WORKS: Symphony No. 7 in C; Symphony No. 1 in G minor
PERFORMER: Copenhagen PO, Sjaellands SO/Okko Kamu
CATALOGUE NO: CLASSCD 115
Trust Sanderling to bring fresh logic and sense of purpose to Sibelius. The first movement of the Second, a performance from 1974, and full of handsome recorded presence, may sound portentous now to ears accustomed to a fleeter view, butis well enough articulated to rivet the attention. The rest is a five-star performance, clearly shaped by the hand of a conductor who knows where the full symphonic emphases should rest: only listen to the grand Romantic build towards the big tune of the finale, which Sanderling lets fly with a force that is distinctly Sibelius’s own. The northern saga-journeys of the Third are more striking in repose than in motion, but it’s unusual, and so all the more welcome, to have it here as Sibelius’s symphonic step forward.
Less is to be gained from the live Copenhagen Nielsen/Sibelius coupling. Relatively conventional early Nielsen, needing a more vivid edge than the soft-grained Danish orchestra can give it, loses out to Sibelius’s most concise structure. Here, though, Kamu stands alongside Sanderling as a symphonic mover and shaker: the power of the last great climax is hair-raising. David Nice