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Herbert von Karajan: 3 Classic Albums - Sibelius: tone poems; Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites; Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable" et al. / Karajan

Album Summary

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 4, Op. 29 "Inextinguishable"
>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt
>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt Suite no 2, Op. 55
>Sibelius, Jean : Pelléas et Mélisande, incidental music for orchestra, Op. 46
>Sibelius, Jean : Finlandia, Op. 26
>Sibelius, Jean : The Swan of Tuonela, tone poem for orchestra (Lemminkäinen Suite no 3), Op. 22/3
>Sibelius, Jean : Kuolema
>Sibelius, Jean : Tapiola, Op. 112
Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

3 GREAT albums presented in original cover art, by one artist, at the price of just a single full-price album. SIBELIUS: Finlandia / Valse triste / Tuonela / Tapiola Sibelius is one of the towering figures in the history of Finnish culture. His music is both an expression of fervent nationalism and a unique artistic statement, with its powerful evocations of an unpopulated natural world and its uncompromising structural logic. His most popular work, the stirring Finlandia, was composed for an ostensibly "historical" pageant in 1899 that turned into a rallying point against the tightening repression from tsarist Russia. Around the same time Sibelius wrote four Legends on mythological subjects from the Kalevala, the Finnish folk epic. Most frequently heard is the hauntingly atmospheric Swan of Tuonela, which depicts the river that borders the world of Death and the solitary swan that swims upon it. Valse triste comes from incidental music he composed in 1903 for the play Kuolema (Death). One of his greatest masterpieces is the mysterious tone poem Tapiola (1926) - again based on the Kalevala - which stunningly evokes the primeval northern forests. Of these "powerful" (Gramophone) performances from the early 1980s, the Penguin Guide wrote: "This is Karajan at his very finest...This Berlin/Karajan partnership has never been surpassed."

GRIEG: Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 & 2 / Sibelius: Pelléas et Melisande Edvard Grieg was still in his early 20s in 1865 when met his compatriot Henrik Ibsen in Italy. Ibsen was working at the time on his epic verse drama Peer Gynt. Nine years later, when he decided to stage it, he invited Grieg to write incidental music for the production. The premiere in 1876 in Christiania (now Oslo) was a huge success for Norway's foremost writer as well as for the country's leading composer, who found an early opportunity to display his full melodic and harmonic gifts. In 1888 and 1890, respectively, Grieg extracted the two popular concert suites from his 90-minute score. In 1905, Jean Sibelius, Finland's greatest composer, wrote incidental music to another landmark in modern drama, Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck's 1892 drama Pelléas et Mélisande. Later Sibelius arranged it into a nine-movement suite, which became one of his most popular concert works. This disc, first released in 1983, won critical acclaim for Karajan and the Berliners: "Somehow one feels that one could stretch out and touch the players, so vivid is the sound here.... Peer Gynt is most beautifully done.... This is a marvelous recording" (Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010).

NIELSEN Symphony no. 4 "The Inextinguishable" In the foreword to his galvanizing Fourth Symphony, "The Inextinguishable" - life-affirming though written in 1915 - 16 while Europe was engulfed in war and his marriage was in turmoil - Carl Nielsen explained that its title seeks "to indicate in one word what only music has the power to express in full: The elemental Will of Life. Music is Life and, like it, inextinguishable". Herbert von Karajan came late to Denmark's greatest composer, one of the 20th century's outstanding symphonists. Recorded in the Berlin Philharmonie in 1981, his "fierce response" (Karajan biographer Richard Osborne) to this work yielded "one of the very finest performances of Nielsen's Fourth," wrote the Penguin Guide. "The orchestral playing is altogether incomparable; there is both vision and majesty in the reading and a thrilling sense of commitment throughout." Gramophone called it "an electrifying account... the Berliners play with the freshness of new discovery and it is hard not to respond with amazement at the excitement and exhilaration generated in the finale...It is good to have this great performance available on CD and in such excellent sound."

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Berlin, Philharmonie.



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Works Details

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 4, Op. 29 "Inextinguishable"
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 38 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1914-1916

>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 14 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874-1875

>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt Suite no 2, Op. 55
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 18 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874-1875

>Sibelius, Jean : Pelléas et Mélisande, incidental music for orchestra, Op. 46
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 30 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1905

>Sibelius, Jean : Finlandia, Op. 26
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 9 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1900

>Sibelius, Jean : The Swan of Tuonela, tone poem for orchestra (Lemminkäinen Suite no 3), Op. 22/3
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 8 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1893

>Sibelius, Jean : Kuolema
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1904

>Sibelius, Jean : Tapiola, Op. 112
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 20 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1926