Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 6 (1923) [30.22]
Symphony No. 7 (1924) [22.45]
Tempest Suite No. 2 (1926) [18.10]
Iceland SO/Petri Sakari
rec Reykjavik, 11-12 Feb, 23-25 March 2000
NAXOS 8.554387 [71.17]
  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

It has taken me far too long to catch up with this Naxos's second Sibelius cycle. The first is conducted by the much travelled Adrian Leaper and is still available as a boxed set. Sakari has the benefit of a Nordic orchestra and the clear-eyed transparency of Naxos's most natural and lapel-gripping recording. The works are too well known to require detailed attention. Sakari imbues the music with vitality - the vibration and the icy quickening of the best Sibelius interpretations is on show here. After the heaviness of the Colin Davis Boston symphony Fifth and Seventh the lilt and splash of the Icelandic 'take' on Sibelius brings us back to true north. The Iceland Symphony is not as luxurious an instrument as the Boston Symphony but what it lacks in sleek affluence it compensates for in clarity of texture and character. The Tempest suite is grace personified and, minus the Prelude, makes for refined light music to satisfy the finest sensibility - not a shred of kitsch. A sorbet between two main courses.

As acoustics go the Reykjavik concert hall does not have the colossal Speer-like dimensions of the Boston SO Hall for the Philips 50 Sibelius 5 and 7.

I have made a note to catch up with the other discs in this promising cycle.

Rob Barnett

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board.  Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.This is the only part of MusicWeb for which you will have to register.

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: