En Saga, tone poem op. 9
Spring Song, tone poem op. 16
Valse triste op. 44, no. 1
Scene with Cranes op. 44 no.2
Canzonetta op. 62a
Valse romantique op. 62b
The Bard op. 64b
Tapiola, tone poem op.
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Neeme Järvi
recorded 1992, 1994, 1995 in Gothenburg,
DG 457 654-2
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Here is yet again another of those compilations of unissued recordings which
Universal seem to be releasing these days, clearing out the library of tapes
which have been made for release some time in the future.
It is no matter with this disc - Järvi brings his customary skill to
the short pieces as well as the more substantial items (En Saga and
Tapiola) to make a highly desirable record. This complements the earlier
two discs of these short pieces - (447 760-2 and 453 426-2).
For me the highlights me are En Saga and Tapiola, one, an early
work and the other, Sibelius's last orchestral opus.
The playing of these works by the Gothenburg Orchestra cannot be faulted,
and the DG recording quality is well up to their usual standard. Those of
you have heard either of the earlier releases will know what to expect, and
if the repertoire is attractive, I cannot see you holding back.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth items on this release come from the incidental
music to Arvid Järnefelt's drama Kuolema, and it is good to see
these excerpts together on the disc. Too often companies cherry pick, and
all we get is Valse Triste and not much else. Here we have four excerpts
but not the full complement as Sibelius wrote six pieces for his op. 44,
and we get here two items only. The remaining two items (from op. 62) make
up the quartet.
En Saga has plenty of youthful lift. The middle section, played at
a reasonable level, makes a considerable impact. The recording quality is
outstanding with a deep fully extended bass (perhaps more than could be heard
in the concert hall).
Tapiola does not eclipse the earlier recordings of the piece by Karajan
and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (also DG). In the earlier recordings
some listeners responded adversely to the slightly glossy sheen on the strings.
Here DG convey the elemental power of the forest and its God, Tapio, without
refined distraction. When Tapiola ended the first time I played it
(thank God it is the last work on the disc), I didn't get up to switch to
the next disc for about 5 minutes. I cannot give a disc a higher recommendation