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Sibelius: Kullervo Symphony Op. 7 / The Oceanides / Karelia Suite / Finlandia / Tapiola / Serenades Nos. 1 & 2 / Scenes Historiques, Suite No. 1 Original recording remastered, Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Import, February 13, 2001
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 'Kullervo' Sym, Op.7: I. Intro (Allegro Moderato) - Raili Kostia
  2. 'Kullervo' Sym, Op.7: II. Kullervo's Youth (Grave) - Raili Kostia
  3. 'Kullervo' Sym, Op.7: III. Kullervo And His Sister (Allegro Vivace) - Raili Kostia
  4. 'Kullervo' Sym, Op.7: IV. Kullervo Goes To Battle (Alla Marcia) - Raili Kostia
  5. 'Kullervo' Sym, Op.7: V. Kullervo's Death (Andante) - Raili Kostia

Disc: 2

  1. The Oceansides, Op.73 - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  2. Karelia Ste, Op.11: Intermezzo - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  3. Karelia Ste, Op.11: Alla Marcia - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  4. Scenes Historiques - Ste No.1, Op.25 - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  5. Tapiola, Op.112 - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  6. Finlandia, Op.26 - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  7. Ser No.1 in D, Op.69a - Ida Haendel
  8. Ser No.2 in g, Op.69b - Ida Haendel


Product Details

  • Performer: Raili Kostia, Helsinki University Male Voice Choir, Usko Viitanen, Ida Haendel
  • Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony
  • Conductor: Paavo Berglund
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • Audio CD (February 13, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00004Z34P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,408 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By R. Lane on April 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Paavo Berglund made 2 recordings of Kullervo for EMI. This recording was the first, and was a breakthrough. It marked the first complete recording of the work. I'm not sure, but I don't even think excerpts were previously available. And it was quite a smash for Sibelius fans when it was released. The later digital recording may have some superior acoustic qualities (it is no longer available), but there is something of a sense of occassion about this rendition that makes it far more satisfying. I am reminded of many post-WWII recordings that exude a special sense of occassion that elevated the musicians to truly feel the music. This Kullervo will never let you down. I bought the CD, though, almost entirely for one track - the op. 25 Scenes Historiques. I've treasured this recording ever since I found it on Japanese vinyl about 12 years ago. Even Beecham couldn't make these neglected works sound so spectacular. There were actually 4 "Scenes". Sibelius reworked the 4th into what we know as Finlandia, probably his most famous work. One understands why Finlandia has gone on to become so well loved when you hear the other Scenes here. The sound is excellent throughout. No disappointment there. I withhold the 5th star, and give EMI a long hard stare , because of the terrible track numbering. Two pieces, Karelia and the Scenes Historiques, are mastered as single tracks. Karelia (Berglund only recorded 2 of the 3 parts) is a single track, and the 3 Scene Historiques are a single track. Thankfully my Sony CDP 707 has custom indexing, so I can give the individual parts my own access points. But woe to those without the ability to do so. This ranks second only to Decca's momumental blunder with the original release of Chartles Dutoit's Daphnis et Chloe for track numbering blunders (that CD was 55 minutes long and only 1 track!)
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Format: Audio CD
This is an essential 2CD introduction to Sibelius' most characteristic and famous work. CD 1 is given over entirely to the mammoth 'Kullervo' Symphony, a dramatisation from Lonnrot's 'Kalevala' collection of oral Finnish lays. The symphony seems to create for the listener an entire bygone world and worldview, despite its late Romantic spaciousness (the 'hero', for instance, is both a rapist and incestuous). Following the title character from birth to youth to death, the young Sibelius intensifies every resource at his disposal, from sublime nature writing to clanging battle music to romantic yearning to communal grief. The interplay between orchestra and choir/soloists, between individual emotion and collective expression, is unsurpassed. Within the limits of his Romantic form, Sibelius seems the most fluid, the most open of composers - his work seems to be about germination, evolution and process, rather than form and finish. And yet. Compared to Wagner's adaptations of sagas or medieval texts (such as 'Tannhauser' or 'Parsifal'), Sibelius seems restrained, even cautious. Because he dares not plumb the kitsch Wagner defied, he rarely reaches his sublime heights.
If 'Kullervo' sees the composer at his most expansively earnest, than CD2 might be termed 'Sibelius Pops'. It's not that there is no shade here - 'Finlandia' emerges from the primordial murk into the most stirring drama; 'Tapiola' is the nearest Sibelius ever got to modernism, with its long, brooding lines, and dislocated melodic and harmonic development. But other pieces see the Finn in unexpectedly sunny mode.
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