I'm going to go against the majority and say that I've actually preferred Segerstam in the tone poems to his Symphony 1-7 set on Ondine--because, for me, he has a tendency to slow down too much in certain movements of symphonies, & loose a sense of forward movement. Berglund never does this.
I wish I could say that I also prefer Berglund's Lemminkainen suite over Segerstam's, but unfortunately he never recorded all of it. Nevertheless Berglund's Philharmonia recording of The Swan of Tuonela is the most beautiful I've ever heard--no one touches him here: Sibelius: Finlandia / Tone Poems. Another very fine recording of the Lemminkainen Suite, which tends to get overlooked, is Jukka-Pekka Saraste's first recording on RCA (not his inferior later Toronto SO version): Symphony 7. (Though as good as Saraste's 7th is here, it is no match for Berglund's 'live' 7th with the London Philharmonic: Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D, Symphony No. 7 in C--which we discussed earlier in this thread.)
My two favorite recent Sibelius purchases have both come from Saraste. His 'complete' music from The Tempest on Ondine is one of the great Sibelius recordings of recent decades IMO, & an important one, as this music is not to missed in it's entirety: Tempest: Complete Incidental Music to Shakespeare. The later 'orchestral suites' that Sibelius composed from this incidental stage music include none of the vocal music, & I find this to be essential Sibelius. The other disc that I've been enjoying lately is Saraste's RCA recording of the Sibelius 3rd Symphony: Sibelius: Symphony No 3, Belshazzar's Feast Suite, King Christian II Suite; but not so much for the 3rd, which is very good, as for the Belshazzar's Feast, which I found enchanting. I had never before realized what interesting music this is.
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