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Jean Sibelius Pohjola's Daughter, The Oceanides Op.73 and Symphony No.2 in D Op.43

Hallé , Jean Sibelius , Mark Elder , Sir Mark Elder Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: £13.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Jean Sibelius Pohjola's Daughter, The Oceanides Op.73 and Symphony No.2 in D Op.43 + Jean Sibelius, Symphonies Nos 1 & 3
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Product details

  • Performer: Sir Mark Elder
  • Orchestra: Hallé
  • Conductor: Mark Elder
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • Audio CD (1 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hallé Concerts Society
  • ASIN: B00BY7GUIO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,202 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Jean Sibelius, Pohjola s Daughter, Op.49 - Halle Orchestra
2. Jean Sibelius, The Oceanides, Op.73 - Halle Orchestra
3. Jean Sibelius, Symphony No.2 in D, Op.43 - Halle Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Following their recording of Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, this release marks the second disc of Sibelius works from the award-winning Hallé under Sir Mark Elder. The disc includes the long awaited recording of Elder's interpretation of the ever-popular Symphony No. 2, a work closely associated with the Hallé who gave the British premiere in 1905. It is coupled with the dramatic Pohjola's Daughter, an orchestral show-piece with the Hallé here at the height of its powers, and the less well known and deeply evocative musical portrait of the sea, The Oceanides. Together, the performances of these works perfectly illustrate the renaissance that has been achieved at the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder. The 2nd Symphony was recorded live from sell out concerts in the Bridgewater Hall, of which critics said: "The Sibelius reading was more arresting still... The whole elaborate, superbly integrated argument never lost focus for a moment." Sunday Times.

Review

Although this is a studio performance it is every bit as alive as one could wish for. There are exemplary programme notes by Stephen Johnson and a full list of orchestral players in the accompanying booklet. This disc should serve as a welcolme calling-card for the Halle's Sibelius. --Mark Pullinger, Internation Record Review, July 2013

Sir Mark’s impassioned performance is totally gripping, generating real excitement. Splendidly controlled and executed with palpable shape and momentum this is world class playing. I love the way all the melodic blocks are brought together to make a compelling outpouring of Finnish nationalistic fervour... Noticeable throughout is how the homogeneous Hallé strings have developed significant body. They also possess an appealing silvery timbre that is a match for the finest orchestras around. Sir Mark Elder is an inspirational conductor and there aren’t too many of those around today. Playing with dramatic bite the Hallé is certainly on its finest form with this all-Sibelius disc. Excellent sound quality adds to the desirability of this release. --Michael Cookson, Musicweb-international, July 2013

For Sibelius at his most heroic, complete with pulsating melodies a la Tchaikovsky, the Second Symphony is a must-hear of late Romantic opulence, especially in the hands of Sir Mark Elder. --BBC Music Magazine, August 2013

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bridgewater Hall Recordings 10 May 2013
Format:Audio CD
In the more-than-capable hands of the Hallé Orchestra with their current music director, Sir Mark Elder, each recording they issue seems to show a closer collaboration than the last. As with many orchestras, the Hallé had a dip in popularity, but now they are riding very high indeed. The accoustic of their Bridgewater Hall 'home' helps no end too. Their latest CD, issued through Nimbus, is of music by Sibelius. He's one of those composers you tend to love or hate. You can't really mistake his music for anyone else's, either.

This CD begins with two recordings made in the hall six and seven years ago respectively and ends with one of the 'live' performance recordings, this one made in September 2012. People often debate whether having the public there makes the players sit that bit further forward on their chairs. No point in putting in my tuppence-worth on that score. I just urge you to listen to this interpretation of the second symphony. It positively crackles!

The two pieces at the start of the CD are the tone poems 'Pohjola's daughter' and 'The Oceanides'. For those unfamiliar with the great nordic sagas, the story concerning Pohjola's daughter features in the national epic 'Kalevala'. The other tone poem, Stephen Johnson describes in his CD booklet notes as being able to "make an impact out of all proportion to its length". It only lasts a little over ten minutes, but it's very hard to play well and is rarely performed in the concert hall. All the more reason to get it on CD!

Of the second symphony one can only say it's a definite Marmite work. I happen to love it. It was written at a very sad and worrying time for Sibelius, both within his family and also nationally, since the Russians were in the process of taking Finland over. You'd never guess the composer's troubled state of mind from the music, though. Sir Mark Elder brings all the massive themes joyfully to life. I commend this interpretation to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars danger of live recordings 26 May 2013
Format:Audio CD
I've been an enormously enthusiastic admirer of the Halle/Elder CDs that have been coming out over the last years. However, this isn't one that I can get so excited about. The two tone-poems - the relatively early Pohjola's Daughter and the later 'Oceanides' - are truly splendid versions., being studio recordings made some years back. they have the authentic Sibelian wildness in abundance. But the symphony is a different matter, and more than anything this is down to the recording. On the face of it, the sound is good; but as the music progresses, it becomes clear that a great deal of important detail is either inaudible or nearly covered by other elements. An early example comes about 2 mins 30 secs into the first movement (track 3), where Sibelius introduces an important new idea - one of his typical themes that starts with a sustained note, then breaks into a flurry of shorter notes. It is presented in high woodwind, but they disappear under the over-heavy string accompaniment. There are many such examples throughout the work.
Bad recording balance isn't the only problem; I don't believe Elder really has the pacing of this work sorted out. A glaring example is the exaggeratedly broad tempo for the oboe theme in the scherzo, just far too slow. Then the build-up to the finale struggles to achieve momentum, wih the result that, when the great 3/2 theme arrives, there is a calamitous sense of anti-climax. What was all the fuss-and-to-do about?, you feel like saying. The finale, having started so poorly, never gets off the ground.
So the whole performance hangs fire; there is some wonderful individual playing, but this performance represents neither conductor nor orchestra at their best. I hope Elder will consider recording it again in the studio at some point.
The CD is worth having, nonetheless, for the two wonderful tone-poem readings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was there 15 Mar 2014
By maximus TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Having heard Sir Mark and the Hallé play Sibelius many times, live, including the 2nd Symphony, I'm awestruck how well the concert has transferred for this release. The beautiful haunting interpretation by their ensemble always stays with you and this album is a fine example of their performances. Must have for Sibelius fans, and in fact for fans of any music.
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Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was privileged to be present at one of the performances from which this Sibelius 2nd symphony is taken. It was part of what was by far the best concert of the 2012/13 season. I have heard this symphony played so often but never as thrillingly as this. The performance has transferred to disc well and as good as I remembered it. It will rank high amongst my favourite recordings for a long time.

However this disc will go down for me as the best ever recording of Pohjola's Daughter. I have a number of recordings but none with attack, brilliant playing and wonderful music making as this. For example, the beautiful harp playing after the vision of Pohjola's daughter, the tremendous brass playing throughout. A truly revelatory recording coupled with a great description of the music in the notes.

Great stuff from a great Orchestra conducted by a insightful conductor. A combination which continues to thrill both in the concert hall and on disc in Sibelius and much, much more
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5.0 out of 5 stars first class performances 25 July 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the best performance of Pohjola's Daughter I have come across, and even The Oceanides has been made to sound convincing. The Second Symphony hasn't quite the tearaway enthusiasm of the old Beecham live recording, but it is a very polished performance, comparable with any I have heard, and beautifully engineered: every instrument can be heard clealy.
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