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Segerstan Conducts


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Audio CD, June 18, 1996
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$17.73
$10.80 $9.40

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: I. Lemminkainen and the Maidens of Saari16:26Album Only
listen  2. Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: II. Lemminkainen in Tuonela17:21Album Only
listen  3. Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: III. The Swan of Tuonela 9:56Album Only
listen  4. Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: IV. Lemminkainen's Return 6:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Tapiola, Op. 11219:21Album Only


Frequently Bought Together

Segerstan Conducts + Jean Sibelius: The Tempest, Suites 1 & 2 / The Oceanides / Nightride and Sunrise - Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Leif Segerstam
Price for both: $35.20

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B00000378L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,268 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Sometimes known as the Four Legends, these are Sibelius's earliest tone poems. Although very popular during the composer's lifetime, he eventually discouraged performances of two: Lemminkainen and Maidens of Saari and Lemminkainen in Tuonela. This was a real pity, for they contain some fantastic music, and all four make a perfectly natural and listenable cycle. Tapiola, on the other hand, was Sibelius's very last tone poem. A haunting study of Finland's northern forests, it features one of music's most terrifying storms. Leif Segerstam really pegs the storm, and just about everything else, in this superbly played and recorded collection. Very enjoyable. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Also comes with a very good rendition of Tapiola.
John K. Gayley
The influence of Wagner is of course most evident in the magical "Swan of Tuonela" which forms the bleakly beautiful emotional heart of this symphonic cycle.
Ralph Moore
I doubt that anyone could hear it without being galvanized.
Santa Fe Listener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Doug - Haydn Fan VINE VOICE on September 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For many years I have treasured a recording of this work on an absolutely impossible to find Russian LP - I found it in a little odds and ends shop out in the Russian District of San Francisco. The conductor of this much earlier performance of the Sibelius Four Legends was Tauno Hannikainen and the orchestra, if you would believe it, was the USSR Radio Symphony. Hannikainen conducted under Rodzinski in the late 40's in Chicago, then became first conductor of the Helsinki Municipal Orchestra. Hannikainen recorded this piece sometime in the monaural era and his performance has remained largely untouched for all these many years.

What's that saying, "It takes a thief to catch a thief?" The fine modern composer Leif Segerstam here has caught the old master, and with the native Helsinki orchestra instead of the Russians, offers up a marvelously informed performance of this sprawling, wonderful musical epic. Segerstam's attention to Sibelius' evocative writing for woodwinds and the easy familiarity the orchestra's string players enjoy with the score's every phrase are thrilling. Sibelius played by Finns - what a great idea!

I rarely give five stars, but this is just wonderful music-making.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The first thing to note about this release is the extraordinary depth and richness of the recorded sound which reveals the subtlety and precision of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra playing music they clearly love. Their scurrying, tremolo strings, sonorous ascending horns and flickering flutes, so characteristic of Sibelius, could not be more impressive, yet nothing here is flashy or vulgar; the dark undercurrents of this wonderful music swirl and swarm beneath transient melodic ideas with the utmost subtlety and restraint as Segerstam builds and builds then lets his orchestra off the leash like "dogs of war".

The four Lemminkäinen Legends derive from the Kalevala, a 19C compilation of Finnish folkloric poetry and surely one of the most consistently melancholy and tragic of national epics. Segerstam's manner is ideal for these brooding tone-poems, which are now less often heard in their entirety, yet the lesser-known first two movements are no less haunting or atmospheric than the more celebrated "Swan of Tuonela" or "Lemminkäinen's Return". Goodness knows why Sibelius took any notice of the critic who lambasted the music, but he was a highly sensitive, complex personality, susceptible to criticism.

The influence of Wagner is of course most evident in the magical "Swan of Tuonela" which forms the bleakly beautiful emotional heart of this symphonic cycle. The pungent voice of the cor anglais is answered eerily by the sombre cello. After such intensity it is a relief to encounter the drive and derring-do of the last movement, exalting the warrior pride of the Finnish nobility and culminating in a stunning climax.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Once you've discovered Leif Segerstam -- not the easiest thing to do on this side of the Atlantic -- few others seem as satisfying in Sibelius. Segerstam brings the intensity and insight of a fellow composer (as Britten brings to Schumann and Elgar, or Knussen to Stravinsky). His Sibelius symphony cycle is ecstatic and sinewy, tough and heartbreakingly lyrical at the same time. These same virtues are applied to the Lemminkanen Suite, which despite its neglect outside Finalnd lays claim to being the composer's greatest work before the Sym. #2 and the Violin Concerto.

I'd only heard one convincing version before this, under Vassily Sinaisky with the Moscow Phil. That's a wonderful recording, but it pales beside the passion of Segerstam's performance, which is nothing less than hair-raising. I doubt that anyone could hear it without being galvanized. Two episodes -- The Swan of Tuonela and Lemminkanen's REturn -- have long overshadowed the other two "legends," so called becasue of their source in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. Once united, however, the heroic effect far exceeds the name of a suite -- this is a huge tonal mural.

Turning to late Sibelius, Segerstam unravels the bleak mysteries of Tapiola with equal conviciton. I hipe his efforts don't get merged with the countless other Sibelius recordings form Finland. This is world class music-making, beautifully recorded by Ondine.

P.S. 2010 - Segerstam's Lemminkainen Suite has serious competition, I now realize, from Neeme Jarvi's 1985 recording on BIS, which prospective buyers should also weigh in the balance.
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