MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47 (1903 rev. 1905) [31:50]
Legends; Lemminkäinen Suite, Op.22; No.2 The Swan of Tuonela (1893 rev 1897 and 1900) [7:03]: No.4 Lemminkäinen’s Return 1895 rev 1897 and 1900) [6:28]
Finlandia, Op.26 (1899 rev 1900) [8:00]
Camilla Wicks (violin)
Stockholm Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sixten Ehrling
Göteborg Symphony Orchestra/Sixten Eckerberg (Finlandia)
rec. 1952 and 1950s (Finlandia)

One doesn’t wish to perpetuate gender separation but at least in historical terms, as I’ve written before, there were three great commercial recordings of the Sibelius Concerto by women violinists in the decade between 1943 and 1952. The first was by Anja Ignatius in wartime Berlin (Symposium 1310). The second followed two years later when Ginette Neveu made her celebrated recording, one that has been multiply available over the years. This is the third of the great triumvirate, happily restored to circulation by Biddulph [802182 - see review] a number of years ago and now again by Forgotten Records. The slightly earlier 1940 Guila Bustabo traversal with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra and Fritz Zaun was on A Classical Record ARC37 and is also a stunner, though it’s less well-recalled. Talking of which, the hair-raising 1943 and very male Kulenkampff/Furtwängler on Music & Arts CD799 (and elsewhere) - try to hear it - was a live broadcast.
Camilla Wicks’ Sibelius is the stuff of legend. Long absence from the catalogue only increased enthusiasm for its return, though I’m not aware that, apart from the somewhat moth-eaten brigade of pre-stereo lovers - I speak as a fully paid up member of the moth-eaten brigade, who plies his trade on cylinders and cassettes alike, to boot - there was much joy at its return. Still, all three of these cited recordings above bring powerfully different approaches to bear; the cool reserve of Ignatius, the fiery, digging-into-the-string passion of Neveu, and Wicks’ expressive but not overblown drama, architecturally magnificent in its completeness.

She had the advantage of collaboration with Sixten Ehrling, with whom she gave numerous concerts. In the Concerto, we can savour their commanding strengths. The opening is full of the subtlest tonal colour. Orchestral counter-themes register with naturalness and surety. The agitated little string figures that are often subsumed are here present as part of the living fabric of the orchestral life force of the music. In the slow movement we find Wicks melancholic without ostentation - no overtly externalised finger position changes or timbral disparities. She remains unaffectedly direct, and strongly moving. Power and momentum characterise the finale. Wicks is no metronome and her rubati are finely judged and thoroughly convincing. Personalised phrasing adds immeasurably to a performance that remains as laudable now as the day it was recorded.
The Biddulph had some fascinating couplings. First, there was Valen’s pocket concerto of 1940 which is a real rarity. I’m not aware that it’s been reissued since 1949. Then, secondly, Ehrling also proves an adept and highly accomplished pianist in his collaboration with Wicks in the violin and piano pieces which divide into the commercial HMV recordings with Ehrling recorded between 1949 and 1951 and unpublished Columbias with an unknown accompanist made in 1951. If you can track down this Biddulph disc you’re on to a good thing, not least because Ward Marston’s transfers seem successfully to have stabilised pitch problems on earlier issues on the Concerto. This Forgotten Records transfer is slightly less successful in that respect, and is cut a bit higher and thus more immediate sound-wise.
Talking of Wicks’ Sibelius, collectors should not overlook a CD devoted to rare Wicks material - Music & Arts 1160 - which contains a broadcast performance of the finale of the Sibelius, coupled with a splendid Bruno Walter directed Beethoven Concerto. There are other important things here as well, including Nigun.
Forgotten Records rounds out its disc with Sixten Ehrling’s rapt 1952 The Swan of Tuonela and a vibrant, dramatic Lemminkäinen’s Return. The envoi is in the capable hands of another conducting Sixten, namely Sixten Eckerberg whose Finlandia, whilst an obvious choice, rounds out the release to a respectable though still not overly generous 52 minutes.
Jonathan Woolf

Masterwork Index: Sibelius violin concerto