Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphonies-No 6, Op 104

Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphonies-No 6, Op 104

Article excerpt


Symphonies--No 6, Op 104; No 7, Op 105.

Tapiola, Op 112

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Robert Spano

ASO Media [F] CD1004 (70' * DDD)

The opening pages of the Sixth Symphony always sound to me like we're looking at an illuminated manuscript--a mysterious polyphony that radiates light from within. Robert Spano and his Atlanta Symphony strings achieve that most effectively, only pulling us into some kind of 'reality' once the woodwind and bass-lines come into focus. It's a well-sprung, well-honed and blended sound that Spano encourages throughout this highly original piece but it's also very urbane, even plushy, and even the more elemental pages--like the momentary shadow passing over the first movement in string basses and horns or the light-catching and highly atmospheric heart of the second-movement Allegretto--sound and feel a touch cosmetic. The scherzo is also too heavy on its feet to fully convey its vivace spirit, its open-aired quality.

In the great Seventh Symphony one always felt with a conductor like the late Sir Colin Davis that the piece was constantly evolving from the bass-lines. …

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