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This review is from: Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tapiola, Karelia suite, Finlandia, The Bard (Audio CD)
Five hours of Sibelius, 14 great works including 7 symphonies, a range of approaches to the natural world, one of the world's greatest conductors - Paavo Berglund. There are two movements from the jovial Karelia Suite. There is the melancholy inner grace of one of the Lemminkainen Legends depicting the Swan of Tuonela with lovely cor anglais playing. Then there is the powerful patriotism of Finlandia and two movements from the King Christian Suite. The mighty and magnificent symphonies numbered one and two are given powerful advocacy by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing in the fine acoustic of the Southampton Guildhall. Sibelius, money-earning, Valse Triste is revealed in its tender terrible beauty. The third and fouth symphonies are shown in riveting detail. In the tone poem The Bard, antiquity, and folk memory are tended by great solo harp and some reflective string playing. As with Beethoven, the fith and sixth symphonies are appealing for different reasons. No 5 is full throated and filled with tension and crescendos and climaxes. No. 6 is gentle and lyrical and pastoral. Sibelius related it to snow.
Finally there is the fusion of movements into one in a wonderful performance of the 7th Symphony. And relating to the forests of Finland there is the lengthy tone poem - Tapiola. It is a fitting conclusion to a momentous 4 CD box. This is delight.