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Sibelius: 'Swanwhite' Complete incidental music etc. / Turku PO; Leif Segerstam

Album Summary

>Sibelius, Jean : Swanwhite, incidental music for orchestra & organ, Op. 54
>Sibelius, Jean : The Lizard (Ödlam), incidental music for solo violin & string quartet, Op. 8
>Sibelius, Jean : The Lonely Ski Trail (Ett ensemt skidspår), melodrama for speaker, harp & strings, JS 77b
>Sibelius, Jean : The Countess's Portrait (Grevinnans konterfej), tableau music for accordion & string orchestra
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

So great was the effect of Sibelius's incidental music for Maeterlinck's play Pellas et Mlisande that August Strindberg, whose wife had performed the role of Mlisande, agreed that he should write the music for his as-yet unperformed play Svanevit (Swanwhite). Composing for an orchestra of thirteen he wrote in a style reminiscent of Grieg, and both play and music were very well received by critics and audiences alike. The play dlan (The Lizard) inspired Sibelius with its dreamlike atmosphere, whilst the two brief melodramas show his skill in writing for drama on a miniature scale.

Gramophone Magazine, December 2015
Leif Segerstam directs all this material with unhurried authority, abundant perception and heaps of character. Likewise, his willing Turku colleagues are with him every step of the way. Admirable production values and useful notes, too. A job well done.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Turku Concert Hall, Turku, Finland (02/05/2014).



Reviews

Sibelius series maintains high standards
This is the fifth installment of Leif Segerstam's traversal of Sibelius' orchestral music with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm happy to say that the recording and performance standards remain as high for this volume as they have for the previous four releases.

In terms of music, though, I think there's a slight decline. As beautiful as these works were, they didn't quite move me as much as the incidental music to "Jedermann," or Pellas et Mlisande (comparisons to Sibelius' symphonies seem a little unfair).

That's not to say there isn't much to like here -- there is. And even a lesser work by Sibelius is still a cut above the average in quality. The disc opens with the complete incidental music to "Swanwhite." This 1908 was written for August Strindberg's play based on one by Matterlink. While individual sections are quite nice (one would find its way into Sibelius' 5th Symphony), to my ears the suite never seems to jell.

Much more interesting, I think, is the incidental music to "The Lizard," written a year later. The drama centers around dream visions, and Sibelius creates some engaging and dramatic sonic dreamscapes of his own. To my ears, some sections sounded quite similar to "Tapiola," and deliver the same emotional impact.

Also included are two short dramatic works,"A Lonely Ski Trail" from 1948, and "The Countess' Portrait" from 1905. Both are finely crafted musical miniatures and fit quite well with the larger works on this album.
Submitted on 12/04/15 by RGraves321 
"The Lizard"
Maestro Segerstam and the Turku P.O. continue their excellent survey of the music Sibelius composed for the theatre. There are several premiers here: Odlan (The Lizard) in this 26 minute version for string orchestra; as well as 2 dramatic recitations: A Lonely Ski Trail and The Countess Portrait. Swanwhite has appeared previously with Jarvi and Vanska. This complete recording clocks in at nearly 30 minutes. All of the works featured here are illustrative of the composers supreme ability to conjure mood and atmosphere. Unadorned lyric ideas are at the forefront. There is an avoidance of tempo and dynamic extremes and instead a gracefulness of expression and lightness of texture. In the case of Odlan, a subtly evoked aura of evil is accomplished with an economy of means. Great music? Perhaps not. But attractive writing that offers another window into the composers unique conceptual world. The performances are just fine. The closely miked, dry sonics suit the material. Good liner notes.
Submitted on 12/18/15 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Sibelius, Jean : Swanwhite, incidental music for orchestra & organ, Op. 54
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 26 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1908

>Sibelius, Jean : The Lizard (Ödlam), incidental music for solo violin & string quartet, Op. 8
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 25 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1909

>Sibelius, Jean : The Lonely Ski Trail (Ett ensemt skidspår), melodrama for speaker, harp & strings, JS 77b
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 3 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1948

>Sibelius, Jean : The Countess's Portrait (Grevinnans konterfej), tableau music for accordion & string orchestra
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1906