Sibelius/Nielsen: Symphony No. 7 in C; Symphony No. 1 in G minor

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Sibelius/Nielsen
LABELS: Classico
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.

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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