Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphonies-No 2, Op 43

Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphonies-No 2, Op 43

Article excerpt


Symphonies--No 2, Op 43; No 7, Op 105

BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Thomas Sondergard

Linn (F) 29 (SACD) CKD462 (62' * DDD/DSD)

Disappointing. Part of the problem here is the chilly ambience of BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff and the fact that the sound engineers have taken a step back to offer a more recessed image than, to my ears, is ideal. There is distance between us and even the front-desk strings; and, quite apart from the excitement that comes from a degree of immediacy in that regard, the whole image is wanting in a clear delineation of the score's inner workings.

Nor does Thomas Sondergard quicken the senses in either piece. We have to keep reminding ourselves of the startling originality of the first movement of the Second Symphony--not least its sleight of hand in the matter of sonata form--but part of that newness comes, too, from the clear-air clarity of the three principal groups of the orchestra, and here they kind of meld into one. The first movement should feel more of an up-beat to the second, and though Sandergard's pacing is sound enough and the acoustic works with the starkness and bleakness of the pizzicato opening, I want more fire and ice from the increasingly protracted upheavals later in the movement. …

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