concerto). From this vision are born some incredibly poetic moments, like in the third episode (Kullervo and his sister) as the choir sing their last lines just before the soprano (Johanna Rusanen, what a husky tone!) and the baritone (Ville Rusanen) begin their respective narratives, themselves just as astonishing in their dramatic power. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 1, 2006 | BIS

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Symphonic Music - Released July 3, 2015 | Naxos

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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2012 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Symphonic Music - Released August 2, 2011 | BIS

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Symphonic Music - Released October 20, 2009 | LSO Live

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Classical - Released March 24, 2014 | Warner Classics International

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Ballets - Released November 6, 2015 | Naxos

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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Halle Concerts Society

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Thus Sir Mark Elder finishes his Sibelius collection, just as the very young Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali begins his own with Alpha, already distinguishing himself with the surprising weight and recurring hesitations of his second volume. None of that with Elder, who admittedly suffers from a slightly too uniform sound recording but who stands out with the exactness of his tempos and his refined balances. Sir Mark Elder offers versions that are classic and fluid, with a real organic tension and a sense of lyricism, especially in the medium registers (Symphony N°4, III. Il tempo largo). Sir Mark Elder knows how to harness the energy that is unique to this orchestra with this repertoire, which has become something of a favourite ever since Barbirolli permanently established it in 1940 before recording irrevocable versions for His Master’s Voice between 1966 and 1969, a discography that has never been surpassed. Sir Mark Elder is less interested in the (certainly fascinating) flare-up of Sibelius’ modernity than his predecessor, favouring a calmer internal pulse that often draws comparisons with Bruckner and Wagner for example. He doesn’t however dilute the features that make Sibelius so remarkable, like the ostinato patterns that we have not heard so hauntingly in a long time (in the Symphony N°4 again). As for the Symphony N°6... you can practically hear it smiling. The sound is joyous, even playful (III. Poco vivace), never falling into the cold tones that we hear all too often. A magnificent vision, closing a milestone anthology which Sibelius fanatics should ensure they don’t miss. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released August 5, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released January 7, 2013 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - The Qobuz Ideal Discography