Sibelius, Kajanus

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COMPOSERS: Kajanus,Sibelius
LABELS: Ondine
WORKS: En saga; Pohjola’s Daughter; Impromptu; The Lover; Andante festivo
PERFORMER: Swedish RSO/Mikko Franck, Tampere PO/Tuomas Ollila, Virtuosi di Kuhmo/Peter Csaba, Finnish Radio Orchestra/Jean Sibelius, Helsinki University Male Voice Choir, Finnish RSO/Jorma Panula
CATALOGUE NO: ODE 992-2 ADD/DDD mono/stereo Reissue (1939-2000)
Though not a conductor by profession like Svendsen and Nielsen, Sibelius was by all accounts a highly effective interpreter of his own music. The Andante festivo is the only surviving example of him conducting and shows just how intense was the response to his baton. (An earlier account attributed to him was in fact a recording of the rehearsal under Tauno Hannikainen.) Mikko Franck’s En saga with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is concentrated and atmospheric. In addition we have a more than serviceable account of Pohjola’s Daughter, an affecting Rakastava (The Lover) and the Impromptu, an arrangement for strings of two early piano pieces. There is a bonus for those with a sense of inquiry: the 1991 recording under Jorma Panula of Aino by Sibelius’s great champion, Robert Kajanus, the spark that kindled the flame that led to the Kullervo Symphony. Robert Layton