Jean Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 – Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:10:21 minutes | 1,37 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | @ ASO Media
Recorded: Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, 14-15 January 2013
Fans of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius have reason to rejoice this holiday season with the Grammy® Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
„Robert Spano and Atlanta already have delivered a very impressive version of the Kullervo Symphony for Telarc-a work that the conductor championed during his tenure in Brooklyn as well-and this new disc from the orchestra’s house label confirms his credentials as a convincing Sibelius interpreter. This is particularly true of the tricky Sixth Symphony, an elusive work that has confounded many of the composer’s strongest proponents. Spano sets a perfect tempo for the opening movement, sufficient to capture the tranquility of the opening while allowing the quicker main section to move smartly forward. Technically the entire movement proceeds in a single tempo, but this has proven almost impossible to convey in practice. Spano manages to do it, even to the point of making the coda sound natural and less inconclusive than usual.
The slow movement poses few interpretive problems, but I also applaud Spano’s moderate pacing of the scherzo, which allows so much ear-catching detail and rhythmic interplay to come across clearly. The finale also presents major challenges of pacing (even Berglund never seemed comfortable with it), and Spano solves them as well as anyone, particularly in the culminating passage for strings toward the end-so beautifully played and balanced between the melody and its chugging accompaniment. It’s just about as fine a performance as we’re likely to hear.
The Seventh, too, has an inevitability about it that’s very powerful. The whole, single movement grows organically from the opening string chorale in this performance, with particularly well executed transitions between sections. The lengthy pastorale interlude never turns static, as it often can in those places where Sibelius pauses meditatively, while the closing pages bring the right feeling of culmination with just a touch of open-endedness (a function of Spano’s timing of the very last chord).
I had concerns about the length of Tapiola: nearly 20 minutes. Sibelius preferred a quicker tempo, but such is the clarity of texture and accuracy of rhythm that it never actually sounds slow. My only quibble is that the storm at the end really needs greater intensity and a less metronomic quality to the string figurations, but otherwise the performance is very evocative and atmospheric (that swift central bit, with rapid violin figurations and tiny woodwind and timpani fanfares, is especially magical).
There are a couple of moments-the approach to the recapitulation in the first movement of the Sixth, for example-where a bit more definition of the orchestra’s lower end would have been ideal, but the sonics are otherwise quite impressive. The producer, Elaine Martone, was responsible for many of the orchestra’s prior Telarc recordings, and she knows what she’s doing. These were not “in concert” sessions, apparently, but good, old fashioned, “studio” recordings, and so much the better. Putting Sibelius’ last three major concert works together on a single disc was a great idea, too. All in all, a treat for Sibelians.“ -David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Opus 104 (1923)
1. I. Allegro molto moderato 08:34
2. II. Allegretto moderato 05:22
3. III. Poco vivace 04:08
4. IV. Allegro molto 09:32
Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Opus 105 (1924)
5. Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 105 22:17
Tapiola, Op. 112 (1926)
6. Tapiola, Op. 112 19:45
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano, conductor