NZSO Perform Sibelius Works With Charm

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra perform Sibelius' Symphonies Nos 6 & 7 and Finlandia with a delicate luminosity

Composer: Sibelius
Repertoire:  Symphonies Nos 6 & 7; Finlandia
Artists: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Pietari Inkinen
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: NAXOS 8.572705


The Music: Sibelius’s Sixth is misunderstood and ignored but utterly charming. It was Sibelius’s most organic, free-flowing symphony, until he wrote the Seventh. This, the last, is a miracle – it lasts just one-third of an hour yet appears to summarise its composers’ entire life, career and outlook with unending poignancy.

The Performance: Technically, the NZSO sounds better on this disc than on any of its three predecessors; there’s delicacy and subtlety in the textures and solos and impressive warmth in the slow-burn orchestral crescendos. It’s a shame that things don’t really flow in the Sixth Symphony; there isn’t the feeling of inevitability – of one idea being born from another. No such problems in the Seventh, where only a slight thinness in the string chorale trespasses on a performance that oozes authority, control, delicacy and pace. A solemn Finlandia comes as the crowning glory of a cycle that holds no great revelations, other than how lucky those Kiwis are who get to listen to this orchestra and conductor week in week out.

The Verdict: With each disc a fiver, you can hardly go wrong with this Sibelius cycle – it’s both the perfect introduction and a worthy addition for collectors. Bravo Naxos! Can we now have a Kiwi Lemminkäinen?

Want More? ...until then, Paavo Järvi’s Royal Stockholm Philharmonic recording of Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite is the best around (Virgin 522 0552). Andrew Mellor

Sibelius

Jean Sibelius Composer Jean Sibelius

Discover Sibelius: full biography, news, features and music to play and download.