This new recording is really good. Iceland Symphony Orchesta is among the very succesful orchestras of all Europe. The conductor Petri Sakari is always a champion performer (from new generation) of Sibelius. He still recorded, Sibelius' almost complete orchestral works to Chandos Records and now to Naxos.
Especially in tutti passages, climaxes, the orchestra plays very powerful. The brass and percussion are very good, woodwinds are heared very clear.
CD starts with Pohjola's Daughter, which written from finnish Kalevala epic. And then there is a magical tone poem, The Oceanides, written after Homeros. The orchestration and the sea effects are very amazing. Then, Sibelius's last major work, Tapiola. This is based on Kalevala, again. Tapio is the name of the forest god, according story. There are very impressive contrasts between hypnotic, a little hesitated, light colours and dramatic darkful colours. The orchestration is marvellous again. Especially, in last minutes there is a terrific storm scene and it's very spine chilling. Climaxes (which played by brass) are very powerful...
And then, there is a early-period work, En saga. This means "A Hero", but this has no programme. This work is one of the first success of the composer and it is very tuneful music.
And last, one of the composer's most radical, dramatic work, The Bard. Still, this work was written in tragic E-flat minor. Bard is a creature which played a mediavl harp, like lyre in Greek myths. This music in contemplative mood in first minutes, sorrowful, but later there is a dramatic climax and then music slowly fades out. The colours, harmonies are amazing.
At this price this is a must have. Highly recommended.