Sibelius Edition Vol 5 - Orchestral Music For The Theatre
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This set contains almost all of Sibelius' incidental music written to accompany spoken theater (King Kristian II, Swanwhite, Pelléas and Mélisande, Belshazzar's Feast, Kuolema, Jedermann, The Language of the Birds, and The Tempest), as well as his ballet-pantomime Scaramouche. Missing are the two movements for strings from The Lizard, which presumably will be included in a later release--but in all respects that matter BIS offers an embarrassment of riches. Indeed, you get to hear most of this music twice, since the complete edition includes both the original theatrical scores (from Vänskä) as well as the later concert suites drawn from them (featuring Järvi). Not everything is duplicated: Everyman, for example, never got turned into a suite (it's a bit too fragmentary), but it's well worth hearing.
The performances are all splendid and extremely well-recorded. There's not a weak link in the bunch. The original scores, with the exception of The Tempest, have no competition on disc, while Järvi's versions of the suites all rank with the best. His is still the only complete recording of Scaramouche, a patchy but fascinating piece. It's true that perhaps only diehard Sibelians will want to compare the arrangements side by side, but at a special price (6 CDs for the price of 3) anyone can afford to sample. This extremely well-executed project certainly deserves your support, and will reward it amply.
– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: BIS-CD-1912-14
Composer: Jean Sibelius
Conductor: Jaakko Kuusisto, Jorma Panula, Neeme Järvi, Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Chamber Choir, Lahti Opera Chorus, Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Performer: Anna-Lisa Jakobson, Anssi Hirvonen, Heikki Keinonen, Ilkka Silvonen, Jorma Hynninen, Juha-Pekka Tanskanen, Jyrki Saloranta, Kirsi Tiihonen, Lasse Junttila, Leena Saarempää, Lilli Paasikivi, Markku Krohn, Matti Rouvali, Outi Viitasalo-Parikka, Paavo Kerola, Pauli Pietiläinen, Petri Lehto, Raimo Laukka, Sakari Tepponen, Sauli Tiilikainen